A treat to beat your feet in the Mississippi dust?

The ongoing Midwestern drought has reduced the mighty Mississippi to a trickle of its usual self, causing serious disruption to one of the country’s primary shipping routes. The key Memphis river gauge showed a record low of -10.81 ft, with other meters across the region confirming the trend.

Barge traffic has dwindled significantly as cargo levels have been reduced, allowing the boats to ride higher in the water. Critical commodities such as corn, soybeans, wheat, coal and oil move through this essential corridor. The iconic waterway drains about 41% of the country.

The remnants of Hurricane Roslyn provided some temporary relief, but the dry pattern is expected to continue throughout the winter.

Tower Rock is a popular Missouri tourist destination normally part of a tour boat excursion, but historically low water levels allow hiking to the rock.