Drought Improving Across Eastern OklahomaFri, 17 Oct 2014 16:06:46 CDT
Recent fall rains are helping a portion of Oklahoma get out of drought. The latest US Drought Monitor reports the state made drastic improvement over the last week. The portion of the state no receiving a drought rating increased by over 13 percent. This week's report shows nearly 78 percent of the state remains in drought, while much of the eastern third of the state is mostly out of drought. The improvement in drought can be attributed to the heavy rains over the last week with the heaviest rains in northeastern Oklahoma with over seven inches of rainfall.
Unfortunately the majority of Oklahoma remains in drought. Tuesday's US Drought Monitor report showed 4.84 percent remains in exceptional drought (D4), 16.03 remains in extreme drought (D3), 34.57 was in severe drought (D2), 9.06 is in moderate drought (D1) and 13.43 was abnormally dry (D0).
Oklahoma State Climatologist Gary McManus said in his weekly Mesonet Ticker there are still substantial moisture deficits for both in the short term and long term. On a statewide level only a 1.18" deficit exists since August first, but much of that can be attributed to the moisture eastern Oklahoma. The same can not be said for western and central Oklahoma. Since the first of the year the state remains five inches below normal with 24.83 inches of precipitation. This makes January through October 15th the 22nd driest since at least 1921.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting above average chances for precipitation for much of Oklahoma, along with Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana and parts of Arkansas. The three month outlook also shows above average chances for precipitation for the southern United States. NOAA is predicting the drought will remain but improvement will be possible for much of Oklahoma through January 2015.
Forecasters continue to watch the possibility of an El Nino weather. A strong El Nino means drought relief, but a weak El Nino could bring a drier weather pattern for Oklahoma.
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