The Mississippi River is flowing at its lowest level in at least a decade, and until rain relieves a worsening drought in the region, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain water levels high enough to carry critical exports from the nation’s bread basket.
Areas of persistent and developing drought stretch across much of the Mississippi basin, which itself covers 41 percent of the contiguous United States. Though record-setting storms caused catastrophic flooding in parts of the watershed this summer, the past few months have been among the driest on record in parts of the Heartland, at a time of year when river levels are normally hitting their low points. And long-term forecasts suggest that unusually dry weather is likely to continue.
This article originally appeared on Washington Post