Quote 31 Mar 33 notes
The persistent drought has produced some of the lowest levels ever recorded in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. And as a consequence, the big ships that carry iron ore to mills around the lakes are now being forced to lighten their loads - or risk running aground…. Last month CBS News went aboard the Stewart J. Cort in the Port of Milwaukee. As long as an aircraft carrier, the ship can carry 65,000 tons of ore. “When this ship loaded its last cargo of the season, it had only 55,000 tons on board,” Nekvasil said. If a ship is 10,000 tons of ore short, “that means a steel mill didn’t make about 6,700 tons of steel and that could have been turned into 8,400 cars. And 8,400 cars would keep a large auto plant working for 15 days,” he explained. “And you have to remember that’s on just one trip. These ships will make 45 to 50 trips during a season.” Precipitation in February and March over the Michigan and Huron basin has been close to average, and the levels are now about two inches higher than they were in January, when the record lows were reached. But that’s still about 26 inches - more than two feet - lower than where the lakes usually are. And the mild winter temperatures didn’t help. There was little ice cover over the water this year, allowing evaporation to drain even more moisture from the lakes.

#drought #climate change #auto industry #Great Lakes #Lake Huron #Lake Michigan #politics #economy

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