Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in Missouri because of the impact that the prolonged severe heat and drought are having on both agriculture and public health.
The order authorizes state agencies to assist local jurisdictions with their emergency response.
“The high temperatures and dry conditions across the state are taking their toll on Missourians,” Nixon said in a press release. “Our farmers are suffering tremendous losses in crops and livestock, and we’re seeing more heat-related deaths and emergency room visits, particularly among seniors. In addition, we continue to see a high risk of fire from tinderbox conditions, and we are monitoring how the drought is affecting public water supplies and distribution.
“We’re going to continue to work with public health officials, public safety officials and agricultural leaders to alleviate the impact of the heat and drought, but the long-range forecast shows our preparation and response will likely be needed for the foreseeable future,” he said.
So far, 25 people in Missouri have died from the heat. That’s in addition to some 829 hospital admissions for heat-related emergencies.
On June 29, Gov. Nixon issued an executive order activating the Missouri State Operations Center in response to the severe heat, dry conditions and fire risks. July 20, he called on the State Soil and Water Districts Commission to take emergency action allowing livestock producers to conduct flash grazing, haying and watering on livestock exclusion areas currently under contract.
The emergency order remains in effect through Oct. 1.