Rain helps ease drought conditions

THEBES, IL (KFVS) - Barely two weeks into 2013 and some areas of the Heartland have already gotten several inches of rain.

Quite a change from just two months ago!

Water levels around the Mississippi River will rise seven feet within the week.

So, does this mean the drought is over?

"We are definitely in this for the long haul, this is really just year one of the drought," said Mike Petersen from the Army Corps of Engineers. "That's why the work that we have been doing in Thebes to deepen the channel, that's considered a permanent improvement and will give us a better condition in the next couple years of this drought, which will very likely see some critically low river levels as well"

Because the Mississippi river is responsible for 60 percent of agricultural exports and one barge alone can do the work of 100 trucks, it's obviously very important to maintain the river ways.

In the last three weeks the Army Corps of Engineers were able to create two extra feet of depth in some areas, especially near Thebes.

Now, they're working to make sure some of the river bends are wide enough for bends to pass through.

These are things that engineers have had to deal with since the drought of 88 and 89, and last year's drought is no different, it's something that will affect the river system for years to come.

Copyright KFVS 2013. All rights reserved.