Governor Parson Extends Drought Alert in Missouri

APRIL 26, 2024

 — Today, Governor Mike Parson signed Executive Order 24-05, extending Missouri’s drought alert to September 1, 2024. The action directs continued coordination of resources and combined response efforts across state government until conditions improve in drought-impacted areas. 

“Issuing a drought alert last spring was quite unprecedented, and unfortunately, the reality is we’re facing conditions worse now than a year ago,” Governor Parson said. “We welcome what rain Missouri has received in recent weeks, but this drought alert will continue so long as Missouri’s farmers and ranchers are struggling from the effects of prolonged dryness and concerns persist over commercial navigation along our riverways.” 

Lack of precipitation and below normal streamflow over the past year have kept Missouri under a drought alert continuously since May 31, 2023. Prior to that, a drought alert was active from July 2022 to March 2023.

In accordance with the Missouri Drought Mitigation and Response Plan, today’s executive order will continue the drought alert in Missouri counties with areas experiencing moderate or greater drought conditions. It will also extend to any other county that begins experiencing drought conditions consistent with the drought plan’s phases and triggers table.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Drought Assessment Committee coordinates a combined state and federal response to the drought. At its April 17 meeting, the committee recommended the drought alert’s extension after hearing expert testimony that conditions within the state haven’t significantly improved due to unseasonably warm weather and continued dry conditions. Low streamflow within Missouri and a lack of plains and mountain snowpack were also cited as points of concern warranting the committee to continue its work into summer.

To date this year, Missouri has experienced fairly typical precipitation based on historical trends. However, groundwater, streamflow, and precipitation levels are not where they need to be to lift the state out of drought conditions, given the multi-year drought Missouri and other states to our northwest whose snow pack melts feed the Missouri and Mississippi rivers have experienced. 

As of April 25, 11 Missouri counties are experiencing severe drought, 71 counties are experiencing moderate drought, and 86 counties are experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

Over the past year, the Drought Assessment Committee has overseen and helped coordinate multiple actions to mitigate the drought that will continue under this Executive Order: 

  • Bringing together subject matter experts across public and private agencies to collect information and promote collaboration to find solutions to drought-related issues.
  • Emergency water pumping and haying opportunities have been made available to farmers on public lands, including select state parks and conservation areas. 
  • Variances have been approved by the Soil and Water Districts Commission from its regular grazing school requirements, pond cleanout practices, and cover crop and livestock exclusion practices. Money has also been allocated to each Soil and Water Conservation District to help with soil and water resiliency. 
  • The Department of Natural Resources is monitoring drinking water reservoir systems to ensure drinking water capacity remains unaffected. 
  • The Department of Transportation continues to offer permits for over-width loads to allow hay to be transported.
  • The Missouri Hydrology Information Center partnership is also working to expand the soil moisture and stream gauge networks to provide a more accurate account of water resources across Missouri.
  • The Soil and Water Conservation Commission have obligated over $3.6M to landowners and cooperators in communities to help mitigate the effects of drought.
  • The University of Missouri and Missouri Department of Agriculture have both developed hay directories to help farmers and ranchers locate hay. 

Local condition reports are crucial to understanding drought impacts to provide timely and appropriate assistance. The public can submit information about local drought conditions at Condition Monitoring Observer Reports (CMOR).

In addition, a variety of helpful resources are online at The Department of Natural Resources is adding information on drought mitigation and assistance opportunities as it becomes available. The one-stop drought website features links to CMOR, current drought-related news, the current United States and Missouri drought monitor maps, the Missouri Drought Mitigation and Response Plan, and other resources, including information on previous droughts.

The Missouri Department of Conservation also warns of the increased risk for wildfires that drought conditions can cause. For more information on how best to prevent wildfires, visit MDC's wildfire prevention website:

To view Executive Order 24-05, click here.