Soaking rains across Oklahoma called 'a good start'

Most of Oklahoma has received beneficial rains recently.
BY BRYAN PAINTER bpainter@opubco.com Modified: April 3, 2013 at 10:08 pm •  Published: April 4, 2013

Wes Lee, McClain County Extension educator, was thankful Wednesday not only for the rain coming down, but the sight of moving water at his feet.

For some time, when rain did fall in his part of the state it would quickly be soaked into the ground. But in recent days much of Lee's county has received from 1.5 inches to more than 3 inches of rainfall.

“It is the first runoff event that we've had in years. I am excited to see it,” Lee said. “I hope it continues.”

Lee talked with agricultural producers Tuesday who said ponds that had been dry for some time were now about a third or half full.

“It rained a little more today,” Lee said Wednesday.

Gary McManus, of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said the deluge from this week in many areas of the eastern two-thirds of the state has eased drought conditions considerably. Many lakes across southeastern Oklahoma are above normal levels after dropping below 50 percent of capacity as recently as December, he said.

“The latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center paints a pretty picture for Oklahoma's next three months with the eastern half of the state in the ‘drought likely to improve' category,” McManus said. “Much of the rest of the state is described with ‘drought ongoing, some improvement' through the end of June.”

Improvement is also how Lee describes what has happened this week.

“I had a producer call me this morning saying this was a drought-ending rain and I certainly don't believe that,” Lee said. “We've got a long way to go to refill ponds and lakes and streams.

“This is a good start. This is great.”


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