Mighty Mississippi Reaches Low Levels

Nearly 100 boats left stranded in massive drought conditions.
3:00 | 08/21/12

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Transcript for Mighty Mississippi Reaches Low Levels
that brought the mississippi river to a stand still, vitality struggling to keep water nine feet deep, 100 boats virtually stuck in 11 miles of watery gridlock. Here's abc's steve osunsami. Reporter: Crippling the mighty mississippi, water so low, ships are bottoming and backed up for 11 miles. It shod look like an interstate highway but tonight, all traffic is down to a one-mile lane where the water is deepest. It was a close call. Reporter: This is the river last year. Today, there's less of it. Residents haven't seen it this LOW SINCE THE 1940s. Outside memphis, they were racing to remove a car that poked out of the waters blocking river traffic that was sitting on the river bottom for years. There's a lot at stake here, this river is the nation's artery of commerce, and the goods on these barges alone fill more than 700 semitrucks and they're just sitting here. Everyday products could soon cost products more. Each day traffic stops, the u.S. Economy loses $300 million. So they're dredging the mississippi. I'm running, works myself a big vacuum cleaner. Reporter: Just trying to keep the water at least nine feet deep, notice the river may need to remain closed. Steve osunsami, abc news, greenville, mississippi.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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