MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Shelby County became ‘Storm Ready’ in January of 2010. Last year, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness was put to the test during the historic Mississippi River flood. On February 9, 2012, the National Weather Service honored the agency’s workers as ‘heroes’ for their life-saving actions.
Only five ‘Storm-Ready Hero’ awards have been given out in the last decade. This was the first occasion when the prestigious award has been given for efforts during a major flood.
Jim Belles, NWS Meteorologist, said, “It's very rare. This is a great honor for the Shelby County Office of Preparedness. Their work in the Emergency Operations Center during the flood was tremendous.”
On May 9, 2011, the Mississippi River at Memphis crested at 48.03 feet, more than 14 feet above flood stage. More than 2,800 homes were flooded, but no lives were lost.
Mark Luttrell, Shelby County Mayor, said, “It's a good day to acknowledge what we've accomplished, but it's also a good day to renew our commitment to what lies ahead.”
Belles said there is potential for above normal rainfall across the Ohio Valley, which could possibly directly impact the Mississippi River again.