Climatologist discusses current levels along Mississippi River

The director of USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub says the wetter than expected spring has helped rebound water levels along the Mississippi River.

Dennis Todey tells Brownfield the river suffered from extremely low conditions last fall. “We’ve had enough rainfall this spring that we’ve cut into the drought issues. We’ve not completely eliminated them, and those are largely because of some very long-term deficits going back several years in parts of Iowa, Missouri and Kansas. The runoff because of these has increased most stream flows. We’ve had some minor flooding in areas.”

But he says current levels have been on the lower end of the historical spectrum for this time of the year. “Will we be able to maintain some rainfalls as we go along during the year? If we were to get back into drought conditions, how widespread are they and how severe are they? Do we get back into those low flow issues? Hopefully not, but it’s something to keep an eye on as we go along.”

Todey says with some drought conditions continuing across the Midwest, precipitation could largely be absorbed into the ground with less residual water available.

AUDIO: Dennis Todey, director of USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub

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