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Mississippi River drops to all-time low for second year in a row

Aerial photo from October 2022 of low water levels on the Mississippi River (Photo courtesy of NOAA)

New preliminary data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) shows the Mississippi River reached an all-time low of -10.97 feet in September.

The measurement came near Memphis and breaks the previous record of -10.81 feet, which was set last October. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued the news on Friday.

Low water levels continue to take a toll on the Magnolia State, especially in the sectors of agriculture and transportation of goods.

“The bottom line means less cargo on barges making the same runs they always have,” Austin Golding with Golding Barge Line said. “So, if there’s less cargo, then it’s less efficient, and it ends up costing the consumer money.”

Golding said until the area gets an influx of rain, the USACE is working avidly to instill avenues for constant water flow in the Mississippi River.

“It’s really a waiting game,” he explained. “The corps hold a lot of our answers in their hands. They do a lot of dredging, a lot of preventative maintenance, and put a lot of infrastructure in the river that helps it scour itself out. They’ve been our first line of defense.”

The 2,340-mile-long river has been suffering from drought-like conditions that date back to July.

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