MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The mighty Mississippi River isn't so might these days. Last year, the river level hit near-record highs. This year, it's the opposite. In fact, the river could be weeks away from hitting a record low.
"This is a whole new set of challenges and in some ways it is just as bad as last year," said Steve Barry with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"Right now we are seeing water levels on the Mississippi here in Memphis approaching near record levels." he said.
To get a better sense of life on the Mississippi, abc24.com went along with the Army Corps to survey the river.
"At this low level stage you will find things that are very unexpected," said Mark Manning, an engineer with the Army Corps.
"This is about a 55-foot difference from this time last year." said Barry.
The Corps is in charge of shipping channel for barges and boats. Like last year and the high levels, this year the near record-low levels are affecting commercial travel on the vital economic passageway.
"The barge industry is having to lightly load a lot of their barges so they don't draft as much and at the end of the day that will be passed on to the consumer," said Barry.
The river hit a record low in 1988.
Barry stated, "We are not going to see things getting better, things only going to get worse as time goes by."