Storms Dump Much-Needed Rain on Drought-Stricken Missouri
Storms brought much-needed rain to drought-ravaged Missouri on Friday, but it was too much too quickly in some cases.
Drought conditions are so bad in parts of northern and southwestern Missouri that they are severely affecting corn farmers and cattle ranchers. Recent heavy rain is soaking parched pastures, but also bringing new concerns.
The National Weather Service in St. Louis said thunderstorms Thursday night and Friday morning in northeastern Missouri dumped up to 5 inches of rain on communities such as Edina, Knox City, La Belle and Lewistown. Flash flood warnings were issued and drivers were urged to avoid trying to navigate flooded roadways.
The Missouri Department of Transportation said Missouri Route 16 was closed in Lewis County on Friday due to flooding. Heavy rain in the St. Louis area slowed morning rush hour traffic.
The recent rain has helped ease the state’s drought conditions a bit. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest map , which was posted Thursday, showed that 88.3 percent of Missouri was experiencing some degree of drought, which was down from 97.8 percent last week. It showed that 17.2 percent was under extreme or severe drought, compared to 25.5 percent a week ago.
The recent rain may have come too late to help some farmers. The latest crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that 44 percent of Missouri’s corn crop was in poor or very poor condition.
Hay is in even worse shape. The USDA report said 72 percent of Missouri pastures were in poor or very poor condition.
The drought is sapping the drinking water supply in the northwestern Missouri town of Cameron. Gov. Mike Parson announced Friday that the state would provide $77,380 in grants to assist the Cameron area. The city will pick up the remainder of the $485,000 project cost.
Plans call for construction of a 3-mile emergency pipe to pump water from a lake into the reservoir that serves as Cameron’s main drinking water source.