How Drought on Mississippi River Impacts You | National Geographic

The middle Mississippi—the 200-mile (322-kilometer) stretch from St. Louis to Cairo, Illinois—is experiencing drought conditions unrivaled in the last 50 years. That's been the case  since November.

From December to March, this part of the river is always at its lowest because extra feed from the Missouri is cut off when that river's navigation season ends. The Mississippi typically loses about three feet at St. Louis as a result.

But this winter the river has lost more depth, since spring ice melt and rains weren't forthcoming and reservoirs that help feed the river didn't get filled.

The result is that transport along the Mississippi is down dramatically. In December, total barge cargo was down more than 1,100 kilotons from December 2011.
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