Nebraska Drought Uncovers Shipwreck of 150-Year-Old Steamboat in Missouri River

by Sean Griffin

Back in 1870, a steamboat wrecked in a Nebraska stretch of the Missouri River. Flash forward to 2022, and a drought dropped the water levels dramatically, revealing the wreckage of the ‘North Alabama.’

Known as the North Alabama, the steamboat sank near Goat Island. Goat Island lies on the border between Nebraska and South Dakota. Both states have suffered from drought recently. 

Back in 1870, the steamboat sank when it hit a snag. The collision knocked a hole in the bottom of the boat, causing it to sink. Its captain was killed in the tragedy. However, it’s not known if anyone else also died. 

“It wasn’t until 1904 that the ‘North Alabama’ was exposed again, the Missouri National Recreational River said in a Facebook post. “And now when the water is low and the sands of time have shifted you might be able to catch a glimpse of her wreckage.”

The ‘North Alabama’ was a 220-ton wooden packet steamboat. It was headed from Sioux City, Iowa, to Yellowstone County in Montana to deliver supplies. The supplies, such as flour and whiskey, were headed to miners in the Rocky Mountains.

Cargo worth $12,000, which is estimated to be worth over $300,000 today, went down with the ship when it sank in the river.

DailyMail provides pictures of the now-visible wreckage.

“Who knows when the ‘North Alabama’ will appear again?” officials asked in a 2013 video about the ship’s history.

The steamboat wreck is the latest in a long line of wrecks and ancient outcroppings revealed due to this year’s extreme droughts in the United States and worldwide. 

California Drought Leaves Farmers Devastated

California’s mega-drought has lasted years, and new reports indicate it’s left more than 531,000 acres of the state’s farmland unplanted. US Department of Agriculture and other agriculture experts warn that supplies of key crops could become scarce during next year’s harvest.

Some of the indispensable crops include wheat, cotton, rice, and alfalfa. Officials state the shortage would be caused by dwindling water levels due to the drought. The drought has raged on for three years.

The amount of unplanted land in the state increased 36%, a stark reminder of the drought’s growing power.

The roughly 70,000 farmers in the state keep getting set back by inflation, drought, and supply-chain issues in recent years. They just can’t catch a break.

The new estimates on the lack of acres farmed from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) highlight how these farmers struggle to maintain proper irrigation systems during the drought.

Meanwhile, the state’s two largest reservoirs currently sit at historically low levels. This indicates that California and much of the American West is in for a brutal end to a long, dry summer.

“It’s true that things are not great now,” Aaron Smith, professor of agricultural economics at UC Davis, told The San Francisco Chronicle Monday.

He added that crops most likely to be affected by the prevailing water shortages are water-intensive field crops. Therefore, crops like rice and cotton will be most affected, as they have in the past few years.

The Daily Mail provides photos of record-low water levels at Lake Mead and other shocking pics.