Nightly News | May 08, 2011
>>> another major story we're following tonight here in this country, the continuing rise of the mississippi river which is threatening part of memphis , tennessee. nbc's jay gray is there tonight for us. jay, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, lester. i'm standing in an area for prospective that is normally an area for playground for kids at a mont sorry school. literally a part of the river now. what you can't see is that the houses have a lower level swallowed by the water there. coming back across the top of a storage shed there. that's all that's left. over to the school now where a sandbag wall built by volunteers, teachers, parents, is now being tested. the water continues to climb almost as quickly as the concern in memphis .
>> for me, it's where is it going to happen? where sit going to stop?
>> reporter: already 47 feet past major flood stage and forecasters say on the way to a near record crest at 48 feet as early as tomorrow night.
>> it's all astounding. it's just overwhelming to see it so high.
>> reporter: hundreds have been drawn to the water's edge as it creeps closer to the city. some to take a picture. others to stop and stare.
>> on people that have lived here all their lives, they've never seen it.
>> reporter: they're watching but not waiting here. right now memphis is engaged in a full-on fight against the floodwaters. at times it's hand to hand combat . other battles wage with heavy equipment. but in neighborhoods like this one, the weapons don't really matter. mother nature is winning.
>> had to get my possessions all together.
>> reporter: for residents on the north side of the city, this was one of the last chances to move to higheher ground.
>> i tried to leave yesterday evening and it was -- i couldn't get out.
>> reporter: emergency teams went door to door and loaded a handful of holdouts on to a bus that pushed through the rising water to safety at this staging center.
>> i didn't think it would come that fast. they said it would come this weekend. last night there wasn't any water in the trailer park . now i look out this door and it was four feet deep.
>> reporter: almost as big a worry as the water is what will be left behind . and right now about 400 people are in memphis area shelters. emergency managers say that number could surge to thousands before this is all over. lester?
>> jay gray, a dramatic view of the flooding there tonight. thanks.