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River Condition Report - December 7, 2013

Prepared by Tom Russell of Russell Marine Group.
December 7, 2013
Severe winter storms and colder than normal temperatures in the Midwest have not helped low water conditions on Upper Mississippi.  Icing has restricted water levels causing on going low water concerns on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.   As usual, each year in December, water flows from the Missouri River will start to be reduced  that will not help Upper Miss. water levels.
The Ohio River and Low Mississippi Rivers are low but stable.
On December 10, phase II will resume removing the outer edges of rock pinnacles below St Louis.  The contractor expects the job will require about 26 days of work to complete.  The USCG has now determined the max tow size passing the work area will be reduced to max of 15 barges.  This in itself will slow down the movement of grain tonnage to the Gulf.
Looking ahead, unusually colder temps with unsettled air are forecast for Midwest.  Precipitation will likely be in the form of snow and ice with little run off not helping the water situation on Upper Miss and Illinois Rivers.  Icing and low water conditions will have to be closely monitored as water conditions will likely worsen on these rivers.
The Ohio River Valley will also experience unstable stormy conditions but precipitation will likely be in form of rain.  The Ohio River and Lower Mississippi River from Cairo to New Orleans are low but are expected to hold and maintain.
The Baton Rouge and New Orleans harbors to the Gulf of Mexico are low but no problem for river traffic.  The deep South is forecast calls for warmer temps and normal precipitation.  The warmer temps will increase chances for fog development.