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Gary McMcManus, Oklahoma Climatological Survey provides drought update; National Weather Service, Norman's Thursday forecast

by Bryan Painter Published: September 19, 2013

By Gary McManus, Oklahoma Climatological Survey:

OK,  here we go again … talking about a new U.S. Drought Monitor map that will probably be out of date already by tomorrow. But, that’s how it goes in the weather business. Mother Nature works on her own schedule. So let’s take a look at that map. (PLEASE SEE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR MAP BELOW)

Obviously, with about a half a year’s worth of rain falling in Cimarron County, they were going to see improvements. Their D1-Moderate drought rating covering part of the county has not been seen out that way since the June 26, 2012, map.

The folks at the Cimarron County Conservation District even sent us some pics of the Beaver River with running water in it from out west of Boise City … a rare sight indeed! While it’s difficult to pinpoint, locals say it ran a little bit in July of this year, a little bit in 2010, and then none since 1976.

We also saw some D0-Abnormally Dry yellowness come back to west central Oklahoma, where 2-3 inches of rain fell. Then there were the 3-4 inch amounts up in Osage County that earned them a white color (no dry designation at all). That’s all the good news on this map. Now for the bad news … thanks to continued lack of rain, we saw D3-Extreme drought enter back into southeastern Oklahoma in Choctaw County.

In fact, it’s been as many as 54 days since that area has seen at least a quarter-inch of rain in a single day.

Kenton in the far western Panhandle has seen 9.1 inches of rain, while Hugo in the southeast has seen 4 tenths. But all of southern Oklahoma is down from 2-6 inches, as well as up into the northeast. The Panhandle has seen it’s 12th wettest Aug. 1-Sept. 19 since 1921 with an average total of 5.74 inches, 2.05 inches above normal. Meanwhile, southeastern and south central Oklahoma experienced their 5th driest with averages of 1.32 inches and 2.29 inches (3.88 inches and 3.27 inches below normal), respectively.

Let’s talk good news now. A rather strong cool front will blast through the state today and tonight, bringing us a chance of rain and also cooler weather for the weekend. 

The latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook for the Sept. 19-Dec. 31 period doesn’t seem to give the drought areas in Oklahoma much hope, with drought persisting across the area through that period.

This would not be good news, of course, but the latest seasonal outlooks for precipitation and temperature from CPC don’t give reason for optimism either.

Those shows increased odds of above normal temperatures across southwestern Oklahoma, but for everywhere else, the dreaded “EC” (equal chances) applies.

Equal Chances means the forecaster saw no basis to tilt the odds towards above-, below- or near-normal values. In other words, a punt. AND ONCE AGAIN, THAT DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE FORECASTING NEAR-NORMAL CONDITIONS!

The monthly outlooks for October look warm, with no clue on the precip side.

So the news is bad, then it’s good, then possibly bad or possibly good. What more could you ask for? How about this … it’s going to rain tonight and be cooler this weekend. Live in the present, where happiness reigns!


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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