Parson extends drought alert to May

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order Friday extending the state's drought alert until May 1.

The U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that all or portions of at least 85 Missouri counties are experiencing moderate, severe, or extreme drought conditions. The order declares a drought alert in these Missouri counties and any additional county that begins experiencing drought conditions, according to a Governor's Office news release.

"Having to issue a drought alert this spring was quite unprecedented, and unfortunately, drought has persisted in Missouri," Parson said in the release. "While we've had periods of marginal improvement, farmers and ranchers are still feeling the impacts, many forced to sell livestock early and scrambling for alternative feed sources.

"Some of the most impacted areas are our waterways, slowing barge and river port activity during our busy harvest season. We're extending this alert to continue providing every resource possible to help mitigate the impacts and in hopes that we get plenty of rain throughout the coming winter and spring."

In response to Parson's initial order declaring a drought alert on May 31, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) activated the Drought Assessment Committee, a work group set up to assess drought levels and work with impact teams on response and recovery recommendations.

The initial order was set to expire Dec. 1. Extending the order will allow the Drought Assessment Committee and associated impact teams to continue supporting affected communities throughout the winter and continue to expand the state's capabilities to respond to and lessen the impacts of future droughts.

During drought, local condition reports are crucial to understanding impacts to provide timely and appropriate assistance. Citizens can submit information about local drought conditions at Condition Monitoring Observer Reports (CMOR).

A variety of helpful resources are online at DNR is adding information on drought mitigation and assistance opportunities daily as it becomes available. The one-stop drought website features a link to CMOR, current drought-related news, the current United States and Missouri drought maps, the Missouri Drought Mitigation and Response Plan, and other resources, including information on previous droughts.