Mississippi River – the Big Muddy Whips From Record Drought to Floods

floodwarningA few months ago, the Mississippi River was showing the effects of a near record drought. There was talk in December of shutting down barge traffic on key sections of the river due to the low water levels. In January, the level of the water at St. Louis was 4.57 feet below the river gauge.  Today it is expected to rise to 39.4 feet above the river gauge, a forty five foot swing in water level in only four months.  Over the weekend, the river was closed to barge traffic, this time not due to low water but to high.  Several locks were shut down due to flood waters.  Also a 15-mile stretch of the Mississippi River near St. Louis was closed late Saturday after 114 barges broke free from a fleeting area and 11 of them, all containing coal, sank. A second barge accident, apparently unrelated to  flooding, also shut down the river near Vicksburg where about 30 barges broke free from a string under tow Sunday morning and struck a railroad bridge.  The river is expected to climb another 2½ feet in St. Louis before cresting Tuesday at 35 feet. That would be its highest level in nearly three years, though still nearly 15 feet below the record set in 1993.

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One Response to Mississippi River – the Big Muddy Whips From Record Drought to Floods

  1. Phil says:

    Closer inspection of Marseilles Dam reveals damaged gates

    MARSEILLES, Ill. — A closer inspection Monday of the Marseilles Dam by Unified Command representatives confirmed that damage resulted from seven barges that broke loose from a tow and came to rest against the dam on Thursday.

    The Unified Command consists of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Ingram Barge Company.

    On Sunday evening after water levels receded, the Army Corps of Engineers determined that gates two and three anchorage systems are broken and not operable. Gates four, five and six are not operable due to interference from floating barges. Gates one, seven and eight are operational and will be operated today in order to regulate the navigation pool levels.