A Year Later, Mississippi Back To Good Levels

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(Memphis) It was a rough first year back on the water for the American Queen.

Near record lows slowed down traffic along the Mississippi and landlocked the large vessel for a while.

When the river fell to minus 9.8, barges were also forced to lighten their loads, traffic moved at snail's pace and came to a complete stop in places.

"Overnight vessels like the American Queen and the Queen of the Mississippi couldn't get down to Greenville. They had to bus people down and get people back because certain legs of the river were closed," said Jimmy Ogle.

Jimmy Ogle, general manager of the Beale Street Landing, has worked on the river for about 30 years.

He was here when the river fell to an all time low of 10.8 in 1988 and crested at near 48 feet in 2011.

"When we had the big high water here in 2011 people came in droves to see the high water because it’s only been over 45 feet three times in our recorded history, and that’s pretty amazing to see it when it' s that high," said Ogle.

The river now at about 17.5 feet is high for this time of the year, but Ogle says it's a perfect to keep things moving on the Mississippi.

He says that's good for the steam boat business, those big barges, and more importantly the economy.

"This is very good for July. I wish it would stay at 20 feet all year long and never change,  but it doesn’t it fluctuates over 55 ft during the course of year," said Ogle.

The river has dropped around seven feet over the last few days.

It's forecasted to go down to nine feet.