A revised Mississippi River forecast is offering a bit of a reprieve for shippers, showing the water level isn't dropping as quickly as feared. Still, at least two large barge companies already are reducing loads over concerns about the river's depth.
The river at St. Louis on Wednesday was about 13 feet deep. The Coast Guard has said further restrictions on barge traffic are likely if the river dips to around 9 feet, though the decision is based on observation of conditions and not the level on the gauge.
Earlier forecasts by the National Weather Service had projected getting to the 9-foot level by Sunday or Monday. But a Weather Service hydrologist told The Associated Press Wednesday that revised modeling now calls for reaching that level around Dec. 29.