Mississippi port restricts services due to low water levels

Published 10:08 pm Thursday, October 19, 2023

The Mississippi River level hit -1.23 at Vicksburg on Thursday and is expected to stay at or below -1 through Monday, according to information from the National Weather Service.

Although the river levels are a challenge, the Port of Vicksburg was still in operation as of Thursday afternoon, albeit in a restricted capacity.

“The Port of Vicksburg continues to operate under current conditions, although with a more restricted operational capacity,” said Pablo Diaz, President and CEO of the Vicksburg-Warren Economic Development Partnership. “The low water level has caused the closing of one of the two T-docks at the port; however, cargo operations continue on the second dock with the support of spacer barges.

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“The 20-day forecast suggests that levels might stay between zero and negative,” Diaz added. “If this forecast holds, port operations will remain consistent with current status.”

Although lower than the -0.2-foot level recorded in 2022, Marty Pope, hydrologist for the National Weather Service Office in Jackson, said Wednesday the Weather Service has not yet issued a statement designating this week’s readings a record.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers RiverGages.com website, which shows river levels issued by the National Weather Service, the Mississippi’s level at 2 p.m. Thursday was -1.23 feet.

“Right now, they’re looking at it getting down to as low as -1.2 by Friday, and it should hang there, and then it’ll go back up a little bit. There’s a little water coming down,” Pope said.

According to the National Weather Service forecast, the Mississippi is predicted to go to -1.2 on Sunday before rising to -0.8 feet on Tuesday.