Missouri River Shrinking, Restaurants Feeling Effects

Paul Gutierrez

OMAHA (KPTM) - The Mighty Missouri River is looking more like a pond these days. In some places, it now stands only about eight feet tall.

"To me it looks like you could basically just wade across it," said Michael Spaulding.

"It looks low enough that I probably wouldn't want to boat on it," added Turk Mully.

A storm that was supposed to bring a second round of snow for Omaha Monday afternoon shifted south; a reminder that we're still in a drought.

"It's surprising to me that it's this low," said Mully.

Of course, the drought is not just leaving its mark on the Missouri River. It's also a nuisance to some grocery stores and restaurants that stock dairy and chicken products.

"It affects the bottom line," said Petrow's owner Nick Petrow.

Petrow is already noticing a difference because of the drought. It means the cost of chicken and dairy products are going up.

"Anytime food prices go up our menu stays fixed, so we just absorb it and hope the customer enjoys it every time they come in to have their ice cream."

It's an increase that's not just being felt by Petrow, but other restaurant owners as well.

Consider this, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced its predictions for the cost of chicken and dairy products this year. Experts there say those products could go up by as much as four percent.