The worst drought in more than 50 years is having a devastating impact on the Mississippi River. The Mississippi has become very thin and very narrow, and if it keeps on dropping there is a very real possibility that all river traffic could get shut down. And considering the fact that approximately 60 percent of our grain (NYSEARCA:JJG), 22 percent of our oil (NYSEARCA:USO) and natural gas (NYSEARCA:UNG), and and one-fifth of our coal travel down the Mississippi River, that would be absolutely crippling for our economy. It has been estimated that if all Mississippi River traffic was stopped that it would cost the U.S. economy 300 million dollars a day.
In some areas the river is already 20 feet below normal and the water is expected to continue to drop. If America has another 12 months of weather ahead similar to what it saw over the last 12 months then the mighty Mississippi is going to be a complete and total disaster zone by this time next year.
Most Americans simply do not understand how vitally important the Mississippi River is to them. If the Mississippi River continues drying up to the point where commercial travel is no longer possible, it would be an absolutely devastating blow to the U.S. economy.
Unfortunately, vast stretches of the Mississippi are already dangerously low. The following is an excerpt from a transcript of a CNN report that aired on August 14th….
"You might think this is some kind of desert just outside of Memphis. It’s not. I’m actually standing on the exposed bottom of the Mississippi River. That’s how dramatic the drought impact is being felt here. Hard to believe, a year ago we were talking about record flooding. Now, they are worried about a new kind of record: a record low. The river was three miles wide here, it’s now down to three tenths of a mile. And that’s causing all kinds of problems.
A lot of stuff we use goes up and down the Mississippi River. We are talking steel, coal, ore, grain. The problem is now a lot of those barges have had to lighten their loads, and even doing that, they are still running aground. There is a real fear that there could be a possibility of closing the Mississippi River. If that happens, well, all that product that used to be carried cheaply by barge is now going to be carried more expensively by truck or train. And GUESS WHO'S GOING TO PAY FOR ALL OF THAT."
here are some areas along the river that are already 20 feet below normal levels. The following is from a recent article posted on inquisitr.com….
"Just outside of Memphis the river is 13 feet below normal depth while the National Weather Service says Vicksburg, Mississippi is 20 feet below normal levels. Overall the Mississippi is 13 feet below normal averages for this time of year."
A lot of barges have been forced to go with greatly reduced loads so that they will sit higher in the river, and other commercial craft have been forced to stop operating completely.
For example, the Mississippi has dropped so low at this point that the famous American Queen Steamboat can no longer safely navigate the river.
Down south, the Mississippi River has gotten so low that saltwater is actually starting to move upriver. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is fighting hard to keep that contained.
Other waterways in the middle part of the country are in even worse shape.
Detailed report at: http://etfdailynews.com/2012/08/15/the-mississippi-river-is-drying-up-as-food-prices-continue-to-surge-moo-dba-ung-uso-jjg/