Low water levels force Viking to call off Mississippi River cruise for now

US Coast Guard says parts of the Mississippi River are closed as dredging commences.

Water levels on parts of the Mississippi River are so low that traffic on the heavily traveled waterway is being impeded, including one company’s river cruise.

Data from the National Weather Service’s Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center showed levels are at or below the low-water threshold at several gauges from Tiptonville, Missouri, south to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Between Osceola, Arkansas, to Tunica, Mississippi, water is actually several feet below the gauges.


The U.S. Coast Guard said in tweets Thursday that the Mississippi River is closed in Memphis and Stack Island while crews work to make navigation safe again. Dredging is underway near Stack Island.

Officials at Viking Cruises said in a statement Wednesday that the unusually low water has caused delays for its 450-foot river ship Viking Mississippi.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to deepen the shipping canal in some sections, but the closures have caused delays that will prevent the Viking Mississippi from completing the sailing underway and from reaching St. Paul for her next scheduled departure on October 15," the statement read in part.

Cruise company officials said passengers who have been affected by the cancellation have been notified.

"At this time, we expect to operate all future departures of the Viking Mississippi as scheduled," officials said in the statement.

The already-low water levels are not forecast to improve anytime soon, according to the LMRFC’s data. In Memphis, the level is forecast to drop to near -9 feet by next week.

The Viking Mississippi began sailing Sept. 3.