Market News & Headlines >> Low River Levels Likely to Persist

Water levels on the Mississippi River are likely to stay low through fall and winter as drought is expected to persist in the middle and lower Mississippi River valley amid drier-than-normal weather as La Nina conditions remain in place for a third straight winter, according to the latest climate outlooks released from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday.

Below-normal November precipitation is favored across the southern U.S and northward into the central Plains and western Corn Belt, according to the 30-day outlook from the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC). Meanwhile, in its winter outlook the CPC also predicted drier-than-normal conditions across the South for December-February.

Drought conditions, which are currently present across 59% of the country, are expected to continue or worsen in the middle and lower Mississippi River Valley as well as in much of the West and the Great Plains through the end of January, according to the CPC. Drought development is also expected across the South-central and Southeastern U.S., while drought conditions are expected to improve across the Northwestern U.S.

Above-average precipitation that is expected in the central and eastern Midwest as well as the Ohio River Valley may provide some relief for the Mississippi River in late winter, Jon Gottschalck, chief of the CPC Operational Prediction Branch told a virtual media briefing.

The CPC in its monthly El Nino/Southern Oscillation update, which came out earlier this month, said there was a 75% chance La Nina conditions would prevail through the Northern Hemisphere winter (December-February). The last time La Nina conditions prevailed for three consecutive winters was in 1998-2000.