Below-average rainfall since early November has resulted in 36 percent of Missouri appearing on this week’s USDA Drought Monitor, including a fifth of the state’s acreage in the past week alone.
Missouri now has a belt of pre-drought conditions through the central part of the state, starting in Clark County and heading west to Schuyler County, before connecting with the dry patch that’s been over Macon and Randolph counties the past two months. Areas of Carroll, eastern Ray, and southern Livingston counties are now included. From there, dryness stretches south through Cooper, Howard, Pettis, and Saline counties into Central Missouri, where dryness along the Missouri River covers all of the Saint Louis metro, north to Clarksville and south into Washington County.
Abnormal dryness follows Route 63 into Phelps County, where it then stretches southeast through Dent into Reynolds and Shannon counties, then embraces the Arkansas state line from Ripley all the way to southern Barry and Stone counties. Pemiscot and eastern Dunklin counties in the Bootheel also remain in pre-drought conditions.
Despite the jump in abnormally dry conditions, moderate drought remains contained to the patch over the corners of four south-central Missouri counties.
Most neighboring states are experiencing increased dryness. 90 percent of Arkansas is in some stage of abnormal dryness, including the southern 40 percent of the state in moderate or severe drought. Over three-fifths of Oklahoma and the western fifth of Kansas is in some stage of drought, while close to 70 percent of Nebraska is considered dry. Just over half of Iowa has returned to some stage of dryness, while several western Illinois counties are now in abnormal dryness. Western Tennessee is also witnessing dryness, with a patch of moderate drought appearing north of Memphis last week. Their dry patch has crept into Kentucky in the past week.