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Talking about last week's rain, this week's drought report and taking a look ahead

by Bryan Painter Published: October 24, 2013

From Gary McManus, Oklahoma Climatological Survey:

“The newest U.S. Drought Monitor finally caught up on all the rainfall and the
drought impacts that were improved due to that rainfall. Now we are left about
where we were after June as we got into mid-summer with most of central, north
central, northeast and east central Oklahoma out of any sort of drought/dry

“That means we have 43 percent of the state without any color on the drought map, and we’re
therefore down to about 57 percent of the state still in Abnormally Dry to Exceptional

“The latest improvements are due to that rainfall of more than a week ago now, but
it had come after the 7 a.m. Tuesday morning cutoff point for last week’s map. That’s
why we see improvements on this week’s map despite any significant rainfall this
week (although central Oklahoma saw a nice line of an inch or more, but that was
in areas without drought already).

“The reason drought hasn’t gone completely away down in the southern reaches of
the state are evident when you look at the longer-term rainfall maps. And again,
I go back to that magical Aug. 17 date when the great summer rains we were seeing
shut off and flash drought materialized across the area.

“So the drought map continues to be a balancing act between recent rains and
the improvements those have brought versus the long-term dryness that not only
goes back to Aug. 17, but back to more than three years ago when the drought
really got its start in October 2010.

“The soil moisture data from the Mesonet down to 24 inches shows where some of
the longer-term impacts that I speak of, with dry soils across the southwest,
northwest, and even up into north central Oklahoma. When we see things such
as that, we start hoping for more rainfall. Luckily, it appears we might have
a pretty wet system headed this way next week. Now it might disrupt the trick-
or-treat crowd, but that’s okay because we need that moisture in several areas.

“The trouble with forecasting this system is that it is not even onshore up in
the Pacific Northwest yet, so all bets are off for now. And even then things are
iffy since it could become a cutoff-low (and those are fairly difficult to pin
down once they form).

“Some of that rain could come this weekend as well.

“So basically, we’re in a holding pattern (holding our breath!) waiting for that
storm system to come ashore so it can be better sampled by our land-based
instruments. That better data is then fed into the forecast models and more firm
forecasts usually result.”

Also in weather news:

At Kenton, Okla., the temperature dropped to 30.8 degrees at 3:25 a.m. today (Thursday), according to the National Weather Service, Amarillo, Texas whose coverage area includes the Oklahoma Panhandle.

As for this Saturday, Oct. 26, in the National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office coverage area, “Rain chances will return on Saturday as a low pressure system approaches from the west. Showers and a few thunderstorms are expected across the area. No severe storms are anticipated.”

In looking ahead to November 2, please plan to attend the National Weather Festival. It will be held  9 a.m. to 1 p.m., November 2 at the National Weather Center, 120 David L Boren Blvd. (corner of Hwy. 9 and Jenkins Ave.) in Norman.

The annual National Weather Festival highlights the many weather related organizations and activities in central Oklahoma. Visitors can view the National Weather Center’s premier facilities including National Weather Service forecast operation areas.

This unique event features hourly weather balloon launches with local TV meteorologists, emergency response vehicle and equipment displays, LEGO® models and robots demonstration, children’s activities, and weather related information and products.

They will also have special booths where people can ask their questions about tornadoes, storm shelters, storm fears and Oklahoma weather patterns.

And just FYI,  the National Weather Service, Dodge City, Kan. forecast for next Wednesday (Oct. 30) at Dodge City shows, “A slight chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 48. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.”



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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