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The Mighty Mississippi to Run Dry?
theTrumpet.com ^ | August 7, 2012 | Robert Morley

Posted on 08/06/2012 10:47:43 PM PDT by Aquamarine

If the world’s largest navigable river system goes dry, the economic consequences will be felt around the world.

What is the single greatest reason America is so wealthy? According to the analysts at Stratfor, it is because of a river.

They have to be joking, right?

What about America’s vast gold resources? What about its mountains of coal? America is the world’s third-largest oil producer—surely that is why. Then there is America’s temperate climate and fertile soils that traditionally make it the world’s breadbasket. And don’t forget America’s human capital, Yankee ingenuity, and Protestant work ethic. Surely these factors are cumulatively more important than a river.

Not according to one of America’s premier think tanks. Many countries have large natural resources and hospitable climates, but don’t even come close to having America’s wealth. What sets America apart from the rest of the world is the Mississippi River basin. It is what makes exploiting America’s resources economically possible.

But now, due to the worst drought since the 1950s, the Mississippi may be about to go dry.

In Memphis and Vicksburg, the shrinking river is obvious: slower river, exposed river banks, and more sandbars. The water is down more than 13 and 20 feet in each city respectively. The Mississippi on average is about 13 feet below normal—and a whopping 55 feet below where it was at this time last year. On some stretches, the water level is perilously low. On July 17 it was reported that a 100-mile stretch of the Platte River in Omaha, Nebraska, had dried up.

In fact, water levels are now so low that barge operators are no longer able to operate at full capacity and have to shed both weight and number of towed barges.

For each one-inch loss of water, the standard barge must unload 17 tons of cargo—that is a loss of 204 tons, per barge, for every one-foot loss. A typical tow on the upper Mississippi river may have 15 barges. A one-foot loss of water translates into a loss of 3,000 tons of capacity. Tows on the lower Mississippi River may have up to 45 barges, resulting in a loss of capacity of over 9,000 tons. Tom Allegretti, president of the American Waterways Operators, reports that it would take 130 semitrucks or 570 rail cars to haul the freight unloaded by one large barge grouping under those conditions.

Almost 600 rail cars just to make up for the loss of one string of barges. There are thousands and thousands of barge strings that ply the Mississippi each year. The shutdown of the Mississippi would be an absolute catastrophe!

Already, the cost to ship bulk goods is rising. As the weight that can be put on barges shrinks, the cost per unit weight is rising. And that translates into higher costs on the consumers’ end. Products that are already only marginally profitable may not be economic at these higher transport costs.

The last time the Mississippi shut down due to low water was in 1988. Then just a small section of the river became unnavigable—but it cost the shipping industry $1 billion.

If the Mississippi shut down today, sources quoted by nbc estimate that the direct costs to the economy would be a massive $300 million per day—a cost that would skyrocket exponentially if the river did not reopen after more than a few days!

We are still a few feet of water away from that, but the summer isn’t over either.

1988 is the only time in recent memory that can compare with this summer, says Lynn Muench, senior vice president of American Waterways Operators. “For the last two or three weeks, the phrase I keep hearing is, ‘Close to 1988. Worse than 1988. Same as 1988,’” she says. “There’s a real possibility that it’ll be worse this year.”

Making matters worse for barge traffic, last year’s record flood stirred up debris and changed the location of underwater obstructions. The Army Corps of Engineers is working like crazy to dredge shallow areas and mark dangers.

But still, the number of barges going aground is rising. Shipping lanes are narrowing. And traffic is slowing. On Wednesday, a barge grounded in Minnesota. It took 24 hours to clear it, and another day to dredge the channel before other barge-trains could pass. The same day, another barge got stuck in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It took about a day to get traffic moving there again. cbs News says barge traffic is getting hung up all up and down the Mississippi, even in areas that normally don’t have any problem.

America’s Mississippi River system is an absolute jewel that America cannot afford to lose—no matter how short the duration.

The Mississippi River, in conjunction with Missouri, Red, Arkansas and Ohio rivers, comprises the largest interconnected network of navigable rivers in the world. Stratfor calls the Greater Mississippi river network “the circulatory system of the Midwest.” It is what opens up one third of America to the world. Even without the addition of canals, it is possible for ships from anywhere in the world to reach nearly any part of the Midwest. With the addition of canals, goods can now be transported from the Great Lakes in the north to New Orleans in the south.

And this fantastic water highway just happens to sit astride the most fertile crop-growing region in the world.

It is hard to overstate the economic implications of this overlap. The geography of most nations requires their governments to devote scarce resources to lay endless rail and road to build the transport capacity that was gifted to America at no expense. And water transport costs a fraction of moving goods by road and rail.

The Mississippi River network virtually guaranteed that America would be rich.

But the Mississippi blessing may now be turning into a curse. Everybody is aware that America is in the midst of an epic drought. Contingency plans are being made for reduced corn, soybean and wheat crops. America has experienced droughts before. Markets are prepared for this reality, although they may be underestimating the global consequences of the drought.

America is now critically reliant upon the uninterrupted functioning of this vast intercontinental transport network. The drying up of the Mississippi—even for as short a period as a week—would be a huge, unexpected blow to this nation, never mind the global economy. And it is one that America and the world can ill afford at this time.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: mississippiriver; rivers
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1 posted on 08/06/2012 10:47:52 PM PDT by Aquamarine
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To: Aquamarine
The Mighty Mississippi to Run Dry?

It depends on whom the Almighty Obama is mad at this week.

-PJ

2 posted on 08/06/2012 10:53:52 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too ( It doesn't come naturally when you're not natural born.)
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To: Aquamarine

I honestly do grow weary of these reports that seek to convince everyone that the end is near.

We have had droughts before. We will have them in the future.

The world is not going to suddenly come to an end, or the U. S. fail because the Mississippi river bed is going to run dry.

We have droughts and we have floods. Ten or fifteen years ago we had major flooding on the Mississippi. At the time folks were convinced that farms were going to disappear, and the river was going to eat up a lot of farmland. Today it’s just the opposite.

Somehow, we’ll get through this. Some hand wringers won’t, but the rest of us will. There’s no such thing as a normal when it comes to weather. It’s cyclical. Things will turn around. We will survive.


3 posted on 08/06/2012 11:05:07 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Nope 2012)
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To: Aquamarine

Call in the Hopi indians.


4 posted on 08/06/2012 11:08:01 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: Jeremiah Jr
The Mighty Mississippi to Run Dry? <<<

The Mississippi River, in conjunction with Missouri, Red, Arkansas and Ohio rivers, comprises the largest interconnected network of navigable rivers in the world. Stratfor calls the Greater Mississippi river network “the circulatory system of the Midwest.” It is what opens up one third of America to the world. Even without the addition of canals, it is possible for ships from anywhere in the world to reach nearly any part of the Midwest. With the addition of canals, goods can now be transported from the Great Lakes in the north to New Orleans in the south.

And this fantastic water highway just happens to sit astride the most fertile crop-growing region in the world.

The great river... allegory?

5 posted on 08/06/2012 11:08:22 PM PDT by Ezekiel (The Obama-nation began with the Inauguration of Desolation.)
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To: Aquamarine

I’ve seen more dry rivers than full ones, as a Southern Californian. Last week I was in Bakersfield. The Kern was just a long bone-dry path of sand. I’ve always been kind of jealous of places where they have water in their rivers all year round.


6 posted on 08/06/2012 11:10:48 PM PDT by married21 (As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.)
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To: Aquamarine

Last time this happened old sunken paddle-wheelers were located, studied, and their artifacts salvaged.

Yes, this has happened before, and will again, there is a reason rainfall forecast are based on an AVERAGE.

We had a very pleasant mild winter in my area last year, I am NOT looking forward to the extra heavy winter I expect this year.
I’ve ben here long enough to see the pattern, “drought” followed by record setting wet.

Even the article mentions severe flooding a short time ago, nature does tend to average these things out.


7 posted on 08/06/2012 11:14:02 PM PDT by Loyal Sedition
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To: DoughtyOne
Ten or fifteen years ago we had major flooding on the Mississippi.

How soon we forget:

Levee blasted along Mississippi River to spare Cairo, Ill. ... May 2011.

8 posted on 08/06/2012 11:17:50 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Aquamarine

The preacher man says it’s the end of time
And the Mississippi River she’s a goin’ dry
The interest is up and the Stock Markets down
And you only get mugged
If you go down town

I live back in the woods, you see
A woman and the kids, and the dogs and me
I got a shotgun rifle and a 4-wheel drive
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive


9 posted on 08/06/2012 11:28:22 PM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: Aquamarine

The preacher man says it’s the end of time
And the Mississippi River she’s a goin’ dry


10 posted on 08/06/2012 11:28:58 PM PDT by LukeL (Barack Obama: Jimmy Carter 2 Electric Boogaloo)
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To: dr_lew

Wow, that’s true. I had forgotten about that, so your comment was right on the mark.

There are times when I don’t follow every story, and it’s quite obvious I didn’t tune in to this one.

Thanks for the mention. It was much more timely for my premise too.


11 posted on 08/06/2012 11:30:13 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Nope 2012)
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To: LukeL

Great minds think alike


12 posted on 08/06/2012 11:30:32 PM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: Aquamarine

Much ado about nothing.
I grew up in Memphis, had an office on Front Street, and saw the river in flood and drought.
I even had the pleasure of steering a barge train one day,
when I was in the marine radio communications business, mid 60s.
A high river is just as much of a problem for barge operators, as a low river.

Oh, the article mentions “ships”.
You will never see a sea going ship on the Mississippi.
Only barges travel the river, transporting bulk materials.


13 posted on 08/06/2012 11:31:24 PM PDT by AlexW
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To: Aquamarine

But Mark Twaine predicted that it would one day be only a few paces long. Is...is this the work of Man-Bear-Pig?


14 posted on 08/06/2012 11:35:14 PM PDT by Eleutheria5 (End the occupation. Annex today.)
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To: DesertRhino

A Country Boy Can Survive
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4s0nzsU1Wg


15 posted on 08/06/2012 11:37:52 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: Aquamarine
Tom Allegretti, president of the American Waterways Operators, reports that it would take 130 semitrucks or 570 rail cars to haul the freight unloaded by one large barge grouping under those conditions."

Tom is a frickin moron. One rail car can hold about 100 tons, how much can a semi hold? Trains can get it there in about 2 days or less. Shipping from Iowa to New Orleans is 640 ton-miles per gallon on a train and 544 ton-miles per gallon for a barge. Iowa State University

Trains win in both time and ton-miles per gallon.

16 posted on 08/06/2012 11:50:06 PM PDT by Dan Zachary
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To: Aquamarine
"world’s largest navigable river system "

The Nile and Amazon Rivers are not navigable????

17 posted on 08/06/2012 11:58:13 PM PDT by matthew fuller (They'll have to pry my gun, bible, and chikin from my cold dead fingers.)
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To: DoughtyOne
While overall I agree with your assessment, I will add my own personal experience. I live near La Crosse Wisconsin and I have seen that the barge trains are smaller. Last weekend I went canoing on a river that feeds into the Mississippi, and it was the lowest I have ever seen it. In fact it was so low, that I had to walk the canoe about half of the trip due to low water/sand bars.

Is it the end of the world? I don't know, but I know that many people now days have taken for granted the blessing God has given America and what God gives, God can also take away.

18 posted on 08/07/2012 12:00:24 AM PDT by ScubieNuc (When there is no justice in the laws, justice is left to the outlaws.)
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To: Aquamarine

The sky is falling.


19 posted on 08/07/2012 12:09:13 AM PDT by 867V309
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To: Eleutheria5
... Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

Quoted by Donald Simanek

20 posted on 08/07/2012 12:12:43 AM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Aquamarine

What is Obama gonna do to save us?

Never let a crisis go to waste.


21 posted on 08/07/2012 12:21:43 AM PDT by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: DoughtyOne; Ezekiel; 2ndDivisionVet
I've studied "end time" prophecy for a long. The book below, IMO, probably ties it all together better than any single source that I've seen to date. That said, there are a few things I don't agree with the author on; mostly toward the end of the book.

In the interest of warning as many people as possible, the author has made it available on Amazon as a Kindle download for $0.99.

The book is well written, well documented, and will keep you up at night. It's something most Americans prefer not to think about.


22 posted on 08/07/2012 12:22:40 AM PDT by Errant
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To: ScubieNuc
Here's the River gauge at Memphis. It is low, and so far has matched the sixth lowest on record:

(6) -8.00 ft on 11/16/1993

With a slight reprieve predicted, let's hope it doesn't match the record:

(1) -10.70 ft on 07/10/1988

I remember that year very well, just from local conditions here in Chitown. The grass was silver in June, and the golf course that summer was like hard clay. This was before global warming, I guess, because nobody mentioned it.

23 posted on 08/07/2012 12:27:01 AM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Errant

For such a time as this . . . . http://patburt.com/


24 posted on 08/07/2012 12:56:56 AM PDT by Maudeen (Proverbs 3:5-6)
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To: DoughtyOne

We’re in the 17th straight year of a drought here in central GA. I know it will end someday, but I would still like to be around to see it...


25 posted on 08/07/2012 1:01:05 AM PDT by snuffy smiff (Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.)
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To: DoughtyOne

Al Gore and friends were sitting around laughing about the gullibility of the masses of Americans. They pondered on just how they could capitalize on this mass ignorance and settled on Global Warming. Primitive people in the throes of a crisis of no rain, extreme heat (summer) would certainly be receptive to a savior. They are all flim flam specialists and they are using a predictable increase in heat to scare the idiots into compliance. What better way to become King?


26 posted on 08/07/2012 1:17:47 AM PDT by antceecee (Bless us Father.. have mercy on us and protect us from evil.)
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To: dr_lew

“(1) -10.70 ft on 07/10/1988”

During that summer a Hydrologist was interviewed on radio and he said it would take a decade for the watershed in Minnesota to recover....before the end of the summer of 1989, the watershed had not only recovered but was over flowing.


27 posted on 08/07/2012 1:18:40 AM PDT by Puckster
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To: Puckster

The Earth is self-regulating. Now someone needs to teach the elites that they cannot make it over again in their image.


28 posted on 08/07/2012 1:57:04 AM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: Aquamarine

The Trumpet is published by the Philadelphia Church of God which is an abusive cult headed by an alcoholic named Gerald Flurry.


29 posted on 08/07/2012 2:15:42 AM PDT by fso301
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To: Aquamarine
What is the single greatest reason America is so wealthy? According to the analysts at Stratfor, it is because of a river.

They have to be joking, right?

Of course!! Everybody knows the answer is "government."

30 posted on 08/07/2012 2:39:26 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: matthew fuller
What sets America apart from the rest of the world is the Mississippi River basin. It is what makes exploiting America’s resources economically possible.

Volga River (Russia) and the Yangtze (China)? C'mon! Not saying naviagable rivers are not important, but let's not go overboard!

31 posted on 08/07/2012 3:31:48 AM PDT by Tallguy (It's all 'Fun and Games' until somebody loses an eye!)
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To: AlexW

“Oh, the article mentions “ships”.
You will never see a sea going ship on the Mississippi.
Only barges travel the river, transporting bulk materials.”

http://www.riverlorian.com/mississippiriver.htm

“Once reaching Baton Rouge, Louisiana there are ocean going ships that come into the Mississippi River from the Gulf Mexico. The lower 234 miles of the river is a deep-water port. “


32 posted on 08/07/2012 3:42:10 AM PDT by BwanaNdege (Man has often lost his way, but modern man has lost his address - Gilbert K. Chesterton)
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To: BwanaNdege

“Once reaching Baton Rouge, Louisiana there are ocean going ships that come into the Mississippi River”
_________________________________________________

Yes, I know that many ships enter the mouth, but they do not traverse the river north of Louisiana.
At least in my fifty years there, I never saw a “ship”.


33 posted on 08/07/2012 4:11:04 AM PDT by AlexW
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To: AlexW

Deep draft vessels cannot get north of N. Baton Rouge - the Old MS River bridge is too low, courtesy of H. P. Long.


34 posted on 08/07/2012 4:27:12 AM PDT by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: Aquamarine
Gee if these arseholes would put down marx, engels and mao and actually put effort into American History... they can see that what they all think is new and threatening... is just histrionic nature. We have been here before and we will come visit again. We have floods and droughts and hurricanes and tornadoes... and we always have and we always will... and every now and again... something terrible happens. THAT is why they made “THE BUMPERSTICKER”.

LLS

35 posted on 08/07/2012 4:33:09 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (Don't Tread On Me)
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To: dr_lew

“Here’s the River gauge at Memphis. It is low, and so far has matched the sixth lowest on record:
(6) -8.00 ft on 11/16/1993 “

This surprises me as August 1993 was the year the Missouri river had its “500 year” flood.


36 posted on 08/07/2012 4:35:05 AM PDT by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
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To: Aquamarine
Not to worry....... yesterday our area received in excess of 6 " of rain. The month of July recorded near record rainfall and actually exceeded the records on two specific days. The rain came every afternoon and every night.

All that rain runs off into the Tennessee River that empties into the Ohio at Paducaa that empties into the Mississippi at Cairo. The water is coming from the TVA lakes that are all at peak pool levels

BTW Last October we spent a month on the Great River Road. It is a marked series of roads that run from the head at Lake Itaska Minnesota to the mouth at Venice Louisiana following the Mississippi through the very heart of America. It is a great trip and America at it's very best. We saw all the tows and the myriad of port facilities that ship or receive the vast production of America. It is truly amazing in scope


37 posted on 08/07/2012 4:45:11 AM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Present failure and impending death yield irrational action))
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To: AlexW

Actually, sea going ships come up the river as far a Baton Rouge and the port of New Orleans carries very high tonnage


38 posted on 08/07/2012 4:54:12 AM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Present failure and impending death yield irrational action))
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To: clee1

The Hurt P Long bridge is plenty high enough to permit passage of ocean going traffic. How do you think all those naval vessels built at Avondale get out?


39 posted on 08/07/2012 5:00:58 AM PDT by Romulus
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To: clee1

“Deep draft vessels cannot get north of N. Baton Rouge”
_______________________________________

Yes, the river is only for riverboats, not ships.
IIRC, many years ago there was the desire to bring a US navy ship up the river and dock it in Memphis as a museum.
After all, Millington, a suburb of Memphis is home to maybe the largest INLAND US navy base. It is, however, a naval air base, not at all related to the seas.
I do, however, remember as a child, seeing hordes of sailors
in there bright whites cruising the streets of downtown Memphis.
I think the problem with bringing a ship up the river was that it had to be done during spring floods, but at that time, they would not be able to clear the bridges.


40 posted on 08/07/2012 5:05:40 AM PDT by AlexW
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To: Aquamarine
Lewis and Clark started with their canoes in NY state and went down to the Ohio river. They took the Ohio to the Mississippi, and then up to the Missouri river. They paddled the Missouri and its tributaries upstream to Idaho. This is all the Mississippi river watershed. Some years it gets more rain than average, some years it gets less. The Mississippi just keeps on rollin’ along.
41 posted on 08/07/2012 5:26:02 AM PDT by norwaypinesavage (Galileo: In science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual)
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To: Aquamarine

Guess someone pulled a giant plug in the atmosphere allowing all the moisture content to leak out? Same amount of water today as we had at the beginning, half-wit.


42 posted on 08/07/2012 5:31:10 AM PDT by arrdon (Never underestimate the stupidity of the American voter.)
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To: Aquamarine
This time last year the high pressure was centered on Texas and we were burning up, literally on fire. Our lakes and rivers were drying up, our water supply was low. This year it is centered farther north and the middle of the country is burning up.

Texas got rain, they will too.

43 posted on 08/07/2012 5:38:47 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: DoughtyOne

In the spring there will be flooding in the Mississippi same as every year.

That Mississippi has had low water before and will have it again.

There is nothing humans can do about it anyway. It is up to God to set the level of the Mississippi.


44 posted on 08/07/2012 5:45:17 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Aquamarine

The real question is how much money will Obama start throwing at it?

Of course, he could just stand on the banks, stretch out his staff and bring forth the waters.


45 posted on 08/07/2012 6:44:32 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Worst. President. Ever.)
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To: Maudeen

I clicked on that link and I was blocked for ‘online-gambling’...


46 posted on 08/07/2012 7:07:32 AM PDT by redtetrahedron ("Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee" - Jer 1:5)
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To: ScubieNuc

Here’s where I’m coming from. If you’ll listen to the reports of drought, you’ll note that they generally say, this is the driest it’s been in fifty years, or something like that.

Okay, that means that fifty years ago, it was worse than it is now.

I know what is happening now is hard on people who live in the region. I’m not trying to say it isn’t. It’s just that I don’t think it’s wise to attribute this to some global meltdown.


47 posted on 08/07/2012 8:21:58 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Nope 2012)
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To: Errant

Thank you Errant. I’ll check it out.


48 posted on 08/07/2012 8:23:29 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Nope 2012)
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To: snuffy smiff

That’s terrible. It’s amazing the storms that do come up seem to miss you. Sorry to hear it.

I hope it ends soon.


49 posted on 08/07/2012 8:25:00 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Nope 2012)
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To: antceecee

I think their big play was convincing the global cooling folks into switching to be global warming nuts.

Your comments are right on IMO.


50 posted on 08/07/2012 8:26:50 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Nope 2012)
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