Drought sends Mississippi into ‘uncharted territory’

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
By Paul Martin

By John Yang
Usnews.nbcnews.com
Aug 18, 2012

TUNICA, Miss. – The drought of 2012 has humbled the mighty Mississippi River.

A year after near-historic flooding, the river’s water levels are at near-historic lows from Cairo, Ill., where the Ohio River empties into it, to New Orleans, just north of its endpoint at the Gulf of Mexico.

In July, water levels in Cairo, Memphis, Tenn., and Vicksburg, Miss., dipped below those of the historic drought of 1988. That’s affecting everything from commerce on the maritime superhighway to recreation to the drinking water in Louisiana.

The biggest impact may be on shipping. “It’s getting near critical,” said Austin Golding, a third-generation co-owner of Vicksburg, Miss.-based Golding Barge Lines. “Without more rain, we’re heading into uncharted territory.”

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