case studies

Shelby County Flood Event, 2011



Shelby County Office of Preparedness


Shelby County Flood Event, 2011

On May 9, 2011, the Mid-South’s floodwaters reached a record-breaking level of 47.8 feet. Ten days prior to the peak flood level, CAESER had predicted the flood inundation extent and identified the properties likely to flood.

Armed with this information, law enforcement began the evacuation process 6 days prior to the peak. CAESER, knowing the estimated number of impacted persons, informed the Shelby County Office of Preparedness who opened up churches and shelters. CAESER developed a mapping system for the call center to better expedite addressing the concerns of citizens as to whether they would be impacted by the flood waters. CAESER also developed PDFs at the zip code level that citizens could use to determine if they were in the likelihood to flood. These PDFs were updated every two days based on river stage levels.

As the flood waters receded, CAESER was able to predict which properties would dry first, thus allowing for Code Enforcement officials to selectively survey damaged properties for severity. With feedback from Code Enforcement, GIS mapping of the less-impacted properties were provided to volunteer organizations who sent out teams to help flood victims. In the end, as part of an enormous team effort and under the leadership of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, no lives were lost and TEMA said that the response to this disaster was the most calm and well planned they had ever witnessed. CAESER was happy to volunteer nearly 1000 hours to this effort.