The long-running heavy rains in the Midwest since January have caused hundreds of barges to remain stalled on the Mississippi River. The contiguous US has had its wettest January to May on records dating back to 1895.
Railways and highways have also been closed as well, not only stopping supplies of fertilizer from farmers, but limiting the amount of crops sent to market.
Nearly 300 barges are being held at just two locks along the upper Mississippi, the result of result of high water and fast currents, according to Waterways Council Inc. Hundreds more are stuck in St. Louis and Memphis, the Council said.
On Monday June 10th 203 points along US rivers were at flood levels, most of these being on the Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri Rivers and their tributaries.
The Mississippi at Baton Rouge is forecast to rise by about another foot this week, reaching a level only two feet less than its record crest in 1927.
The repercussions will ripple through the economy for the rest of the year, according to Jon Davis, chief meteorologist with Chicago-based weather analytics firm RiskPulse. Speaking to Reuters, he said that, when crops that have been sowed late in the season do eventually start moving to market, barge, truck and train traffic would suffer from an excess of demand be stretched thin, he said.