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Flash Flooding Wallops Memphis, Tenn., Heavy Rain Causes Roof Collapse at Southland Mall

mem_flooding_Olive Branch_twitter_@laurski13
Photo credit: Twitter/laurski13
(A neighborhood floods in Olive Branch, Miss., a suburb of Memphis, Tenn., on September 11, 2014.)

Heavy rains have been falling in Memphis since early in Thursday morning and the storms have put down as much as 7.32 inches of rain in Bartlett, a suburb of the River City. Memphis International Airport, also swamped with rain, reported just over 4.3 inches since 7 a.m.

A slow-moving line of heavy thunderstorms has been moving across the same area for hours — it’s called “training” in meteorological lingo. The influx of rain has lead to numerous roads being flooded and at least a dozen of cars stranded in high waters.

If you see water across a roadway, it’s never advisable to drive through it. A foot of water can float a vehicle and send it downstream, if the current it strong enough.

The intense flooding also lead the Memphis Fire Department to request boats to rescue residents of the Raleigh-Frayser area, which has been especially hard-hit.

WPTY, a TV station in Memphis, reports that a 20×20 section of the roof at Southland Mall collapsed under the weight of pooling rainwater. No one was injured, but the mall remains closed while structural engineers inspect the rest of the building.

A slow-moving cold front — coupled with ample moisture streaming in from the Gulf of Mexico — is the main culprit behind these flooding rains. Unfortunately, the front is likely to hang around the area for much of Thursday. Meaning the threat for flash flooding will extend well into the evening hours. Stay weather aware if you live in these areas.

Here are some of the most impressive rainfall totals from Thursday:

• near Bartlett, Tenn. — 7.23″
• near Brighton, Tenn. — 4.45″
• Memphis International Airport — 4.39″
• near Atoka, Tenn. — 3.33″
• near Ripley, Tenn. — 3.01″

These totals are likely to increase in the coming hours.

WeatherNation meteorologists are keeping a close eye on the rains and will bring you updates on-air and online.

Below is a collection of images for in and around the Memphis area. They show the extent of the flooding in the region.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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