Much of Missouri entering spring drought-free

Worries about a repeat of last year’s drought have eased since a change in weather in the past month. Good rains have put a dent in the drought, according to Pat Guinan, extension climatologist at the University of Missouri.

“Some locations since the end of January have seen anywhere from eight to more the ten inches of precipitation, and that’s a lot of precip, considering that the winter season is the dry season is for the most part for Missouri ,” said Guinan Tuesday. “We’ve picked up easily twice more than what typically falls during that same time frame.”

February brought a lot of surface-water recovery, said Guinan. While snowstorms caused headaches for motorists, road crews and people affected by power outages, the cloud had a silver lining, bringing much-needed water. The exception is Northwest Missouri.

“They have not been the recipients of all these precipitation events, and so as you go northwestward through the state, especially up in the northwest corner, precipitation totals have been much lighter,” said Guinan, “and so we still have a hydrological drought condition impacting that part of the state.” 

Guinan says that outside Missouri there are still drought problems, especially to the west. It’s still dry across the Plains from South Dakota to Texas.

Looking ahead, it appears that March will be a bit wetter and cooler than normal, Guinan said. The snow, rain, low temperatures and lack of evaporation, said Guinan, are signs that parts of Missouri are heading into the spring drought-free.

AUDIO: Pat Guinan interviewed by Bob Priddy (8 min. MP3)


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