Drought Update.


Thursday, June 12th 2014, 4:22 pm
By: News On 6


OK, the showers and thunder during the overnight hours turned out to be a bit if a disappointment with regards to the actual amount of rainfall they left behind. Most of us here in E OK wound up with at most ¼" and generally less than that, but after going through one of the driest Jan-May periods on record we will take what we can get. Notice the first map on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, which shows the total amount of precipitation over the last two weeks which has certainly been a blessing.

Given that much moisture, one might think that we have put a real dent in the drought, right? Well, the latest version of the drought monitor came out this morning and is shown as the second map on the right. Some improvement to be sure, but most of the state remains in a very serious drought situation.

So, what gives? Keep in mind that it takes a long time for a drought to develop and it usually takes more than a week or two of rain to mitigate the rainfall deficit as well. For example, notice the third map on the right, also courtesy of the OK Mesonet, which shows how far behind we were on our rainfall before this recent rainy period began. As you can see, it begins with Oct 2010 and goes up thru May 19, 2014 which is basically when we finally started getting some rainfall. Over that time period, many locations were anywhere from 30-40" or more behind their normal rainfall. That essentially means missing out on a whole year's worth of moisture. That is why it takes more than a week or two of rainfall to totally eliminate a drought. Subsoil moisture needs to be replenished, ponds and lakes still need to be filled, etc….

Although a few showers/storms may pop up this afternoon, we expect clear skies this evening and through the overnight hours along with lots of sunshine for Friday. Saturday will also be dry with possibly a few showers/storms out west that night and into the early morning hours of Sunday. Our next best chance of rain now looks to be late Sunday and through that night or into the morning hours of Monday. Again, that will depend on a system developing to our west and then moving in our direction. That will be followed by at most only some isolated to widely scattered showers/storms going into next week.

Temperatures will be mild, relatively speaking, for tonight and Friday, then heating up through the rest of this forecast cycle. Overnight lows in the 50s to near 60 tonight along with some patchy fog or more likely a heavy dew will start the day for Friday. Lots of sunshine during the day, but with an E/NE wind of 10-12 mph should keep daytime temperatures into the low-mid 80s.

After that, stronger southerly winds will result in warmer nights and hot, humid days with upper 80s both Saturday/Sunday and likely near 90 for much of next week. At least the recent moisture and extensive rain footprint has really greened things up which will help keep daytime highs somewhat in check.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot