A storm system brought much-needed rain Monday to parts of the state that desperately needed it and caused flood warnings in central Oklahoma.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report showed part of southwest Oklahoma in exceptional drought, the worst category. Moderate to extreme drought conditions extended across most of western Oklahoma.
Matt Muller farms in the Martha area, about 10 miles northwest of Altus in the worst drought area. Muller said it began raining about 5 p.m. Monday at his house.
By 6 p.m., Muller's rain gauge at his house had recorded 3.9 inches of rain.
“That's the heaviest rain in years at our house,” he said. “Only two words, ‘Praise God.'”
Rain totals in the area varied wildly, though. The closest Oklahoma Mesonet station to Muller is near Mangum, and it recorded .67 inches by 8 p.m. A Mesonet site near Altus measures .51 inches by that time.
After the rain slowed Monday, Muller drove to check rain gauges in some of his fields. One gauge a mile south of his house recorded 1.6 inches, but another three miles north recorded only seven-tenths of an inch.
“I'm thankful for all of it,” Muller said. “If all we got was a half-inch I would have been thrilled. This is heading the right direction.”
Some other areas battling drought also got relief recently. As of 7:30 p.m. Monday, Kenton had received 3.85 inches in the past five days, and Boise City got 3.14 inches, according to the Mesonet. Both communities are in the western Panhandle.
And in the past four days, the western Oklahoma site at Cheyenne had recorded 2.31 inches while the one at Erick had registered 2.19 inches.
The central and eastern parts of the state have been much wetter this year. Monday's rain prompted the National Weather Service to issue flood warnings for Oklahoma, Canadian, Lincoln and Blaine counties.
Areas north of Interstate 44 and east of Interstate 235 got the most rain, with more than three inches failing between 6 and 7 p.m., National Weather Service forecasters said.
The runoff from all that rain was expected to cause small streams and creeks to flood.