Portions Of Mississippi River Nearing Record Low, May Jeopardize Barge Traffic 

In another sign, the megadrought is wreaking havoc across the Western half of the US. There are multiple portions of the Mississippi River that are nearing record low water levels that may inhibit commercial or private vessels from traversing the critical waterway. 

The stretch of the Mississippi River at St. Paul, Minnesota, is around 3.2 feet Wednesday. That’s about six inches from the record low of 2.6 feet set in 1976.

A camera on the Wabasha Street Bridge that spans the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul shows the receding waterline.  

Downstream, the Mississippi River at Red Wing is also near the record low of 1.8 feet, set in 2003. It’s about 2.2 feet today. 

Further downstream, Lucy McMartin, City of Winona, located on the Mississippi River, told local news WXOW that “we actually see a lot of commercial activity in our harbor. What concerns me is the water levels are so low, that as the barges are assembled and put together and are proceeding up and down the river, they can run into issues if the water continues to drop in its levels.” 

More downstream, at Dubuque Marina in Dubuque, Iowa, along the Mississippi River, water levels continue to drop to their lowest in more than eight years.

Rod and Pat Stalker, of Texas, told the Telegraph Herald that they sailed their 45-foot Carver yacht up the Mississippi River to Dubuque but are now stuck at a marina because the water in the main channel is less than 2.5 feet. The yacht requires 3.5 feet of water. 

“Everyone here has been basically locked into the marina for the last two to three weeks,” Rod said. “We went out a couple of weeks ago and we were churning mud, so we decided not to go. Most people are choosing not to go out to avoid thousands of dollars of damage to the bottom of the boat.”

Others on Twitter have pointed out that parts of the Mississippi River are very low. 

Not so mighty after all? 

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