Oklahoma Drought Situation

Saturday, October 22nd 2011, 10:49 am
By: News On 6

As can be seen on the map to the right, the entire state of Oklahoma is in what climatologists refer to as a severe drought and nearly 60% of the state is in what is called an exceptional drought which is the worst possible category. All of which emphasizes the need for some moisture. Fortunately, portions of the state do have a shot at some rainfall later today and again along about the Wed-Thu time frame. Unfortunately, these do not appear to be drought busters although anything will certainly help.

Conditions appear to be coming together for some storms to develop late this afternoon or more likely into the early night time hours, but the best chances of that will be along and south of I-40. A system aloft together with better moisture availability along the Red River should result in scattered storms, some of which will pose a threat of marginally severe hail. That is, hail of an inch in diameter. More importantly, there will also be brief periods of locally heavy rainfall from those storms as they move on to the SE. Useful rainfall to be sure, but not a drought buster.

There may even be a few showers lingering along the Red River by first thing Sunday morning, but in general Sunday should see partly cloudy skies, perhaps a weak wind shift to NW, and highs near 80. Monday will see gusty southerly winds return which together with lots of sunshine and highs in the 80s will result in an enhanced fire danger situation. Tuesday will also see gusty S to SW winds, lots of sunshine, and highs well into the 80s along with a high fire danger.

Then, there is the Wed-Thu time frame. The longer range guidance has been consistently bringing a cool front through the state Tuesday night followed by brisk northerly winds and a return to much cooler conditions for Wed and Thu. However, there has not be a lot of consistency in the rain chances with this system. The most recent trends are now flipping back to a much wetter solution for Wednesday and through the day Thursday. The latest and greatest data now suggests that cloudy skies with widespread rain and showers will be developing during the day Wednesday and extend through much of the day Thursday. If later trends confirm this, then this would provide some badly needed, widespread moisture spread out over a period of a day or two. It remains to be seen how much the precipitation totals will be, but at least for now it does look promising to provide at least some short term relief.

In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot