Nightly News   |  May 06, 2011

Swollen Mississippi flows into heart of Memphis

The low end of Memphis’ world-famous Beale Street is taking on water as floodwaters from the mighty river being to flow where they aren’t invited. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> now we have to turn to the midwest. we think this story is going to occupy a lot of our time and attention next week. it's already been an awful flooding season. if you live in memphis or the surrounding area, all eyes are on the mississippi river . they're looking for perhaps the second highest crest in u.s. history , perhaps in the next five days. nbc's ron mott is in memphis on some hallowed ground there in that city. ron , good evening.

>> reporter: brian, good evening to you. we're standing at the low end of beale street tonight. as you can see behind me, it's taking on water, water that is starting to flow where it's simply not invited.

>> maybe a boat for the lake, but not to your house.

>> after 19 years in his community, tina picked the right friend to befriend a neighbor with a bot.

>> i have salot of my mom's stuff in there. i don't even know if i can get in. you can only do what you can.

>> reporter: we paddled along with joe, who offered to help tina get a few more of her valuables. she waited for leach infested floodwaters and pushed in and found a mess, also what she came looking for. hers is one of 2,800 homes and businesses officials say are in the flood threat zone. as the mississippi continues to rise, approaching an all-time high here, sand bagging intenlsifies. intersections are swamped, a horse stable under water to the roof, as the water expands far beyond the banks.

>> even though there are predictions that the crest will exceed historic limits, we still will be prepared for that.

>> south of the miss, the river has forced river boat casinos to be closed, an economic product to be felt.

>> they have a place they can safely leave their bet.

>> as rough as it has been for victims upstream, the worst may be to come for those downriver.

>> they will be working through the region in the next few days. it will bring rain at time. we're not expecting significant rain, but the damage has been done. it's going to be weeks of major and record flooding.

>>> today, the coast guard closes a 5-mile stretch of the mississippi for eight days. they're trying to keep that water from flowing over the flood walls in that city. there the crunch time begins. we'll be watching. ron mott in memphis .