While Drought Retreats- One Third of Oklahoma Remains in Exceptional Drought StatusFri, 18 Nov 2011 05:32:22 CST
Oklahoma finally has a small patch of yellow on the drought monitor map that shows a break in drought conditions. For the first time since late June, a significant portion of the state is completely out of drought (D1-D4) according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. Several counties in the northeast/east central part of the state centered on Adair County are now labeled as D0 or "abnormally dry."
Gary McManus is the Associate State Climatologist for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey and he reports that the D3 (extreme) drought area has also shrunk and now much of central Oklahoma is categorized in severe drought. It may seem odd to cheer for severe drought, but it's better than extreme or exceptional. Parts of the state are continue in very bad shape, however. The western half of the state is still dominated by dry conditions, as well as southeastern Oklahoma. McManus tells us that he saw many shrunken or dry stock ponds in both areas in my travels. The key to the improvement has been the abundant rainfall we've had from south central through northeastern Oklahoma since the beginning of October.
That has allowed soil moisture to recover quite well down to a depth of 2 feet from southwestern through northeastern Oklahoma. With that column of soil moistened, that was enough to ask for the reductions in the Drought Monitor.
McManus adds that a good look at that soil moisture map at 24 inches tells the story of where we are in the drought relief process. For most of the state, the top 10 inches of the soil has had a nice drink. As you get down to 24 inches, however, northwestern and southeastern Oklahoma are still significantly dry that deep.
A good soaking rainfall is promised for next week. Should that arrive as expected, we could possibly see more of the state out of that extreme/exceptional drought category and in pretty good shape for the winter. Unfortunately, as of now it like looks western Oklahoma might be on the outside looking in as far as the heavier amounts go, but every bit counts.
Click here to review the national Drought Monitor map. It continues to show that Texas has not been able to shake off drought as well as Oklahoma has to this point, with over 88% of that state in extreme drought or worse.
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