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Agricultural News

Finally, A Positive Drought Forecast, Gary McManus Says

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 12:50:46 CDT

Finally, A Positive Drought Forecast, Gary McManus Says
Oklahoma has been faced with a "drought to persist or intensify" forecast from the Climate Prediction Center each few weeks since last summer, or at least it seems that way, that the latest forecast brings much better news, at least in the long run, says Associate State Climatologist Gary McManus.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report is basically the same as last week, save for a bit more relief showing up in northwestern Oklahoma. Portions of Woodward County and the surrounding area went from Extreme (D3) drought to Severe (D2) drought on word of an improved soil moisture profile.

With the spring rainy season just around the corner, the latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook for the current period through the end of June has good news for the northeastern half of Oklahoma. Far northeastern Oklahoma is entrenched in the "drought likely to improve" area, while to the southeast, they get the "drought ongoing, some improvement" label.

Note that this outlook, pictured a the bottom of this story, depicts what the CPC forecaster believes the Drought Monitor will look like at the end of June. The bad news, of course, is that they see the drought persisting or intensifying across the Panhandle, southwestern and west central Oklahoma. Their reasoning is pretty simple: combine the rain at the end of this week and no clear dry signal for the April-June period and you should see some drought impacts ease just a bit.

For temperatures, the March chill is expected to vanish during April with warmer weather on tap. Farther out into May and June, the warm weather forecast is based mostly on soil moisture deficits. Soil moisture deficits and the warm season usually combine to provide warmer than normal temperatures, since the sun's energy would be used to heat the ground rather than evaporate soil moisture. The worrisome aspect of the temperature forecast, McManus says, is that it would also enhance drought conditions.

As for the storm system over the next several days, it does appear to have fizzled just a bit for most of the state. But, as usual, it's better than nothing since March has turned dry.


Finally, A Positive Drought Forecast, Gary McManus Says


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