Low river levels cause problems for barges on Mississippi River - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Low river levels cause problems for barges on Mississippi River

The water is low enough in Cape Girardeau that you can see the sand bars close to the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge. The water is low enough in Cape Girardeau that you can see the sand bars close to the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

The Mississippi River is running on empty compared to this point last year.

Of course, last spring the Heartland experienced historic flooding but this year, it's a historic drought.

The water is low enough in Cape Girardeau that you can see the sand bars close to the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge.

In fact, down river the water level is so low that cargo barges have run aground and their operators have been forced to lighten their loads.

At Memphis, the water is exceptionally low, just about six feet above the record low.

That's led to a few barges having problems docking, but that's not super uncommon for this time of year.

Dan Overbey with the SEMO Regional Port Authority says if we don't get rain soon, barges could have to lighten their loads as they pass through the Heartland.

The Army Corps of Engineers has worked for the past couple of decades to make sure the river channels are deep enough for barges to travel, even if the river reaches a record low.

That means the river wouldn't necessarily close, even if extra precautions would need to be taken such as reducing the weight of the loads.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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