But the deluge in Louisiana will do nothing to relieve the problems of states further north on the Mississippi. Much of the Midwest, West and Great Plains regions remain parched, as they have been since last year.
NOAA forecasts that the drought will persist at least until spring for most of the United States west of the Mississippi. NOAA's seasonal drought outlook covers until April 1.
Persistent drought afflicts much of the region feeding water into the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, leading to low water levels. River shipping becomes more difficult the lower the rivers drop. The Mississippi may be closed to barge traffic in the near future, despite efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) that have managed to buy time. USACE's blasting of rocks in the main river channel will probably allow the river to remain open for the rest of January. However, the fate of river shipping in February is uncertain.
Crawfish, Procambarus clarkii, (Mike Murphy, Wikimedia Commons)
The U.S. Drought Outlook for Jan.1 through March 31, 2013 (NOAA)