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ST. LOUIS (AP) - While winter has appeared unforgiving to many in the nation's midsection, a climatologist says the next couple of months will dictate the season's legacy on all-important sectors such as shipping and farming.

Brian Fuchs works with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He says how much more snow is in store for the Midwest and how quickly it melts off will dictate whether it crimps barge traffic or growers.

Fuchs says a rapid melt-off of snowpack in the northern Midwest could send that excess water into tributaries and ultimately swell major inland rivers, which would affect barge traffic.

A prolonged winter that dumps more snow on key farming states could delay corn planting, mirroring the late start growers endured last year.

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