How low can river go?

Published 12:04 am Saturday, August 4, 2012

NATCHEZ — Levels on the Mississippi River will rise more than 2 feet in the next week, but they aren’t expected to stay up for long.

On Friday, the river level at Natchez was 9.8 feet.

It is expected to rise to 11 feet by Sunday and continue rising to 12 feet on Tuesday.

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Anna Weber, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the rise is attributed to increased rainfall in the northern areas of the river.

“The rise is from the rainfall they had up north around the Ohio River Valley sometime last week, but it takes a surprisingly long time for it to trickle down,” Weber said. “They’re not expecting any more rain for a while.”

With another dry spell ahead, the river levels are expected to begin falling back to 9 feet as early as Friday. A 25-day forecast from the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center shows the river levels falling to 7 feet by the end of the month.

The National Weather Service lists the record low as -2.70 feet on January 1930.

The gauge at Natchez measures water surface elevation, not depth, below or above sea level of 17.28 feet.

When the river levels fall below that particular measuring point, the readings are listed as negative, meaning they are below the 17.28 feet sea level.