The Mississippi River has had a wild 12 months. This time last year, the river was at flood level. These days, it’s near historic lows. From Illinois southward, the low water levels are affecting commerce, tourism, and just everyday life. The biggest impact may be on shipping, as businessman Larry Daily of Bettendorf Iowa. He works at Alter Logistics, he firm specializes in getting cargo moved along the river, and he explained how the drought impacts him:
Further down river, in Dorena, Missouri, Tammi Hutcheson runs the Mississippi County Port Authority — it provides ferry service connecting Dorena with Hickman, Kentucky. The ferry is back up operating because of dredging, but it was shut down for several weeks.
The drought is also impacting the town where one of the most famous riverboat pilots in the world grew up: Hannibal, Missouri. Cindy Lovell of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri, reminds us of the river that Samuel Clemens wrote about as Mark Twain. Clemens also worked briefly as a riverboat pilot.