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Agricultural News

Mesonet Report: No Good News on the Drought Front for Oklahoma

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 11:22:23 CST

Mesonet Report:  No Good News on the Drought Front for Oklahoma

The drought picture didn't change over the last week, with no further intensification, according to Associate State Climatologist Gary McManus. Over 90 percent of the state remained in the extreme to exceptional categories with virtually 100 percent in the severe to exceptional category.

There appears to be no chance for improvements any time soon since it didn't rain anywhere except in the far northeast, an area that has already seen some recent minor improvements.

It has now been as many as 25 days since most of the state saw at least a tenth of an inch of rain in a single day. In southwestern and northwestern areas, it's been as many as 70 days.

Since October 1 of this year, the state has seen a statewide average of 1.72", nearly 5" below normal to rank as the fourth driest such period (Oct. 1-Dec. 6) since 1921. The deficits by area range from 2.05" in the Panhandle (23% of normal) to 8.62 inches in the southeast (20%) of normal. West central Oklahoma has seen 10% of normal rainfall with an area average of 0.46", 4.15" below normal.

Even worse is the rainfall since May 1 of this year since it encapsulates both our primary rainy season (especially May through mid-June) and then our secondary rainy season of September through early November.   Since May 1, the statewide average rainfall total is 12.43", nearly 13" below normal (49% of normal) and the driest such period since 1921 and the second driest since 1895.

As for the future, there is an arctic front coming through this weekend, but it is not expected to have much precipitation associated with it. Drought is expected to persist or intensify through the end of February according to the newest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook from the NWS' Climate Prediction Center.

The longer-term wet signal faded away with El Nino, which began to develop in the equatorial Pacific Ocean waters before mysteriously dissipating to neutral conditions.

It looks likely at this time that Oklahoma will remain in significant drought conditions through the winter as we begin to emerge into spring. The type of winter relief we had last year is just not showing up, and is, frankly, already a couple of months behind.

Without close-to-normal spring rainfall, Oklahoma’s chances of a full-fledged three-year drought cycle increase dramatically.



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