A recent snowstorm that blasted much of the nations midsection appears to be just what the flagging Mississippi River needed when it comes to shipping. The Mississippi at St. Louis as of the middle of last week had dropped to nearly 3 feet below normal. That forced the Coast Guard to require barges to carry lighter loads on the shallower river. But the recent day melt-off of the accumulated snow from the storm earlier this month has fed into the river, making its level slightly above normal. That's made the shipping smoother. The Coast Guard welcomed the precipitation. During this year's first two weeks, there were 14 barge groundings in the St. Louis region, three times the number a year earlier.
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