The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

December 21, 2012

Recent storms, snow improve outlook for Mississippi River

ST. LOUIS — A release of water from the Missouri River and recent snow and rain are offering some relief for the Mississippi River.

Though still dangerously low, the Mississippi River channel at St. Louis was roughly 12 feet deep on Thursday — up about a foot-and-a-half since Monday.

River interests are paying close attention because if the channel gets to 9 feet, further restrictions are expected for barge traffic. Experts say the potential impact on shipments of essentials such as corn, grain, coal and petroleum could reach into the billions of dollars.

Forecasters had initially expected the river to get to the 9-foot level late this month. But National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said the new forecast shows that won’t likely happen until the second week of January.

The season’s first major snowstorm dumped nearly a foot of snow in parts of Iowa and nearly 9 inches in parts of Nebraska. Some of that precipitation will eventually flow into the Missouri River. Heavy snow was falling or expected in states along the upper Mississippi River, too, and parts of Missouri got a half-inch of precipitation through rain and/or snow.

“It helps, definitely,” Fuchs said. “We’re getting a good bit of runoff from this last event and it’s going to be a while before the (Mississippi) river goes back down, well into the new year.”

The storm was not likely to provide as much benefit to farmers and ranchers stung by the drought that still stretches across three-fifths of the continental U.S. It takes a foot or more of snow to equal an inch of water, so several storms of that magnitude would be needed to make a difference, said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center.

The U.S. Drought Monitor said roughly 62 percent of the continental U.S. remained in some form of drought as of Tuesday, a portion largely unchanged since July. Nearly 22 percent of the lower 48 states are in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • Target taps outsider as CEO for shakeup

    NEW YORK — Target is bringing in an outsider as its CEO for the first time as the retailer fights to redefine itself to American shoppers....

    August 1, 2014

  • Israel and Hamas agree to 72-hour hiatus to negotiate peace deal

    JERUSALEM — Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning today, during which time there will be negotiations on a more durable truce in the 24-day-old Gaza war, the United States and United Nations announced ...

    August 1, 2014

  • India landslide kills 21

    NEW DELHI — Rescuers worked in rain today to dig through a remote village in western India where at least 21 people died as a landslide swept away scores of houses, possibly trapping many more people under debris, officials said....

    July 31, 2014

  • Israeli strike hits UN school

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel’s stepped up campaign against ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Busted water main dumps 20 million gallons of water into UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and adjacent garage

    LOS ANGELES — The rupture of a nearly century-old water main that ripped a 15-foot hole through Sunset Boulevard and turned a swath of the University of California, Los Angeles into a mucky mess points to the risks and expense many cities ...

    July 31, 2014

  • GOP-led House gives go-ahead for suit

    WASHINGTON — A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Just a day before ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Senate approves new VA secretary

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the new Veterans Affairs secretary, with a mission to overhaul an agency beleaguered by long veterans’ waits for health care and VA ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Senate passes highway bill, sends it to House

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday voted to change the funding and timing of a House bill to keep federal highway funds flowing to states in an effort to force Congress to come to grips with chronic funding problems that have plagued ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Israel targets Hamas infrastructures in latest round of bombing

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel unleashed its heaviest bombardment in a 3-week-old war against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the militant group’s control in Gaza and firing tank shells that Palestinian officials said shut down the ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Be ready for ‘prolonged’ Gaza war, prime minister says

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Signaling an escalation of Israel’s Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a “prolonged” war, and the military warned Palestinians in three large neighborhoods to ...

    July 29, 2014