New rules to live by in Memphis' Northaven community
A man rakes debris Wednesday in a flooded mobile home park in the Memphis, Tennessee, suburb of Northaven.
May 11th, 2011
04:05 PM ET

New rules to live by in Memphis' Northaven community

The Memphis, Tennessee, suburb of Northhaven has been flooded extensively, and now the community has some unofficial new rules aimed at keeping people safe.

"If you're thinking of going swimming in the floodwaters, don't," Shelby County sheriff's spokesman Chip Washington said. "Some folks have been in the water, letting their kids play in the water. It's extremely dangerous. It's no joke. It really isn't."

Parts of Memphis have flooded thanks to a swollen Mississippi River. The river on Tuesday crested at Memphis more than 13 feet above flood stage, just short of a Memphis record set in 1937.

Washington said people should be mindful of debris, contaminated water, rodent infestation and snakes. Animals have been fleeing the river basin, and poisonous water moccasins and copperheads have been showing up in people's yards.

Click the audio player to hear the rest of the story from CNN Radio's John Sepulvado:

"We had a moccasin hang out in the back for about an hour," Northaven auto mechanic Eric Scott said. "In 15 years I've never seen anything like this. We had flash floods last year, but it's like a zoo out back (of the auto shop)."

"There have been alligators showing up in people's yards," Washington said. "People need to be careful."

Residents of the Memphis Mobile City mobile home community have been living with rules for years. The compound posts signs warning against trespassing, soliciting and loud music. Now there's a new rule posted: Don't enter until the waters clear. About 180 people lost their homes here, including Alda and Walter Garcia. Their home near the front of the park is submerged.

They were able to relocate most of their belongings while the waters rose.  However, the storage unit they moved their property to flooded as well. Alda is devastated, and her son Walter says the family is waiting on Federal Emergency Management Agency to find temporary housing.

"They're going to tell us where we're going to live. Right now we're staying at the shelter," Walter said. About 500 others also are at shelters around Memphis.

"We are going to have to start all over again," Walter said. "And it's sad, but we else can we do?"

It could be weeks before residents are allowed to return to their flooded homes. Although the river has crested in Memphis, the water is receding slowly, leaving an old rule to live by: Patience is a virtue.

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Filed under: Tennessee • Weather
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. dan smith

    It's called natural selection, if your stupid enough to live in a flood plane and it gets flooded, then you and your children go swimming in it the likely hood of something bad happening becomes inevitable.

    May 12, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dan smith

    Sorry but if your dumb enough to live in a flood plane or in california where earthquakes are known to occur and you don't pay for insurance to protect you, then don't come crying to me for money to help your stupid ass. Tornadoes, wild fires are a different story, those are unpredictable phenomenon that can happen anywhere,anytime.

    May 12, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
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