May 10, 2011 2:06 PM by Greg Boyce
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The Mississippi River has hit its high point in Memphis, Tenn., so things shouldn't get any worse. But there's still quite a mess to clean up.
The National Weather Service says the river crested early this morning at just under 48 feet, falling short of its all-time record. It's expected to stay close to the level until some time tomorrow.
Meteorologist Bill Borghoff says most of the damage has been done, but it will take weeks for the water to recede. While the flooding is isolated to low-lying neighborhoods, one emergency official says "it's going to be rather putrid" and expensive to clean up. President Barack Obama has a disaster area in Tennessee, making five counties eligible for federal aid. Downstream, residents in the Mississippi Delta are now bracing for their own encounter with the high water. Farmers are building homemade levees to protect their crops while engineers are diverting water into a lake to ease pressure on levees around New Orleans.
One farmer who mowed down his wheat fields to get dirt for levees says he would have lost the crop to flooding anyway. He's hoping the levees protect his home and grain silos, which are holding 200,000 bushels of rice.