Disaster due to drought

With rain and snowstorms pummeling areas of Missouri and hitting Franklin County,  the drought may be the furthest thing from people’s minds.

Franklin County, however, is still not out of the woods in terms of the drought, said Matt Herring, agronomy/natural resources specialist with the University of Missouri Extension Center.

Randy Miles, associate professor of soil science at University of Missouri School of Natural Resources, has indicated that it may take up to two years to recover from the effects of the drought.

“That’s very possible,” Herring said.

Franklin County remains in abnormally dry conditions or moderate drought, according to the  U.S. Drought Monitor.

The monitor data is released by the National Climatic Data Center and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Rainfall varies widely throughout the county. So far this year, based on The Missourian’s recorded data, Downtown Washington has received 6.49 inches of precipitation. Union has received 6.66 inches, according to data provided by Herring.

St. Clair does not have an official measuring station.

The data, collected at the FSA office in Union, is posted on ggweather.com and runs through Feb. 26.

“Rainfall has been below normal this winter, which just adds to or compounds what we had over the summer,” said Herring, adding that rain from Hurricane Isaac helped some areas.

“The No. 1 factor (in recovering from the drought) is rainfall or some kind of precipitation,” Herring said. “It takes quite a bit of rainfall to refill the soil profile.”

As important as the actual precipitation, is the rainfall pattern, Herring said.

With intensive, heavy rainfall, there is a lot of runoff, whereas slow, gentle rainfalls allow more time for the rain to move into the soil.

Drought Discussion

A meeting about the drought is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, in Room 3 of the lower level of the memorial auditorium, Union.

Pat Guinan, University of Missouri climatologist, will discuss the drought and what to expect in 2013.

Brent Myers, University of Missouri grain specialist, also will discuss the effect of drought, as well as managing soil to minimize the effect of drought.

The meeting is open to the public and free to attend.

For more information, people may call the Franklin County Extension Center, 636-583-5141.