Meteorologist Dick Faurot Looks At History Of Oklahoma Drought


Monday, July 23rd 2012, 12:45 pm
By: Dee Duren


The grainy, black and white photos from the Depression Years show an Oklahoma so dry that it sent some residents west to California. The 1930s drought got its name from dust storms that blew across the plains.

The last two years of drought have been enough to prompt the questions: "How do the current conditions compare to the Dust Bowl years of 1930s?" and "Are we headed for another Dust Bowl?"

News On 6 WARN Team meteorologist Dick Faurot took a look at the history of rainfall in Oklahoma for answers.

Faurot found that Oklahoma appears to cycle between drought and wetness about every 10 years.

"For example, relatively speaking the 1910s were dry, the 1920s wet, the 1930s were dry, the 1940s wet, etc.," Faurot said in his weather blog.

"In fact, if you examine the chart closely, you will see that the drought of the 1950s was actually more severe than the dust bowl years of the 1930s. The impacts were not as severe though, due to improved farming practices and better technology by the 1950s.

"Historically, we are long overdue for a long-lasting, significant drought in Oklahoma," Faurot added.

So, are we headed for another Dust Bowl?

Faurot said that so far, the similarities of the last two years and the Dust Bowl years are minimal because we don't know if the current drought will have the same "staying power."

"From a weather forecasting perspective, that question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no," Faurot said.

"These long term trends are an area of active research, but we cannot presently provide a definitive answer to those type of questions."

Read Dick Faurot's Weather Blog