Drought's Grip on Oklahoma Loosens This Week with Reductions Across the BoardThu, 05 Sep 2019 11:16:26 CDT
Drought managed to gain a toehold across western and central Oklahoma during a hot, dry first half of August; which made its further spread and intensification almost inevitable. Meanwhile, eastern Oklahoma was being inundated by heavy rains and flooding. Then, according to State Climatologist Gary McManus, the rains spread west bringing with it severe weather and some drought relief. With a statewide average rainfall total of 5.44 inches, last month ranked as the eighth wettest August since records began in 1895.
Oklahoma's drought coverage grew from 6 percent at the end of July to nearly 24 percent by August 20, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. While the total coverage decreased to about 18 percent by month's end, the drought's intensity increased in the parched southwestern corner of the state.
At present, the latest Drought Monitor indicates a slight decrease in the amount of drought coverage in the state. Since last week, "Extreme Drought" coverage has dropped from 2.62 to 2.01 percent. "Severe Drought" was reduced from 7.94 percent to 5.19 percent. "Moderate Drought" conditions slipped more than four points from 18.47 to 14.07 percent and "Abnormally Dry" conditions this week are at just 34.11 percent, down about four points as well from last week's 38.23 percent.
The Climate Prediction Center's (CPC) September outlooks call for increased odds of above normal precipitation across the northwestern half of the state, but equal chances for above-, below-, or near-normal rainfall in the remainder of Oklahoma. Equal odds are also indicated across the entire state for temperature. CPC's September drought outlook shows drought persisting in south central Oklahoma, but some improvement is expected farther to the west. No additional development is expected.
For a closer look at this week's Drought Monitor Map, click here, or to review the latest Mesonet Ticker Report from McManus, click here.
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