Action News 5 tours Mississippi River with Coast Guard - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mighty Mississippi levels feet away from all-time low

(WMC-TV) - It does not take a gauge to be able to see that the Mississippi River is low. But is still about three feet away from setting a record.

The low river levels may seem concerning but the local Coast Guard is not worried.

"As far as operational tempo, it pretty much remains the same. We're always keeping an eye on the river," said Lieutenant Ryan Gomez, U.S. Coast Guard.

Action News 5 hitched a ride with the Coast Guard on the river to get a firsthand look at the water level view of the mighty Mississippi. Right now, it is the lowest it has been since the 1980s.

A complicated buoy system has been adjusted for current depths. Sand bars that are usually covered now rise out of the river like massive sand dunes.

Even though the river is so low, the effects on most of us are very minimal.

The rules are no different for recreational boaters and river traffic passes through freely.

"The navigational channel is open. Commerce is flowing well," said Lt. Gomez. "The, uh, navigational channel is good for the commercial vessels moving up and down."

Up and down is a way of life on the Mississippi. One year ago it was up and right now, it is way down.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of the river system. They report nothing is out of the ordinary as it relates to the low water level.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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