River Stage & Floods

River Stage & Floods



Tom Sawyer’s is located so close to the Mississippi River, sometimes we’re in it! The Mississippi River can cause us to close periodically anytime from December into early June but most often April or May. The Corps of Engineers and National Weather Service provide river stage forecasts which give us 10 to 14 days advance notice as to when the Mississippi River will force us to temporarily shut down. The flood event is relatively slow and gentle, we do not “flash flood”. We flood primarily from heavy sequential rains in the Ohio River basin (sometimes combined with snow melt) usually a week or two after the events. Sometimes, our area is dry, sunny and warm as the river rises out of its banks.

The critical river stage numbers are at the Memphis gauge. A sustained rise over 31 feet on the Memphis gauge will close Tom Sawyer’s for as long as the river is out of its banks plus a number of days (or weeks) for drying out and cleaning up. Please bear with us. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused by such an unpredictable disruption but the proximity to the Mississippi River of our location is worth it.

To monitor the Mississippi River as your planned visit to Tom Sawyer’s RV Park approaches, click here. Read the river stage numbers under “MEMT1” (the 7th column over to the right of the date column).

As long as no readings above 31′ occur, Tom Sawyer’s has NO WORRIES!

If you see readings near or above 31′ during the time you would like to visit, please call the office for more information. These forecasts update DAILY so please recheck the numbers as your intended visit approaches.

“The Mississippi River will always have its own way; no engineering skills can persuade it to do otherwise…” – Mark Twain

Here are a few images from the April 2008 and May 2009 floods in hopes of portraying the nature of Tom Sawyer’s RV Park. The Mississippi River is flowing at well over 7 million gallons of water per second during major floods. The impact on Tom Sawyer’s RV Park is always different but some elements recur. Particularly challenging is the impact on our roads and sites. (In July 2009 a newly paved entrance road was installed!) Depending on how long after a flood one visits Tom Sawyer’s RV Park, aspects of our recovery may not be complete. We ask for your patience and understanding for the park’s “rough edges” as complete flood recovery takes months not weeks. We are always working on improving the property and will always continue to do so, but a manicured, finished look will only be a temporary phenomenon even though that is our goal. We are dealing with a truly wild, unspoiled area which the periodic flooding will always insure stays that way. We believe the majesty and beauty of the Mississippi River experience that Tom Sawyer’s RV Park affords provides a natural adventure in the Natural State that is unique and inspiring . . . and perfect for RV’s!

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