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Drought continues to retreat in Oklahoma, but dry conditions persist

by Silas Allen Modified: July 7, 2014 at 10:00 am •  Published: July 7, 2014

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.

Wet weather

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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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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At a glance

lake levels

Oklahoma City’s accessible drinking water was at 63.5 percent of its total capacity Wednesday, city utilities spokeswoman

Debbie Ragan said. City residents are under mandatory, permanent odd-even watering restrictions, meaning residents with addresses ending in an even number may water lawns on even-numbered days, while those with odd-numbered addresses may water on odd-numbered days. Here are water levels for the six reservoirs that serve Oklahoma City, based on measurements taken Wednesday:

Lake Overholser: Down 2.9 feet

Canton Lake: Down 12.24 feet

Lake Hefner: Down 3.8 feet

Lake Stanley Draper: Down 3.27 feet

Atoka Lake: Down 5.9 feet

McGee Creek Reservoir: Down .5 feet

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