The amount of precipitation in a particular area varies from year to year, but over a period of years the average amount is fairly constant. A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems and other issues. When little or no rain falls, soils can dry out, plants can die and livestock can suffer. When dry weather persists, stream and river flows can decline, water levels in lakes and reservoirs can fall and water in wells and aquifers can decline. Drought can have a serious impact on health, agriculture, economies, energy and the environment.
Droughts can develop quickly or gradually over several weeks, months or even years, and worsened with extreme heat or wind. A drought can end just as quickly or gradually as it began, but more commonly persist for months. A single rainstorm may provide temporary relief, but its impact is short term. Thunderstorms often produce large amounts of rain in a very short time, causing the rain to run off into streams rather than soak into the ground. Several soaking rains may be required to recharge groundwater and break a drought.
Reporting Drought Conditions
Reports and photographs are essential tools used to assess drought conditions. The department encourages the public to submit information and photographs about conditions in their area in order to help local, state and national decision-makers assess drought conditions and impacts in Missouri. If you would like to submit drought-related conditions and impacts for your area, please fill out the survey form at Condition Monitoring Observer Reports (CMOR)*.
*The survey is a nationwide service developed by the National Drought Mitigation Center, based at the University of Nebraska, in partnership with the National Integrated Drought Information System and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.