The state drought assessment committee is to meet later this week and assess just how dry parts of Missouri have become. The dryest region is southeast Missouri. Additional counties being watched are in an area south and east of a line stretching from Springfield through the northeast corner of Missouri. More than twenty counties have been put on an “alert” list, a step away from serious enough to merit a request for a federal drought declaration. The committee’s staff director, Mike Wells, says the committee will look at several things in deciding what needs to be done next. Wells says 50 counties are suffering, but they had not reached the “alert” level when Governor Blunt called last week for a meeting of the assessment committee.