Drought Holding Steady Across Much of OklahomaThu, 23 Oct 2014 13:03:48 CDT
Drought continues to hold strong across Oklahoma. The latest US Drought Monitor reports shows drought was lessening across the eastern third of Oklahoma, while remaining constant for western Oklahoma and the panhandle. After making a large improvement last week, drought levels remain unchanged this week.
As of Tuesday the US Drought Monitor report had 4.84 percent of the state 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 13.35 was abnormally dry (D0). That leaves 22.15 percent of the state in eastern Oklahoma not receiving a drought designation.
The drought looks to be worse this fall than a year ago with about 78 percent of the state in drought. Last year at this time about 57 percent of the state was receiving a drought designation. The latest report shows 1.9 million Oklahomans are being impacted by the drought.
Currently the drought is the most intense across the southwest corner of the state. Oklahoma State Climatologist Gary McManus reports the southwest has had their 15th driest period from August 1 - October 23 since at least 1921, down over four inches.
McManus said the impact of longterm deficit are still dominating the state with diminished soil moisture at lower depths to low reservoir levels across western Oklahoma. At Lake Tom Steed, the main drinking water supply for Altus was approaching 21 percent. The water levels at Canton are at 20 percent of normal.
The 8-14 weather outlook from the Climate Prediction Center shows temperatures to be above average with precipitation changes above 30 percent. McManus said there are chances for at least an inch of precipitation to accumulate the next 15 days. Eastern Oklahoma has a 40 - 50 percent chance for precipitation with being less likely for the western part of the state.
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