The National Weather Service said Thursday that severe drought conditions have expanded across a large area of southern Missouri. Texas County continues to escape the worst category.

It said there was a significant expansion across southwest Missouri. Severe drought and greater now covers about 36 percent of the state.

Areas near Truman Lake and Lake of the Ozarks are still outside of the main drought areas but are abnormally dry.

It said very dry conditions will allow for rapid wildfire spread.

Rain potential from July 28-31 may allow for some temporary relief of the dry conditions. However, a return to hot and dry weather is expected. It said persons should avoid activities that cause open flames or sparks. Cigarettes should be properly discarded.

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