The unusually low water level in the lower Mississippi River is causing barges to get stuck in mud and sand, disrupting river travel for shippers, recreational boaters and even passengers on a cruise line.
Lack of rainfall in recent weeks has left the Mississippi River approaching record low levels in some areas from Missouri south through Louisiana. The U.S. Coast Guard said at least eight “groundings” of barges have been reported in the past week, despite low-water restrictions on barge loads.
One of the groundings happened Friday between Louisiana and Mississippi, near Lake Providence, Louisiana. It halted river traffic in both directions for days “to clear the grounded barges from the channel and to deepen the channel via dredging to prevent future groundings,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson Sabrina Dalton said in an email.