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Oklahoma welcomes rain, but more is needed to ease drought

March ended drier than normal in Oklahoma. Experts say springtime is crucial for drought relief.
by Bryan Painter Modified: April 2, 2013 at 8:48 pm •  Published: April 2, 2013

The state did see a round of springtime weather finally last weekend, complete with drifts of hail in areas and some confirmed tornado activity.

With the storms at the end of March, the statewide average rainfall total climbed to 1.5 inches for the month, which fell about 1.6 inches below normal, McManus said.

March's cooler-than-normal weather kept drought from spreading or intensifying, although drought impacts continued to be felt statewide, McManus said.

The entire state has remained in at least moderate drought since July 2012, and for many areas, the drought can be traced to October 2010.

Varying situations

“The spring is a race to the summer basically between what's being used by plants and what's being used in the atmosphere and then what's falling from the sky,” McManus said. “If you're in a shortage as you go into the summer, there's a good chance that shortage will magnify to a large degree.”

So precipitation during spring is crucial for drought relief.

Going into Tuesday, Kenton, in the far western Panhandle, had recorded 108 consecutive days without receiving at least a tenth of an inch of rain on any day.

“The farther north, west or even south you go, the worse things get,” McManus said. “Southwestern Oklahoma has been hugely hit over the last 2 ½ years. Along with the Oklahoma Panhandle and the far northwest, those folks haven't seen the couple of bouts of relief that other parts of the state have seen throughout this entire drought.

“It's always important to remember it might be vastly improving in your area, but there are probably fellow Oklahomans still hurting from the drought.”

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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