Residents in parts of ten Central Missouri counties fell asleep Wednesday night to thunderstorms, but woke up this morning to find themselves in the worst stage of drought conditions. The storms didn’t arrive in time to be reflected on this week’s update to the US Drought Monitor, which now has an area from Knob Noster and Windsor east to near Chamois and Hermann, in exceptional drought. This includes a majority of Cole, Morgan and Pettis counties. It’s the first time since mid-October that part of Missouri has fallen into the fourth stage of drought, with 3.25 percent of the state in this worst possible category.
Conditions across most of the state deteriorated further, with more areas of Audrain, Callaway and Montgomery counties entering extreme drought, and severe drought appearing in Mississippi, Scott, eastern Cape Girardeau, northern Stoddard, and the northeastern corners of Butler and New Madrid counties. Severe drought also expanded back into Jasper and northern Newton counties, while moderate drought expanded in 12 counties across southern Missouri. The last holdouts in Douglas, Ozark and Taney counties ended up in abnormal dryness this week.
However, two areas of the state saw improvement. Extreme drought in Perry, St François and the lower half of Ste Genevieve counties was upgraded to severe drought. Buchanan, Holt and Nodaway counties, along with a majority of Andrew, Gentry and Worth counties, were upgraded from moderate drought to abnormal dryness. The Bootheel’s Pemiscot and Dunklin counties also returned to post-drought condition.
All but St Louis City and surrounding tracts of St Louis County are impacted by drought or abnormal dryness. 81.75 percent of Missouri are in some stage of drought, including 22.5 percent in extreme and 32.4 percent in severe drought.