SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Amid record-breaking heat impacting the area, with Springfield on Tuesday breaking 100° to hit the hottest temperature in the area since August 2012, the Ozarks are caught in a drought.
While Springfield has seen more rainfall this year than average, since June 1 things have been abnormally dry. On July 10, Springfield was considered ‘abnormally dry’. As of Thursday, July 20, that’s been escalated to ‘moderate’.
The decrease in rainfall and increase in temperatures have led farmers in the region to change livestock diets to keep them healthy and fire departments to plan ahead in fighting grass and brush fires.
Residents in the Ozarks are feeling the heat too.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department said on Monday more than 60 patients have saught emergency treatment for heat overexposure-related symptoms, nearly double the rate that was seen in 2021. As of July 18, SGCHD is experiencing the highest rate of heat-related illnesses since 2018.
Conditions are dry enough that Missouri Governor Mike Parson has scheduled a press conference on July 21 at 2 p.m. specifically discussing the drought hitting the state and how Missouri plans on aiding farmers and ranchers impacted.
With the danger a drought brings, burn bans are also being issued throughout the region. The city of Nixa, Bolivar, Howell County and nearly every county in Arkansas have issued a burn ban as of July 20.
And meteorologists aren’t expecting it to get better just yet.
OzarksFirst meteorologist Natalie Nunn on Wednesday morning said the Ozarks can expect eight days in a row of 100-degree temperatures ahead of us. If Springfield hits 103 degrees as forecasted, it would tie a record high set in 2006.
Southwest Missouri is currently being hit harder by drought conditions than the rest of the state, holding the highest risk for wildfires due to a combination of drought, low humidity and wind conditions that could potentially aid a wildfire in spreading faster than usual.
The following cooling centers are currently available for those without shelter or air-conditioning during their normal hours of operation:
- Jordan Valley Ice Park, 635 E. Trafficway
- Chesterfield Family Center, 2511 W. Republic Rd.
- Dan Kinney Family Center, 2701 S. Blackman Rd.
- Doling Family Center, 310 E. Talmage St.
- The Salvation Army Springfield, 1707 W. Chestnut from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday
Heat warnings or advisories have been issued on Wednesday, July 20, for the counties Baxter, Barry, Carroll, Christian, Douglas, Howell, Marion, Oregon, Ozark, Shannon, Stone, Taney and Texas County, in effect until 8 p.m.