Low Mississippi River levels may expose some sunken ships

Missouri

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Mississippi River is very low, according to FOX 2 Meteorologist Angela Hutti. The current river stage is less than one foot.

The river is not yet at historic levels. That was set in January of 1940 at -6.2 feet. The lack of rain is the reason for the latest lows.

There have not been too many instances of historic low levels since around 1989. The river’s lock and dam system keeps barge traffic moving. But, there are still fluctuations in river levels.

We could see the low levels from Bommarito Automotive SkyFOX Helicopter during a river rescue Tuesday. A ship is stuck on the Chain of Rocks going across the river at I-270. The people on board made it back to land safely but the ship is still locked on the rocks.

There are about 700 ships that have been recorded as shipwrecked on the stretch of the Mississippi between Cairo and Hannibal.

Some people believe that the remains of the Golden Eagle steamboat was visible along the Mississippi River near Grand Tower, Illinois in 2020. The name of the ship exposed along the river has not yet been confirmed.

The river was low enough in 2012 to expose a sunken World War II sunken minesweeper at St. Louis. The USS Inaugural broke free from its moorings in 1993 near the Arch during the historic flooding. It sank south of the MacArthur Bridge. It is not clear if that ship has been exposed during this stretch of low river levels. But, it resurfaced during low river levels in 2015.

The river was low enough in 2012 to expose five steamboat wrecks along the Missouri River between St. Charles and Bridgeton. One of them was the largest vessel ever to sail through the area. The Montana was longer than a football field and has been in the river for the past 137 years.

You can see the measurements of the water at our River Levels Forecast here. The National Weather Service also has a graph showing the river level decrease over this month.

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