Join our crew and become one of the 106,433 members that receive our newsletter.

Barges make their way down the Mississippi River, where the water levels have reached historically record lows in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. October 23, 2022. Photo REUTERS/Karen Pulfer Focht

FILE PHOTO: Barges make their way down the Mississippi River, where the water levels have reached historically record lows in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. October 23, 2022. REUTERS/Karen Pulfer Focht

Drought Threatens to Snarl Mississippi River Traffic for a Third Year

Bloomberg
Total Views: 2034
March 21, 2024

By Will Wade (Bloomberg) —

The Mississippi River is at risk of bottlenecks for a third straight year as warm, dry spring weather and low winter snowpack limit the amount of water feeding into it, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

The US will get warmer-than-average spring temperatures from April through June, and for the first time since 2021 there is no region at risk of major flooding, according the agency’s Spring Outlook report issued Thursday. Drought conditions are expected to persist or worsen across parts of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. 

More than a trillion pounds of freight per year travel on the Mississippi and the rivers that flow into it. It’s a critical transport route from a region that produces 92% of US agricultural exports. But the waterway, like other vital trade conduits including the Panama Canal, is increasingly vulnerable to climate change.

Low flows on the Mississippi “could have potential impacts on those navigation and commercial interests that depend on water” from the river, Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center, said in a statement. 

Still, NOAA experts stressed that it’s not certain what will happen with Mississippi water levels later in the year and that conditions need to be monitored over the next several months. 

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

Unlock Exclusive Insights Today!

Join the gCaptain Club for curated content, insider opinions, and vibrant community discussions.

Sign Up
Back to Main
polygon icon polygon icon

Why Join the gCaptain Club?

Access exclusive insights, engage in vibrant discussions, and gain perspectives from our CEO.

Sign Up
close

JOIN OUR CREW

Maritime and offshore news trusted by our 106,433 members delivered daily straight to your inbox.

gCaptain’s full coverage of the maritime shipping industry, including containerships, tankers, dry bulk, LNG, breakbulk and more.