While recent scattered showers may have forced a few lawn mowers back into action and helped prevent too much activity for the local fire department during the fireworks season surrounding Independence Day, drought conditions continue to envelop all of Scotland County.
The National Weather Service’s most recent drought information statement declared Severe drought remains across extreme southeast Iowa and northeast Missouri, with abnormally dry to moderate drought extending through northeast Missouri, southeast Iowa, and adjacent parts of west-central Illinois.
NWS officials note that persistent dryness for the past year remains problematic as the growing season continues. While topsoil moisture supplies are marginally adequate as some rain has fallen, the lengthy period of dryness is reflected by low subsoil moisture supplies. This is a significant concern moving through summer.
The NWS reported that impacts have been noted to pasture growth and hay production for livestock, with some crops beginning to be stressed as the growing season is ongoing.
The most recent crop report by the Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service (MASS) reported as of July 1st, hay and stock water supplies were rated at 30% very short and 44% short across Missouri, with just 26% of the state reporting adequate supplies for livestock.
Despite the drought, the MASS report revealed just 14% of the state’s corn crop as poor or very poor in condition, with 15% of the state’s soybeans in similar condition.
The NWS also noted that pond levels are low and some trucking of water for livestock has been reported with a few Missouri communities even invoking water restrictions.
That has not been the case thus far in Scotland County, where no water restrictions have been implemented despite the fact that Lake Show-Me, the main drinking water source, has been reported approximately 24 inches below its normal surface area.
That has partially been impacted by emergency supplies shared with the Consolidated Public Water Supply District #1. Memphis Utilities Superintendent Stacy Alexander indicated the city had provided roughly 1.6 million gallons of water to the rural district over a roughly 40-day period that recently came to a close when CPWSD#1 upgrades fully came on line for the rural water district.
A July 3rd United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report stated that a few inches of rain wiped out the abnormally dry area in central Iowa, and a re-assessment of earlier rains led to the removal of D0 conditions from central Indiana as well.
In contrast, a relatively dry week kept abnormally dry conditions unchanged in east-central Michigan, scattered areas across northern and western Minnesota, and northeastern Illinois.
Areas of drought cover southern Iowa and both the northern and southwestern parts of Missouri. Abnormally dry conditions (D0) covered much of the rest of the Show-Me State, but moderate to heavy rains eliminated a large area of D0 in southeastern Missouri.
Despite areas of significant rainfall in some other parts of Missouri, no marked changes in dryness or drought were noted, though a small area in north-central Missouri slipped into D2 (extreme drought) conditions.
D2 or Severe Drought status means crop and pasture loss is likely, water shortages are common and water restrictions may be necessary.
As of July 3rd, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) reported that 6.9% of the United States, including parts of Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Utah, Kansas, California and Oregon, were suffering severe drought conditions.
According to the USDA, 17.24% of the Show-Me State was at D2 status, all north of the Missouri River, including the entirety of Scotland and Schuyler counties as well as parts of Knox and Cark counties.
Spotty rains during June brought some parts of Scotland County back to a normal precipitation level for the month while other parts of the county were an inch or two short of the monthly norm. That was on top of a dry May that was 2-4 inches behind normal precipitation levels, following up a dry April that saw the region receive two to three inches less precipitation than normal.
The NWS reported the lack of precipitation is apparent in some parts of the drought area as far back as two years ago. But this winter and spring have been especially dry. In Fairfield, Iowa for example, 2017 precipitation was about 8 inches below normal. And only about 12.5 inches has fallen thus far in 2018.