'Weather Whisperer' Says El Nino Offers Temporary Drought ReliefFri, 25 Jul 2014 22:50:06 CDT
Drought conditions in Oklahoma are showing some improvement in recent months, and it appears that El Nino is the key to more moisture entering the state the middle part of this year. Speaking at the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association (OCA) annual convention in Midwest City, Evelyn Browning Garriss, the "Weather Whisperer" says the change in weather is being caused by El Nino, which causes the tropical Pacific Ocean to warm up.Garriss sat down with Leslie Smith of the Radio Oklahoma Network to talk about the weather outlook. She says the warming trend in the Pacific changes weather conditions around the world.
"For us in Oklahoma, it causes more rainfall, Browning Garriss said. "Particularly it causes spring and early summer rain and we saw some of that and it causes normal rainfall in winter time."
Whether this wetter than normal pattern will continue and just how much drought recovery will take place is hard to predict. Garriss says the El Nino weather pattern will continue to offer relief into 2015.
"Typically El Nino gives you about a two year break,"Browning Garriss said. "It gives you one year with some good weather and sets you up so you have, dare I say the word, surplus water to start the next year."
The wet cycle provides good snow cover, rainfall providing a good start for pasturelands and a good start to the crop year. Browning Garriss said the full drying effect doesn't set in until the next winter at the earliest.
Currently Oklahoma is the midst of two longer term weather cycles in the Atlantic and Pacific that cause drying conditions. Browning Garriss said Oklahoma will continue to see drier than normal conditions for the next 15 to 20 years with occasional breaks from El Nino weather patterns. In staying in this drier pattern, she recommends everyone embrace the lessons learned during the drought of the 1950's.
"What people did was they just positioned themselves so when that rain came they stored it, they used it wisely," Browning Garriss said. "They didn't assume it was going to fall, they prepared and planned accordingly."
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