Intensification likely in latest drought outlook
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Climate Prediction Center issued its weekly drought update Thursday morning, showing worsening conditions over Missouri, specifically in western Missouri.
Extreme drought conditions persist over western and northwestern Missouri, even with several inches of rainfall earlier this week north of I-70. Chariton, Howard, Macon and Randolph counties have remained in an extreme drought status since the July 17th update.
Boone County remains under a severe drought status. Western Boone County, specifically near Rocheport, has recently observed extreme drought conditions. Rainfall observed at the Columbia Regional Airport since April has averaged only 44 percent to normal and temps since May are averaging 6.0 degrees above normal.
Jefferson City and areas south to the Lake of the Ozarks have remained relatively similar to the observations seen in Columbia, but have received less rainfall than Columbia in recent weeks, which may lead to further intensification of moderately dry conditions. Areas along the Osage River and near the Gasconade River confluence remain abnormally dry due to recent heavy rains east of the state capitol.
While parts of central Missouri received rainfall over the past two weeks, south-western Missouri has remain relatively hot and dry.
The newest area to be included in extreme drought is around Joplin, where significant impact to livestock and crops has been reported due to the excessively dry conditions. Joplin temperatures have averaged +3.76 degrees above normal from May-July.
Possibly the most alarming impacts have been observed in Hamilton, Missouri (Caldwell County), where a local reservoir that serves the nearby area is now reading a water level of 70 inches below the spillway and 26 inches above the reservoir outflow pipe. If trends continue, expected water levels of the reservoir would fall below the pipe within three months, leading to potential water restrictions to the nearby area.
Moderate to severe drought has expanded 15 percent in Missouri over the last week and impacts to agriculture and hydrology may last anywhere from 6-12 months.
Anyone observing or experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions should report it to the National Drought Mitigation Center. Submit Drought Reports online or call 402-472-6707.