By The Associated Press
LOW WATER: A year after the Mississippi River swelled to near-historic levels, the river's southern half is so low that barges have run aground and operators have been forced to lighten their loads.
BLAME THE WEATHER: One reason for the difference is a lack of rainfall in the Ohio River valley and the north Mississippi River Basin. Sections of Tennessee and regions to the north are experiencing drought conditions.
ECONOMIC LIFELINE: Millions of tons of goods are shipped every year on the Mississippi. Some end up as exports departing from Louisiana ports.
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