Mississippi River Could Reach Historic Low - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mississippi River Could Reach Historic Low

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Memphis, TN -

The nationwide drought carries on and continues to effect the Memphis area. Early next month the army corps of engineers plans to dredge the Mississippi River.

The difference between last May's flood and this year's drought is 55 feet of water. The Army Corp of Engineers says, just like flooding, the low river levels bring its own set of problems.

The all time record low for the river is 10 and a half feet below the 0 level. Right now, it's at 7 and a half feet below.

Steven Barry is with the Army Corp of Engineers. He says dredging of the Mississippi River near Memphis will begin within the next few weeks. The dredger is making its way up from New Orleans right now.

The Corp will concentrate in an area near the Mississippi state line and an area near the Dewitt Spain airport.

"When the river makes its bends and turns we tend to get deposits and tows try to make their way around a shallow curve, there could be shallow areas that would need dredging," says Berry.

The concrete river beds and sandbars were built by the Corps to lessen the need for dredging.  Usually they're covered by water.

Barry says the river is about .3 of a mile wide through downtown Memphis right now. During last year's flooding, it was 3 miles wide.

This has caused weight and traffic restrictions for barge activity, which isn't good for your pocketbook.

 "It turns around and increases transportation costs, it ends up being paid by the consumer eventually."

And it may get worse.  Barry says there's a chance we will break the all time record for low water level, "August and September are out historic low months. So we're pushing low water with still two months to go."

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