BEAVER — Driving through the Oklahoma Panhandle countryside, Stanley Barby said he sees an awful lot of one thing.
“A lot of dirt,” he said.
Barby is a cattle rancher in the Panhandle, which is in the middle of the driest spring on record. The ground has been too dry to grow much of anything but tumbleweeds, he said. In most places, the ground is entirely bare, he said.
Like most other ranchers in western Oklahoma, Barby, of Beaver, has been forced to reduce the size of his herd as the drought has progressed. That makes it difficult to stay in business, he said.
“We just need rain,” he said.
While much of the continental United States saw more rainfall than usual in April, Oklahoma was much drier than average, according to a report from the National Climatic Data Center. North-central Oklahoma saw the driest April on record, the report showed.
According to data from the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, both the Panhandle and north-central Oklahoma have seen the driest spring on record. High winds swept across dry, bare ground earlier this month causing dust storms across much of the Panhandle.
Those conditions have compounded what already was a crippling drought in the western part of the state, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor report released last week.