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Agricultural News

Possibility of Rain Punctuates Continuing Dismal Drought Picture

Thu, 13 Dec 2012 18:57:17 CST

Possibility of Rain Punctuates Continuing Dismal Drought Picture

What little change there was in this weekís U.S. Drought Monitor has been toward the bad side, with a little more of Oklahoma dropping from the moderate drought category into the severe drought column.

Associate State Climatologist Gary McManus says that more than six percent of the United States is now experiencing exceptional drought conditions. Forty-three percent is experiencing at least a severe drought and 62 percent of the contiguous states are listed in at least the moderate drought category.

Sixty-five percent of the U.S. hay acreage is now affected by drought, according to the USDA.

Seventy-three percent of the domestic cattle-raising area is experiencing drought conditions.

Finally, 65 percent of the winter wheat crop of the U.S. is in drought impacted areas. And 44 percent of that is in at least Extreme drought.

Portions of northwest Oklahoma have gone 77 days with not even a tenth of an inch of rain, and the statewide average over the last 30 days is 0.09 inches, the driest Nov. 13-Dec. 12 on record.   The last 60 days are little better, ranked as the second driest Oct. 14-Dec. 12 on record with a statewide average of 0.68 inches, 5 inches below normal.

Forecasts are calling for the chance of rain over much of the state Friday afternoon and evening, with expectations of a quarter of an inch up to half an inch possible in some areas.

The level of the state's major reservoirs continues to decline with Altus-Lugert the lowest at only 16 percent of capacity. A large number of lakes are now below 70 percent filled, with Broken Bow being added to the list this week. Eufala and Tenkiller are expected to be added in the next week or so. Lake Hugo has declined most quickly, falling from 93 percent full in may to only 37 percent full currently.

Following the possible rain event tomorrow, forecasters are calling for another extended period of above-normal temperatures and dry conditions. Fire dangers are expected to remain high.



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