April 13, 2018
Current Flooding Conditions
– In affected areas below, expect a 4-6 day increase to normal transit times NB and SB.
We are dealing with some of the worst flooding conditions in recent history throughout the inland waterway system. Tow size on these boats has been cut back 45% due to the high river conditions. Boats that would normally tow 16 barges have been reduced to 9; larger horsepower boats have been reduced from 25 to 16.
– Ohio River – We are in the midst of a 15’-17’ rise on the Ohio River. Fleets from miles 0-100 have minimal movement, conditions are still hazardous. Daylight Only through Cincinnati. Expect longer than normal port occurrences in the fleets on the Ohio. Congestion in Cairo continues to cause major delays, the main culprit of this is the reduced tow sizes Southbound on the Lower Miss. Expect an additional 5-7 days await pickup Southbound in Cairo.
– Lower Miss/Gulf— High water has resulted in reduced tow sizes NB and SB. Based on current projections; we will get tow size back around the middle of May. In most cases tows have been reduced by 2 strings SB (5-10 barges), expect this to continue for the foreseeable future. Congestion and increased delays in the Gulf, incurring 24-72 hours of delay getting in and out of fleets with reduced shuttle tow sizes. The current is very swift in the Gulf for NB tows, helper boats are needed at certain points on the river, and extreme caution is being exercised. Daylight only through Vicksburg (LM 435) and Baton Rouge (LM 237) bridges until the first half of May.
Lagrange Lock (80) Closure —The latest reports expect the gate replacement with no closures
Peoria and Lagrange Locks are down, boats are running the pass– Due to rain over the
weekend, both locks are not expected to go up for another week.
Major Delays at Dashields (OR 13) and Emsworth (OR 6) Locks in the Pittsburgh area—
The primary chambers are closed until Dashields (5/8) and Emsworth (6/8). During this time only one barge at a time can transit through the auxiliary chamber. Delay at Dashields Lock: 5 boats, 24 barges, 1-2 days delay each way. Delay at Emsworth: 6 boats, 31 barges, 1-2 days delay each way. Emsworth is currently shutdown due to high water. Barges that are destined to this area during this timeframe can expect an additional 1-2 week delay on top of the delay at the locks. With this increase, expect slower transits and additional delays.
Montgomery Lock (OR 32) Closures: These will be full river closures, all closures will begin and end at 04:00. 4/23—4/25, and 4/30—5/2
LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER:
Daily River Closure at mile 811 on the Lower Miss – Work has been suspended due to high water, will not come back until the Cairo gauge is 35’ and falling. There is no current timetable for the contractors to come back to work. Beginning on 1/15 and lasting until roughly middle of April. This closure will be for 12 hours each day, 0630-1830, 7 days a week. This will be a full river closure during work hours, boats will only transit at night through this area.
UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER:
Rock Pinnacle removal at Thebes, restrictions added (UMR 38-45) – Work has been suspended due to high water, work will stay suspended until the Cape Girardeau river stage falls below 15’. The time table for this is first half of April. Work will be done during daylight hours, estimate 0700-1700. During work hours, no tows will pass, complete closure. During non-work hours tows may pass unrestricted.
Kentucky Lock (TR 22) Closure—The lock will be closed daily from 08:00 to 16:00 from 4/16—20. There is not an auxiliary chamber to utilize, these will be full closures. Expect de-lays.
BLACK WARRIOR RIVER:
Bankhead Lock (BW 365) Closure–from 7/11/2018 0700 through 8/7/2018 1900.
Holt Lock – (BW 347) Closure– from 7/10/2018 0700 through 8/8/2018.
Inland Waterway Weather Report
A wet weekend down south…and the new Climate Outlooks highlight the weather
- A cold front will move along the Gulf Coast Saturday-Monday with moderate
- to locally heavy rain predicted to fall over the region south of St Louis.
- Another cold front will move through the watershed Monday-
- Wednesday with light to moderate rain/snow predicted during its passage.-
- 1-3” of snow water equivalents are on the ground north of Dubuque. Temperaturesweek.7 day QPF totals (through Tuesday morning):
- are expected to warm and melt all the snow by this time next
- ¾” or less of rain/snow is predicted for the region north of Cairo.
- 1 ¼-4” of rain is forecasted for the region south of Cairo.
- Bill Frederick, USACE