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Weekend rains brought much needed relief for some

While not a drought breaker, those who did receive rains hope it is a good start
by Bryan Painter Published: October 11, 2011

Rain gauges collected something other than windblown red dirt, windshield wipers ran for more than two swipes, and boots became caked with mud.

From Tillman County in southwest Oklahoma to just east of Interstate 35, from the Red River to the Kansas border, 3 to 5 inches of rain was reported over the weekend, said Gary McManus of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

It certainly didn't end the drought, but it provided what many hope is the start to a turnaround.

“A slow-moving upper-level low pressure system approached the state from the Four Corners area and gave us the much-needed rainfall,” McManus said. “The fact that it was so slow-moving was key because it allowed for an extended period of southerly winds, which brought moisture from the Gulf of Mexico streaming back into the Southern Plains and Oklahoma.”

Of the 120 Oklahoma Mesonet weather network stations, 43 recorded more than 2 inches of rainfall, while 57 reported less than 1.5 inches.

Some areas of southwest and south central Oklahoma received in four days nearly half of what their annual total was before the rain arrived, McManus said.

Hollis had gotten only 3.67 inches of moisture so far this year, but added another inch and a half over the weekend to up their total to 5.17.

Farmers thankful

“This won't be a drought buster but it will provide a start to getting back toward the normal numbers,” said Mike Honigsberg, emergency management director for Enid and Garfield County.

Brandon Rush, a wheat farmer near Altus, was feeling grateful Monday morning.

From Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, the Mesonet station at Altus recorded a mere 7.2 inches, which was 21.4 inches below normal. Some near Altus had reported receiving as little as 2 inches of rain since last October, Bush said.

The official Mesonet total for this weekend near Altus was 1.77 inches.

Bush, 26, who farms with his father, David Bush, 55, said it will take much more, but this is a much appreciated start.

“The best part was the way it fell, slow and steady giving the hard ground time to soak it up instead of it running off,” Brandon Rush said. “This rain was definitely a blessing. It's going to give us a chance to take care of things the right way. It will help get the subsoil wet, allowing the wheat's roots to take hold later. Hopefully this was just a ‘presoaker' or a ‘priming of the pump.' More just like that would be great.”

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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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ALSO ...

Burn ban gets lifted

Payne County commissioners voted Monday to lift a burn ban temporarily to give residents a chance to burn off brush accumulated during a dry summer. Charlie Lawson, the county's director of emergency management, said he had spoken with several fire chiefs in the area and they all agreed the ban should be lifted through Sunday. Lawson said green grass, good moisture content and low winds mean the county has a good window of opportunity to get rid of accumulated brush piles, which can be a fuel source for wildfires.

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services


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