Alert to the low river levels

Low Mississippi River levels have state officials, including Missouri Governor Mike Parson, on alert.  

“If you start shutting down the Missouri or Mississippi Rivers, it’s a huge impact.”

Davor Karic with the Army Corps of Engineers in St. Louis says river levels are expected to gradually decline between St. Louis and Cairo, Illinois in the next month.

“Currently at St. Louis, we’re at -1.0. Our 4-week outlook has the changes at -1.5 for the first week, the second week at -2.5, the third week at -3.0 and week four outlook at -3.3.”

He says river levels typically hit lows in December. Last year’s record low in that section of the river happened before Christmas at -4.09. But levels are low enough in places that dredging has already started.

“It’s a small area south of St. Louis,” says Karic.

Mark Fuchs, a National Weather Service hydrologist, says the low river situation isn’t expected to improve. He says drought will continue in October and it’s unclear what an El Nino winter will bring for moisture in Missouri and northern states.

“There’s more of a warm signal in December through February timeframe.”

The low river levels were discussed at the Missouri Drought Assessment Committee’s meeting on Wednesday.

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