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Barge runs aground on Mississippi River; historic drought continues

From Dave Alsup, CNN
updated 6:54 AM EDT, Fri August 3, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Mississippi River was closed at two locations after a barge ran aground
  • The Greenville closure affects a 10-mile stretch of the Lower Mississippi
  • The Army Corps of Engineers carried out dredging operations near La Crosse, Wisconsin

(CNN) -- The Mississippi River was closed at two different locations Thursday after a barge ran aground near Greenville, Mississippi, and the Army Corps of Engineers carried out dredging operations near La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The Greenville closure affects a 10-mile stretch of the Lower Mississippi, according to Coast Guard spokesman Lt. JG McMillian.

He said the incident represents the 24th closure his office has monitored in past weeks.

Closures have become more routine this year, officials say, as last year's flooding may have worsened the situation by way of silt and other deposits of debris in areas that are normally clear.

The traffic closures occurred just as a historic drought and excessive heat reduce water levels and scorch wide sections of the U.S. Midwest.

CNN's Tom Laabs contributed to this report.

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