MARTHA — A month and a half ago, Matt Muller spent a lot of time looking at his bone-dry fields and feeling glum.
But as he stood at the end of a row of green, healthy-looking cotton plants Tuesday afternoon, Muller looked like the happiest man in Jackson County.
“We think it looks like the Garden of Eden,” Muller said.
Muller grows cotton, grain sorghum and mung beans on his farm near Martha, about 8 miles north of Altus, in an area that has been in persistent drought since 2010. Muller hasn’t had water to irrigate his fields for years, and in early May, the ground was so dry that he wondered whether planting sorghum and beans was even worth the trouble.
But when rain began to fall again in mid-May, Muller began planting. His cotton crop is about two weeks behind where he’d like it to be and he still doesn’t have water for irrigation, but the rain has Muller feeling more optimistic.
“I just have a lot more hope,” he said.
After several years of crippling drought, southwest Oklahoma has seen a wetter-than-average spring.
Southwest Oklahoma received an average of 8.18 inches of rain between May 21 and Thursday, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet weather network.
That total is 2.32 inches above normal, making it the 17th-wettest period for that part of the state since 1921.
Statewide, Oklahoma’s rainfall totals since May 21 have been about 1.6 inches above normal, making it the 20th wettest period since 1921, records show.
Drought conditions have steadily retreated from the state as several rounds of thunderstorms passed through the southern Plains, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
About 30 percent of the state was still in extreme or exceptional drought last week, according to last week’s drought monitor report.
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