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Exceptional drought returns to an area of far southwest Oklahoma, said Gary McManus, Oklahoma Climatological Survey

by Bryan Painter Published: August 22, 2013

From Gary McManus, Oklahoma Climatological Survey:

Well, another week and another change in the U.S. Drought Monitor map. This might be the last improvements on the map we see unless we get more rain sometime soon, Regardless, we did see an increase in the amount of the state where no drought or dry conditions are prevalent, 54% compared to last weeks’ 49%.

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20130822/ok_dm.png

The biggest changes occurred in western Oklahoma where the D0 was erased up in north central Oklahoma and the Extreme D3 drought area in Roger Mills and Beckham counties were dropped to Severe D2 drought. But, we also saw the re-emergence of Exceptional D4 drought in the far southwest, contained almost completely by Tillman County. If you look at the rains we’ve had since mid-July, that remains an area that has gone without the rather garish totals to the north and east.

Check out the southeast as well. That area is becoming primed for drought intensification, where less than 3 inches has fallen since the summer rains began back in early July.

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20130822/jul9-aug22-totals.pnghttp://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20130822/jul9-aug22-departures.pnghttp://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20130822/jul9-aug22-pct.png

So while overall the state has had an average of 8.11 inches since July 9, more than 4 inches above normal (4th wettest July 9-August 22 since 1921), those areas down south have seen below normal rainfall. The prospects for the coming weeks are not looking great so far, but as we know here in Oklahoma, that can change in a hurry!

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20130822/7day-rain.gifhttp://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20130822/aug29-sep4-precip.gif

As for the temperatures we’re getting back into now, no cause for alarm. We’re merely back into a normal Oklahoma August. The ground is just a bit squishier than normal, and things are much greener than usual.

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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