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. sam


    May 12, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • 2FLI

      Like the rest of Tennessee is some sort of paradise.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Taxed to Death in Chicago

      2FLI, evidently you have never been to Tennessee. The state is beautiful, especially eastern Tennessee and the Great Smokey Mountains. Nashville is a great place to live as can be seen by the many celebrities fleeing LA for Music City. Memphis is filled with history as an old river city and is home to great blues music. I have lived around the world and Nashville has had the best quality of life of all the cities I have lived in, including Chicago, Atlanta, and Boston.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary McGill

      It's really sad you have idiots like sam who want to put people down in a disaster. I've been to all parts of Tennessee, and honestly I don't see what makes one part better than the other. Memphis has it's nice areas and bad areas, like any big city. It's positives and negatives. But if Sam lives in Tennessee and really thinks his part is that much better than Memphis, he really is clueless. He's probaly a guy who is married to his first cousin in a doublewide, living out in the mountains.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • LP

      Tennessee really is beautiful- breathtaking in many areas. But yet, Memphis is a S * it hole. Completely.

      May 12, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kurtis Kirby

    Wow. No hope for the world at all. Every time I read these comment blogs I am struck by humankinds urge to bicker and argue and fight over just about anything. Yes the government has attacked its own people in the past. Tuskegee is a good example. No not all black folks are bad. Yes alligators show up in all kinds of places. No people will not be imprisoned in FEMA camps over this flood. Good luck to those that have survived this, its not over yet, so those in its path take care and be safe.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. midsouthreb

    There are gators in Desoto co around the Ingrams Mill Canal area. I have seen them while on patrol. One of our animal control officers caught a nuisance alligator and showed it to a couple of our officers about 4 years ago. There are still gators there.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. silly ppl

    I stay near the area where it has flooded and it is Bad!!!!but some of yall r lonely and just need some to do that's why yall have these STUPID comments!!!!But for the most part I Think US here in MEMPHIS got MEMPHIS!!!!

    May 12, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. kay barnett

    we were living close to that area as well, the homes of about 200 families destroyed, 8'deep water that the deputies patdolled in rowboats, residents belongings seen floating if looking in the homes windows while in a boat..many people without flood insurance

    May 12, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. kat

    I am a native Memphian. I've never seen this before in my life. The Mississippi river is usually a half a mile wide. It is now two and a half miles wide. It has swallowed up our beloved riverside drive and threatens the pyramid, which is a staple of our city skyline. Just like New Orleans, the poor neighborhoods are flooded. Hopefully the worst it over. I'm glad my property was spared.

    May 12, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. DanteX

    What bunch of IDIOTS.

    Only a MORON would swim in water that is contaminated with diesel-oil and raw sewage and toxic waste.

    Then when their immune-systems become damaged beyond repair or they come down with cancer or some other disease they will want to know "Why?" it happened.


    May 12, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. kat

    Oh, and sam...if you dont like living in Memphis by all means..gtfo. i hate people who dog my town. It isnt rocket science, find a town and move. I'll help you pack. Go grizzlies!

    May 12, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. IanA1

    Now's the time to test all of those statements about not taking any help from the federal government....oh that's right, it was all bs-talk in the first place.

    May 12, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. hannah

    As a born and raised Memphian... yes, not all parts of our city are amazing.. but what you do see here are people from all walks of life coming together and helping each other out. Not everyone is a redneck who marries their cousin... instead of talking trash about our hometown why not move out of Tennessee.. or come visit us because obviously you have never been here. Have sympathy for those who lost everything... not downgrade the troubles they will have rebuilding their lives. BELIEVE MEMPHIS!!!!

    May 12, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. shell

    My heart goes out to all the families in memphis, I have family myself that live there. You will be in my prayers and have faith. If god bought you to it he will bring you threw it. And to all the people with negative things to say I have one word for you...REPENT! Never take life for granted, tomorrow is not promised, so why would you want to spend the rest of your life with hate in your heart...wake up people! Take care and god bless.

    May 12, 2011 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. gregory davis

    All of these things that happen are just the beginning of whats going to really going to happen on 12/21/12. If you havent seen the movie "2012" need too, it is a realistic description of whats goinfg too happen. ITS GOING TO HAPPEN !!!

    May 12, 2011 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. Brad noah

    DD HIGS READ THIS! The government lies about everything did you miss out when "we" killed osama bin laden and no photographs were release? Did you miss the part where one day he had a gun the next day he didnt or what about how many helicopters were used in the operation? The goverment lies and manipulates people into thinking its better if we dont know or see everything! I call BS on the government for having that mind set! Why are we not allowed to know EVERYTHING our government does right after its done!? It is my RIGHT as a citizen of THE USA to see EVERYWHERE MY TAX DOLLARS ARE GOING TO WEATHER IT BE SOME BS GLOBAL WARMING OR KILLING SOME TERRORIST!!

    May 12, 2011 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. im too smart

    Well crybaby thanks for contributing to the tax system! want cheese with that whine?

    May 12, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Linari

    I'm sure the government will get that package of information right out to you, once you've asked them nicely, Brad noah.

    May 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
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