Record flooding has caused authorities to close the Mississippi River at the port in Natchez because barge traffic could put more pressure on the levees.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough said the port was closed Monday, leaving two vessels waiting to head north and one waiting to go south. The U.S. economy could face a bill running into the hundreds of millions of dollars a day if the lower Mississippi River is closed to shipping for days or weeks, port officials said. It wasn't clear when the river would reopen to traffic.
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The Mississippi River is expected to crest Saturday in Natchez at 63 feet, down a half-foot than earlier predictions, but almost five feet above a record set in 1937. The river at Natchez was already 3 feet above the 1937 level as of Monday morning. To the north, the river is projected to crest Thursday at Vicksburg at 57.5 feet, more than a foot above the 1927 record there.