ST. LOUIS, Missouri - The Mississippi River is still open right now and may stay open longer than expected.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it now expects the river to stay open to barge traffic until December 29th.
Mississippi River levels have fallen since the end of last month as less water from the Missouri River has flowed into the Mississippi at St. Louis.
The Corps had originally thought barge traffic would need to be stopped today.
Illinois U.S. Senator Richard Durbin says he and other senators will meet with state and local officials and representatives from industries such as agriculture and shipping to see if more water from the Missouri is needed to keep the Mississippi open longer.
Forget about the billions of dollars lost from Hurricane "Sandy". The Drought of 2012 could become the year's most expensive weather event of the year.
Initial U.S. Agriculture Department estimates put the cost of the drought somewhere between $60 and $100 billion dollars.
"Sandy's" damage is pegged at $75-billion.
The drought actually started last winter when little snow fell in the northern tier of the United States.