Missourians asked to submit information about drought conditions

6 months 4 days 5 hours ago Friday, July 13 2018 Jul 13, 2018 Friday, July 13, 2018 3:29:00 AM CDT July 13, 2018 in News
By: Emma Claybrook, KOMU 8 Reporter
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BOONE COUNTY- Much of Mid-Missouri is in a drought and now the University of Missouri Extension is reaching out to the public for help. 

Members of the community are encouraged to take photos of their property and send them to the Missouri Extension Drought Impact Reporter.

These photos are then shared with the national agency that collects data and monitors drought conditions. 

"What we like to see are impact pictures," Jennifer Hoggatt with the Missouri Water Resources Center said. "So the most impactful pictures that we would look for right now are things such as dry ponds or ponds with lower water levels."

Hoggatt recommends sending in comparison pictures of ponds pre-drought and post-drought.

"If you have that pond in normal time and you could show us a photograph of that pond now showing that its water level has dropped quite a bit, that's impactful," Hoggatt said.

High temperatures and little rainfall is causing the drought.

This week, the National Weather Service designated northern Missouri as experiencing extreme drought conditions.

Extreme drought is just one level below the worst drought intensity, exceptional drought. 

"What we're looking for right now in Northern Missouri is we have some reservoirs that are becoming low. This does affect some public drinking water supplies," Hoggatt said.

The drought also affects livestock producers who need to grow food and find watering sources for their cattle. 

University Extension climatologist, Pat Gunian, said the public's input will help when it comes to gauging the severity of the drought in Missouri. It will also help streamline reports at the local and state levels. 

“I encourage your participation,” Guinan said. “Nobody knows a drought and its impacts better than a person living in it does. Your local input and expertise is valued and will provide additional information for the author to consider when assessing Missouri drought conditions and categories.”

According to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, drought will remain in Missouri for the month of July.

Conditions are not expected to improve. The NWS said they are actually expected to get worse throughout the entire state of Missouri, aside from the southeast portion of the state.  

The United States Drought Monitor said 68.75 percent of Missouri is in a drought. 

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has been preparing for possible drought conditions since last year. 

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, as of Thursday, Boone and Howard counties are in a severe drought.

The attached map shows parts of Audrain, Cooper, Moniteau and Randolph counties are also in a severe drought. Northern Randolph County is in an extreme drought. 

On Friday, the Climate and Weather Committee, which consists of the Missouri Departments of Agriculture and Conservation and the State Climatologist, will meet to talk about the change in the drought map and what it means for Missouri.

"When we see a reflection of extreme drought along with local impact reports we know that it's time to talk to people and see what kind of assistance we can offer to ask further questions and be prepared to bring other resources to the table," said Jennifer Hoggatt with the Missouri Water Resources Center. 

People can send photos of drought conditions in their area here.

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