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Drought records set in August

Much of Missouri left high and dry.


Debbie Johnson
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9183

Photos available for this release:

Accumulated precipitation, Aug. 1-31, 2013.

Credit: Pat Guinan, Climatologist for University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agricluture Program

Description: Accumulated precipitation for August 2013

U.S. Drought Monitor image for Missouri, Sept. 3, 2013.

Credit: Pat Guinan, Climatologist for University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agricluture Program

Description: USDA drought monitor image for Missouri

Published: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013

Story source:

Pat Guinan, 573-882-5908

"Extesnion on the Go" podcast by Debbie Johnson: Drought Records Set in Missouri for the Month of August

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A late-August heat wave and little to no rain have left parts of northern Missouri in the grips of a flash drought.

“The driest conditions are across some of the north central, northeastern counties in Missouri,” said Pat Guinan, extension climatologist for University of Missouri’s Commercial Agriculture Program. “Kirksville, Brookfield, Edina, Macon all reported a trace of precipitation in August.”

"Northern Missouri, as a whole, experienced its driest August since 1984. For some northern cities, the drought was even worse.

“For Kirksville or Edina or Brookfield, it was their driest August ever,” Guinan said. “When you receive no precipitation for an entire month, it’s probably going to set a record.”

The northern Missouri drought didn’t just spring into existence in August. Guinan said June and July were dry months too. It was the cooler weather earlier this summer that softened the impact of the dry conditions. We also had an unusual number of cloudy days, which mitigated evaporative rates, he said.

“The summer is going to go down as below normal in the temperature category,” Guinan said. “That initially held the drought at bay.”

Moving from flash drought to flash flood, some south central counties in Missouri saw the wettest August on record, with some areas receiving 15-20 inches of rain, Guinan said.

Despite those record-setting rain events in southern Missouri, much of the state has gone at least three weeks without any measurable precipitation, so all of Missouri needs a drink of water, Guinan said. There was one exception.

“We hear about million-dollar rains. We saw that occur in the far northwestern corner of Missouri,” he said. “There was an event on Aug. 15 and one on Sept. 1, and that really helped the soybean crop, pastures and some of the corn crop.”

With parts of Missouri hoping for rain, there might be a change on the way. Guinan said that there are indications that we could see a better chance of precipitation starting the week of Sept. 8.

As we enter the fall, lower temperatures will surely come. As for rain, who knows?

“Because of shorter days and the migration of the sun, we’ll see a cooler trend. As for precipitation, all bets are off,” Guinan said. “Climatologically, September tends to be a wetter month than August for Missouri, but we’ve seen very dry Septembers, we’ve seen very wet Septembers. Currently the situation is somewhat dry.”