Missouri’s Drought Assessment Committee is recommending that the governor extend his executive order on drought. The order is currently set to expire in December. The recommendation is for the order to extend to April 2024.

Extending the order would allow state efforts to support affected Missouri communities throughout the winter.

During a committee hearing Wednesday, Mark Fuchs, a senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis, said the drought update for October is not good.

“When I last showed the climate and weather committee folks the October outlook, we were looking at the likelihood of above normal precipitation across the entire state of Missouri. We’ve been kind of demoted to equal chances,” Fuchs said. “That’s not as good or as hopeful as we were looking.”

Livestock farmers were hit the hardest this year due to the lack of hay coming into this year, and the record low spring and summer rains.

“It’s not negative necessarily, but what it’s saying is that drought should continue,” Fuchs added. “We’re not anticipating necessarily seeing worsening drought, but that’s all on the table. If you look at the outlook for the season, October through December, basically the same for places in Missouri where it currently resides.”

Gov. Mike Parson, who was in attendance at the Wednesday meeting said that even if Missouri does get some rain, the long-lasting effects of 2023’s drought will still be there.

“We are a long way from getting out of this drought,” said Parson. “I think whether it’s soybeans, corn, pork, cattle, whatever industry you want, and realize that for us back home, we probably had 30-40% of our hay crop in June. Grass is not going to come back. We’re way too late in the season for that to come back. Winter is going to be tough.”

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows about 85% of Missouri is experiencing drought conditions, with 9% of the state in extreme drought. Over 2.6 million Missourians live in drought-affected areas. The most extreme drought conditions is a stretch from southwest Missouri, up to western Missouri, and over to the central part of the state. Parts of Schuyler, Knox, and Shelby counties in northeast Missouri are also dealing with extreme drought.

The monitor show parts of southwest, south-central and southeast Missouri are not experiencing drought whatsoever.

Missouri’s drought information and resources can be found at the Missouri Department of Natural Resource’s website.

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