As Drought Drops Water Level in the Mississippi, Shipwrecks Surface and Worries Rise
When the waters are high, ships seem to float and float like never before. When the rivers are low, it’s not the same.
On April 27, the Mississippi River rose over 4 feet above the record level for the year. It also broke records for the previous two days.
On Wednesday, the river crested at a record level, but the record levels of the past two days were not so high and not as impressive.
On Thursday, the river crested above the record level for the year.
The river has now crested over 200 times above last year’s seasonal average.
For most of the past three years the Mississippi River has dropped over 2 feet, but this year there’s not even much of that for the first time since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began keeping track.The EPA said Wednesday that the Mississippi River has dropped some 2 feet since the beginning of April, well short of the average drop of 6 feet for the year (the river dropped 6.06 feet on April 15). More than 90 days of drop remain in the river.
“The continued drop in the river’s level puts in jeopardy the navigation of the Mississippi River,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in a prepared statement.
Pruitt went on to say, “While today’s low level is not catastrophic – and we don’t expect it to be – the river cannot afford to take any more risks.” He acknowledged that “we will be watching the river closely” but said the agency is monitoring only to ensure safe navigation and to assess the effects of any higher river levels.
Experts have said the record rise was caused by warm weather and a lack of rainfall on the upper reaches of the river due to the El Niño weather phenomenon.
The Mississippi River crested above the April monthly average for the second time since the river began recording data in 1995.
It also broke the record for the amount of water the river has dropped since the beginning of April for the first time since 1995.
The Mississippi River has dropped an estimated 2.6 feet since the start of the month. The river has dropped an estimated 1.7 feet since the start of April.