The drought has lessened in parts of Missouri, but it hasn’t broken and is still considered severe in nearly 40 percent of the state according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor update for Missouri.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor update for Missouri.

A system that caused flooding in southeastern Missouri has eased the drought there, according to National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs, but much of Missouri didn’t get very much rainfall.

“The areas that did (get significant rain) would be areas basically just south of St. Louis down into south-central Missouri and points east, like over toward like Cape Girardeau, did get some fairly decent drought relief.”

The rain also significantly raised the level of the Mississippi River by as much as 9 feet in places, but Fuchs says much more rain is needed before the drought can really be broken.

“We’re going to need repeated events of precipitation that we really haven’t seen this winter yet, but the key will be this spring. If we get some substantial rainfall in the spring that will go a long way to helping solve the moisture deficit across central and western Missouri.”

Fuchs says the Weather Service’s outlook for precipitation into the spring is pretty ambiguous.

“For the state of Missouri, more or less equal chances of above, near average or below average precipitation for the month of February or the three-month period from February through April, which is essentially a very fancy way of saying, ‘We’re not really sure.’ Some models are showing we could see above average rainfall, some models are showing we could see below average rainfall. There’s no real clear consensus in the modeling.”