23 counties placed under drought alert

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

From staff, wire reports

Cape Girardeau County is one of several in Southeast Missouri placed under a drought alert by Gov. Matt Blunt Tuesday.

The alert covers 23 Missouri counties in the southeast, south-central and northeast parts of the state. The counties are Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Howell, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Pemiscot, Perry, Pike, Ralls, Reynolds, Ripley, Ste. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Scott, Shannon, Stoddard and Wayne.

With the alert, the governor has activated Missouri's Drought Assessment Committee, which assesses drought conditions and recommends actions to ease the problem. An alert is declared when rainfall is below normal for several months, plants begin to show stress, stream levels drop and pond levels begin to fall noticeably.

Blunt said he asked the committee to look for ways to assist farmers and communities.

"Farmers are spending significant amounts to irrigate their fields, and pasture conditions continue to deteriorate," Blunt said. "Water supplies in isolated areas are beginning to strain under increased summer use."

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