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Rains alleviate drought conditions in Oklahoma

Up until this week, the Oklahoma City area officially had been in a drought since last July. Recent spring rains helped alleviate parched conditions in central Oklahoma, though much of the state remains in a moderate to severe drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor reports.
by Bryan Painter and William Crum Modified: April 25, 2013 at 8:58 pm •  Published: April 26, 2013

/articleid/3803339/1/pictures/2036376">Photo - Boats rest in mud in a cove on the east side of Lake Hefner because of low water levels caused by drought in Oklahoma City, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman  ORG XMIT: KOD
Boats rest in mud in a cove on the east side of Lake Hefner because of low water levels caused by drought in Oklahoma City, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

In early October 2011, 70 percent of Oklahoma was in exceptional drought. But above-normal rainfall started soon after, leaving about 85 percent of the state drought-free by April 24, 2012.

“We have seen true recovery of lakes and ponds in those areas with the most rainfall. But as you go to the west of I-35, the lake levels dwindle to pretty sad shape,” McManus said. “So the easy answer is it gets worse the farther west you go.”

“If we go into June with drought in place, those driest areas should be prepared for a scorcher, and also further drought intensification,” he said.

The good news is there are no signs of a dry spring, he said.

“That's not a prediction of a continued wet spring, but it gives us more confidence than if a drier-than-normal spring was being forecast.”

Rain is in the forecast for parts of the state Friday, according to the National Weather Service, Norman forecast office.

A wide swath of the Plains — from South Dakota through Nebraska and western Kansas, to New Mexico and parts of Texas — remains extremely dry.

The weekly drought report is a project of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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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by William Crum
Reporter
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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