Mississippi River level decreases

Aug. 2, 2012 at 3:04 PM
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VICKSBURG, Miss., Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The shallow Mississippi River dropped below 1 foot in depth at Vicksburg, Miss., setting a record for Aug. 1 and complicating navigation.

The level on the Vicksburg gauge dropped to 0.95 feet Wednesday, although the navigation channel remains at about nine feet, the Monroe, La., News-Star reported Thursday.

"It looks like a coastline out there. There are more beaches on the river than there are in Florida," said Reynolds Minsky, president of the 5th Louisiana Levee Board.

"We're definitely setting records now," said Drew Smith, hydraulic engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District.

The low level of water, a result of the continuing drought, is causing problems with navigation in the narrowing channel where ships can safely maneuver.

"In 1988 some sections of the river had to be closed and other sections were one-way barge traffic and daylight only," Smith pointed out, adding that the present low levels of water serve to better assess the impact of last year's flood, when the level in Vicksburg was at an all-time high.

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