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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

Windshield wipers were active Tuesday as Gary McManus of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey left Oklahoma City en route to make a presentation in Woodward regarding the drought.

McManus has made about 30 talks already this year to civic, agricultural and other groups about the drought.

“I am very encouraged by this rain,” he said. “I really think we might be seeing at least a little bit of relief that will last awhile.”

McManus said a few more rains like this, with not much time in between, could go a long way toward drought relief for central Oklahoma.

Central Oklahoma's rainfall for the last 365 days through Monday was 13.58 inches below the normal for that time period.

“We need these types of rains every couple of weeks or so,” McManus said. “We need just slow rains to replenish subsoil moisture.”

Michael Scotten with the National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office, said a combination of things came together for these rains. He said moisture was going up and over a cold front.

“That in combination with the actual slow moving low pressure system is bringing quite a bit of Gulf moisture northward and bringing beneficial rain amounts to Oklahoma,” Scotten said.

February and

March differed

Winter roared back into Oklahoma during February, providing significant drought relief to much of the state while dumping several inches of snow in the northwest, McManus said.

According to preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet, the statewide average precipitation total for February was 3.03 inches, 1.27 inches above normal.

March ended drier than normal.

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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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