Mississippi Expected to Crest Tonight in Memphis
River will likely reach near-record of 48 feet
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2011 10:59 AM CDT
Two pickup trucks are seen surrounded by floodwater outside a garage Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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(Newser) – The Mississippi River could crest as soon as 7pm tonight in Memphis, an earlier forecast than previous predictions. Even so, Mayor AC Wharton tells CBS News, "we're ready for it." Door-to-door warnings alerted residents to evacuate over the weekend, and patrols have been stepped up to prevent looting in abandoned areas, the AP reports. One National Weather Service forecaster expects the river to crest at or near 48 feet. The record, set in 1937, is 48.7 feet.

Residents of more than 1,300 homes have been instructed to evacuate, and the river's slow rise has allowed time to prepare. Even so, the Mississippi has already swamped some homes and is threatening as many as 3,075 buildings; even on tourist-heavy Beale Street, water was beginning to pool. An Army Corps of Engineers commander says no levees are in danger of failing. “Essentially it is beginning to crest right now,” a meteorologist tells Bloomberg. “We expect it should remain near 48 feet through Wednesday night or so.”