Mississippi River Level Nears Historic Low - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mississippi River Level Nears Historic Low

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When flying over Memphis it is hard to tell just how low the Mississippi River is now.

But fly up river and the signs are everywhere. In fact, in some places you could walk from the shore all the way to the islands that a month ago were truly islands. You can eve see just how high the water has been on bridges that cross the Mississippi.

Last year at this time, the Mississippi River was actually flooding its banks.

"'88 was the worst I ever saw. Basically we're still 3 feet from there and we are starting to hit a little bit of bottom over there. Right at the mouth it's getting pretty shallow," Capt. William Lozier of the Mississippi Queen Line said.

Lozier knows the river well. He takes tourists out on the river almost every day and he has been doing it for more than 30 years. He sees the Mississippi River go up and sees it go down.

"Yes sir. We have almost 60 feet of fluctuation here in Memphis. Hard to believe just last year we were flooded. Low water affects us a lot more than high water does," Lozier said.

Jimmy Ogel has always worked near or on the Mississippi River and remembers 1988 and how low the river got then. He said the impact from this Summer's drought up North will impact the entire country.

"Of course the drought conditions in the country with over 13 hundred counties in drought reduces agriculture crops…which means grain being moved by the barges is reduced so it affects shipping industry," Ogel said.

That ripple effect will eventually reach the whole country when less grain is shipped. It will also mean more trips down the river with fewer barges. The result is increased prices on everything from gas to bread.

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