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Mississippi River levels are dropping too low for barges to float

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  1. skybrian
    From the article: [...] [...]

    From the article:

    Though record-setting storms caused catastrophic flooding in parts of the watershed this summer, the past few months have been among the driest on record in parts of the Heartland, at a time of year when river levels are normally hitting their low points. And long-term forecasts suggest that unusually dry weather is likely to continue.


    There’s also a risk for drinking water. The relative trickle that is reaching the river’s mouth in Louisiana’s outlying Plaquemines Parish is allowing salt water to intrude up the Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to taint drinking water drawn from the river and requiring emergency action by the Army Corps of Engineers.

    Repeatedly over the past week, water levels have become too low for barges to float, requiring the corps to halt maritime traffic on the river and dredge channels deep enough even for barges carrying lighter-than-normal loads. Days after a queue of stalled river traffic grew to more than 1,700 barges during emergency dredging near Vicksburg, Miss., a separate 24-hour dredging closure began Tuesday near Memphis. More dredging, which routinely costs billions of dollars a year, could be needed if barges continue to run aground.


    Drought is pronounced across much of the country west of the Mississippi, including some two-thirds of the northern Plains states that drain to the Missouri River and then the Mississippi, U.S. Drought Monitor data show.

    Precipitation totals rank among the 15th driest that Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota have seen for June through September. It has been Nebraska’s third-driest recorded stretch of summer into fall, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.