After nearly six months in extreme drought, parts of three West Central Missouri counties are finally upgraded to severe drought, but not before two areas outside Jefferson City fell into the extreme category. The weekly update from the US Drought Monitor showed an end to extreme drought conditions in western Benton, southeastern Henry, and northeastern St Clair counties, after this part of the state entered the third stage of drought conditions in mid-June. It’s part of several upgrades noted in Western Missouri, as Clay, Ray, northwestern Bates, western Cass, and northern Lafayette counties improved to abnormally dry condition.
However, drought conditions worsened elsewhere in Missouri. Northernmost Miller County, along with southwestern Cole and southern Moniteau counties, entered extreme drought, as did the southern tip of Gasconade, northernmost Phelps, and northwestern Crawford counties. More of southern Osage and northern Maries counties slipped into severe drought. Moderate drought made its way further south, entering Greene, Webster and southern Shannon counties, while also entering Pike and northern Lincoln counties north of St Charles. Southeast Missouri’s Butler, Mississippi, New Madrid, Scott, Stoddard, Wayne, and northern Dunklin counties are now abnormally dry. Just one area of improvement was noted in eastern Missouri, with the area surrounding the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers north of St Louis upgraded from moderate drought to abnormal dryness.
As of Tuesday morning, 68.3 percent of Missouri is in some stage of drought, up 1.8 points from last week. Just under one percent of Missouri is in extreme drought, while another 23.7 percent of the state is in severe drought. Only 8.1 percent of the state is not experiencing drought or abnormal dryness.