Scott Dewald, Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association executive vice president, said he's heard the association between rain and the beginning of the Oklahoma State Fair “in a joking way” for years.
That includes this year.
“It's like the old adage ‘It's going to rain, I just washed my car.' It's similar at fair time,” Dewald said. “In fact, someone in our office said earlier this week, ‘The fair starts Thursday, so it's going to rain.'”
And it did. Thursday marked the opening of the state fair, and Oklahoma City officially received more than a half-inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office.
So why does it seem rain and the Oklahoma State Fair are often linked in conversations?
Gary McManus, of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said some parts of the year in Oklahoma are naturally rainier than others. The state's rainy season occurs from April to mid-June.
“There is a secondary, but less active, rainy season in the fall, as well,” McManus said.
And for record-keeping purposes, climatologists and meteorologists consider fall as Sept. 1 through the end of November.
“So when talking about events such as the state fair in September, we're talking, climatologically speaking of course, about an increased chance of rain, since they do fall in our rainy seasons,” he said.
McManus looked at precipitation statistics from all Sept. 13ths from 1891 to 2012.
Although the Oklahoma State Fair hasn't been around that entire time period, Sept. 13 is a good general target date.
Of those 122 September 13ths, the official Oklahoma City rainfall total was at least one-tenth of an inch on 27 of those days, or 22 percent of the time.
McManus said if you consider the days surrounding the 13th have somewhat similar statistics, you're going to have rain from time to time during the state fair.
A closer look shows that, on the opening days of the state fair from 2000 to Thursday, there was measurable precipitation — more than a hundredth of an inch — on six of those 13 days. The most rainfall on any of those days was 1.46 inches in 2009.
In 2002, 1.45 inches fell on the second day of the state fair, and in 2003 it didn't rain on opening day, but there was precipitation the day before and the day after the opener.
If there were a definite connection between rainfall and any day of the state fair, Dewald and the cattle producers he represents “would push for monthly state fairs.”
Oklahoma experienced a devastating drought last year.
And although portions of Oklahoma have been in a continuous drought, some areas received a little relief in the latter part of 2011 and into 2012.
Three months ago, 1.7 percent of the state was considered to be experiencing extreme to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report.
However, the report released Thursday morning showed 94.68 percent in extreme to exceptional drought.
“Any rain is very welcomed,” Dewald said.