Memphis Summer Storm of 2003

Memphis Summer Storm of 2003
Damage to the Gibson Memphis Showcase following the storm. Damage to the FedExForum (still under construction) can be seen in the background.

The Memphis Summer Storm of 2003 was a severe derecho event that impacted parts of the Southern United States, particularly southwestern Tennessee and northern Mississippi, including the Memphis metropolitan area. It left 7 people dead and enormous damage across the region.


The Storm

On July 22, 2003, a progressive derecho with straight-line winds in excess of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) struck Crittenden, DeSoto, Fayette, and Shelby Counties, including the city of Memphis. The storm passed through the area between 6 and 7 am.


A tree uprooted by the derecho.

Over 300,000 homes, 70% of Shelby County, were left without power in the wake of the storm. Two individuals were left dead as a direct result of the storm, with several more deaths due to fires caused by unattended candles or generator accidents.

This storm was very similar to the derecho that went through Kansas City, Missouri in June 1982, as well as one that hit St. Louis, Missouri on July 19, 2006.

Earning Colloquial "Hurricane" Status

The storm became commonly known in the area as "Hurricane Elvis"[1] as its winds reached the level of a Category 2 hurricane. As the storm crossed the Mississippi River into Downtown Memphis, a barge recorded an unofficial wind reading of 108 mph (174 km/h). Coincidentally, the National Hurricane Center's rotation of tropical cyclone names had identified that season's "D" storm, "Danny," only two days earlier, thus the region's next real hurricane would also start with an "E." The National Weather Service refers to the storm as the "Mid South Derecho of 2003".


Graphic of Memphis Derecho (courtesy of NOAA)

It took two weeks to restore power to many of those who had lost it in the storm. Temperatures reached past 90°F (32°C) leaving many residents unprotected from dangerously hot conditions. Crime also increased during the following weeks,[citation needed] as most people had no power, and therefore had no operating security system. Many Memphians were distressed that though they had survived hurricane-like conditions and weeks without power, little national news coverage was given to the event. Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton said in a CNBC interview that he was "Feeling a bit lonely, because it seems that from a national perspective it never happened. We suffered a 'dry-land hurricane'... yet we see on the national news over in Galveston, they got more coverage on a hurricane that never did occur." In contrast, less than a month later, national news coverage was extensive when New York City residents were left without power for a few hours.

FEMA Dispute

In 2009, the United States Department of Homeland Security claimed that the city of Memphis owed FEMA two-million dollars. [2] They claimed that Memphis misspent the money that was originally given to help clean up the city following Hurricane Elvis.

See also


  1. ^ Charlier, Tom; "Hurricane Elvis: The Legwork," 2004-07-18, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis daily paper), accessed 2008-12-26
  2. ^

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Memphis Redbirds — Founded in 1998 Memphis, Tennessee Team Logo …   Wikipedia

  • 2003 in music — See also: 2003 in music (UK) and Category:Record labels established in 2003 List of years in music (Table) … 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 •    2000 • 2001 • 2002 – 2003 – 2004 • 2005 • 2006 •    …   Wikipedia

  • Calendar of 2003 — ▪ 2004 January So long as there is a single Brazilian brother or sister going hungry, we have ample reason to be ashamed of ourselves. Lula, in his inaugural address as president of Brazil, January 1 January 1       The Socialist Lula (Luiz… …   Universalium

  • July 2003 — NOTOC July 2003 : January February March April May June July August September October November DecemberEventsJuly 1, 2003*In Hong Kong, 500,000 people march to protest the rush into legislation of Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23, the anti… …   Wikipedia

  • Tornadoes of 2008 — Tracks of all United States tornadoes during 2008 Timespan January to December 2008 Maximum rated tornado …   Wikipedia

  • Agatha Award — The Agatha Awards are literary awards for mystery and crime writers who write via the same method as Agatha Christie (i.e. closed setting, no sex or violence, amateur detective). At an annual convention in Washington, D.C., the Agatha Awards are… …   Wikipedia

  • Asheville, North Carolina — Not to be confused with Ashville (disambiguation). Asheville, North Carolina   City   Downtown Asheville …   Wikipedia

  • The Naturals — Infobox Wrestling team article name=The Naturals type=T members=Andy Douglas Chase Stevens names=The Alternative Express, Natural Heat, The Naturals heights=height|ft=6|in=1 Douglas height|ft=6|in=0 Stevens weights=convert|440|lb|kg st|abbr=on|lk …   Wikipedia

  • Calendar of 2002 — ▪ 2003 January I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world s most destructive… …   Universalium

  • United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.