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One Drought Lessens, Another Grows

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Several days of rain and storms in our region has left some places water-logged. It's hard to believe that it would be an issue in the midst of such a long-term drought, but we are seeing continued relief by the bucket-full now. May is typically our rainiest month so the unsettled weather is nothing unusual. Last night though, the Highway 412 corridor east of Tulsa into northwest Arkansas got more than their fair share. Thunderstorms trained over the same locations for hours leaving some places with over 3 inches of rain. The rain totals are seen in the first attached map. The Illinois River may rise to moderate flooding levels Adair County down to around Tahlequah through the first part of the weekend.

The latest Drought Monitor does not include the rainfall seen in that map, but continues to show an improving picture for eastern Oklahoma. The drought is inching its way north and west, and by next week, the drought picture will be even better for us. Before parts of the Oklahoma panhandle saw more rain, their drought situation worsened as the "Exceptional" Drought region expanded. It's a feast of rain in Green Country, but a famine of it out west. Still, every bit of rain helps in the drier sections of our state.

One drought we ARE thankful for is the lack of tornadoes this severe weather season. A mere ~246 tornadoes have occurred in the United States so far. We are typically more than double that number at this point in the year. The final attached map shows where the tornadoes have occurred this year, including the swath of tornadoes here in Green Country from the night of April 17th. Much of it has to do with a blocked weather pattern, keeping a volatile jet stream pattern away for widespread severe weather and tornadoes. A rainfall drought in the Plains also plays a role in tornadoes as well since a key component to their formation is moisture. One study showed that the lack of tornadoes from last May through this April was so rare that it would, statistically speaking, happen only once every 28,571 years!

We can't let our guard down though. Jet stream pattern changes lie in our future and eventually it will bring a storm system through that could be a big threat to our region. We don't see anything like that in the near future. In fact, for Mother's Day weekend, a few showers and a possible rumble of thunder on Sunday is about the only threat. By the middle of next week, severe weather may be upon us once again.

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