Mississippi River’s low water levels could persist for a while; barge captain calls it “disastrous”

Low water levels on the Mississippi River will likely continue through the winter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Agency says drought spans nearly two-thirds of the country and is expected to worsen in the middle and lower Mississippi River Valley and into the Great Plains.

Some good news, however, as areas in the Midwest and Ohio River Valley are poised to get more-than-average precipitation over the winter. NOAA says this comes as the third consecutive winter of La Niña.

A barge captain on the River is calling the situation “disastrous,” saying he has spent roughly $10,000 a day just idling while waiting for other barges to clear low spots.

He says his ship normally travels 200 miles per day, but recently, he traveled just 60 miles in 4 days. He says he and other captains on the mighty River are ready to just move on.