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Drought and Barge Backups on the Mississippi - NASA

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  • Drought and Barge Backups on the Mississippi - NASA

    October 7, 2022

    Water levels on the Mississippi River normally decline in the fall and winter, but not by nearly as much as they did in October 2022. Lack of rain in the Ohio River Valley and Upper Mississippi River Valley in recent weeks caused river water to drop to levels not seen in more than a decade along key parts of the river. The low water levels are slowing barge traffic and raising concerns that saltwater intrusions in the Lower Mississippi could affect water supplies.

    The Operational Land Imager (OLI-2) on Landsat 9 captured this natural-color image of the parched river on October 7, 2022. The image shows backed-up barges north of Vicksburg, Mississippi. At times, well over 100 towboats and barges waited due to a temporary river closure caused by barge groundings and dredging work, according to news reports. The towboats and barges are strung together into groups that vary in size but can easily be 1,000 feet (300 meters) long and 100 feet (30 meters) wide.

    The map above shows how wet the soil was on the same day the Landsat 8 image was acquired. Using data from the Crop Condition and Soil Moisture Analytics (Crop-CASMA) product, the map shows soil moisture anomalies on October 7, 2022, or how the water content in the top meter (3 feet) of soil compared to normal conditions for the time of year. Brown areas were drier; blue areas were wetter. ...

  • #2
    PHOTOS: Low Mississippi River levels send boats ashore in Memphis
    by: Shay Arthur

    Posted: Oct 19, 2022 / 04:09 PM CDT
    Updated: Oct 20, 2022 / 11:27 AM CDT

    UPDATE: TVA says it will open dams to help navigation on Mississippi River

    MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Beached boats are sitting in the mud of the mighty Mississippi in Memphis, and it’s a pretty wild sight to see.

    NOAA forecasts that the Mississippi River in Memphis is expected to reach -10.8 feet by November 1, which would surpass Monday’s record low.

    ... A few miles south at Riverside Park Marina, the damage is so bad it almost looks like a storm came through. The low levels are causing concern for those up and down the river that’s crucial to the economy.

    Those with boats now sitting in the sand and mud are wondering what they can do.

    “A lot of them ask if it’s going to bend their shafts, how do I get it out? Wait for water,” Weiss said.

    There’s also concern about if the boat will continue to stick to the mud when the water comes. ...