Gov. Jay Nixon today declared a state of emergency in Missouri because of the impact that the prolonged severe heat and drought are having on both agriculture and public health. Executive Order 12-07, signed by the Governor this afternoon, activates the State Emergency Operations Plan, which authorizes state agencies to assist local jurisdictions with their emergency response.
"The high temperatures and dry conditions across the state are taking their toll on Missourians," Gov. Nixon said. "Our farmers are suffering tremendous losses in crops and livestock, and we're seeing more heat-related deaths and emergency room visits, particularly among seniors. In addition, we continue to see a high risk of fire from tinderbox conditions, and we are monitoring how the drought is affecting public water supplies and distribution.
"We're going to continue to work with public health officials, public safety officials and agricultural leaders to alleviate the impact of the heat and drought, but the long-range forecast shows our preparation and response will likely be needed for the foreseeable future," Gov. Nixon said.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has confirmed 25 heat-related deaths in the state, including 20 in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The department also has received hospital reports of 829 heat-related emergency department visits from May 1 through July 22.
On June 29, Gov. Nixon issued an executive order activating the Missouri State Operations Center in response to the severe heat, dry conditions and fire risks. Last Friday (July 20), he called on the State Soil and Water Districts Commission to take emergency action allowing livestock producers to conduct flash grazing, haying and watering on livestock exclusion areas currently under contract.