ST. LOUIS (AP) — A release of water from the Missouri River and recent storms are offering some relief for the Mississippi River, where water levels have been dangerously low.

The Mississippi River channel at St. Louis was roughly 12 feet deep on Thursday — up about a foot-and-a-half since Monday.

River interests are paying close attention because if the Mississippi channel gets to 9 feet, more restrictions for barge traffic are expected. Forecasters initially expected the river to get to 9 feet by late this month.

National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs now says that probably won't happen until the second week of January. He cites two reasons for the improved forecast: This week's release of water from an upper Missouri River dam; and heavy snow and rain in the upper Midwest.