JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order declaring a “drought alert” in the state late Wednesday, enabling resources after an abnormally dry stretch of weather.

According to the National Weather Service, much of Missouri is dealing with some drought concerns heading into June.

Several counties in the St. Louis region are in a moderate drought stage with a D1 rating from NWS. That means there could be some damages to crops and pastures, along with a high risk for fires and possible water shortages.

As of Wednesday, parts of mid-Missouri are in an extreme drought stage with a D3 rating from NWS. That means many of these counties have already experienced major crop and pasture losses, and the risks for fire danger and water shortages could be a bit more heightened.

The drought alerts follow a notably dry May not just for St. Louis, but much of Missouri and the Midwest. Around 1.6 inches of rain fell in the St. Louis area last month when the usual May average is around 4.8 inches, per the National Weather Service. St. Louis is roughly four inches of rain behind its usual total up to this point in a calendar year.

There could be some rain relief coming soon in the St. Louis region. Spot storms could begin as soon as Thursday afternoon in St. Charles County and head south and east closer to St. Louis City. There’s around a 30 percent chance of precipitation for each of the next two days, though the total rainfall is expected to stay low.

Deeper into the weekend, rain chances look slimmer and the region could be approaching record-high temperatures for this time of year, two elements that create a little more uncertainty around Missouri’s drought situation.

On Wednesday, Gov. Parson signed an executive order as the first step of Missouri’s drought plan. The order activates a committee to assess drought conditions and make recommendations of action to the governor’s office.

Some solutions in the past have included a hay lottery program, opening public waters for livestock and easing hay hauling restrictions.

“With the summer months fast approaching, we want to be proactive to help mitigate the impacts of drought conditions we are experiencing,” said Gov. Parson. “Missouri farmers and ranchers often bear the brunt of the consequences of drought, and we are already starting to see early effects on crops and livestock. While we cannot control the weather, we are committed to doing everything we can to alleviate the strain drought causes for our agricultural families and protect our food supply chains.”

Missouri residents are also encouraged to submit information about local drought conditions online.