Short-Term Drought Improvement, Longer-Term Woes

Thursday, September 29th 2011, 6:25 pm
By: News On 6

As we enjoy this early fall warmth, the ground beneath us continues to dry out from the last rains we saw a week ago. The latest Drought Monitor (to your right) shows continued improvement in the drought in northeastern Oklahoma. Before we get too excited about being down-graded to just a "severe" drought, we should look ahead at the forecast pattern.

A cold front moving through our region will moderate our temperatures, but reinforce the dry air. An upper-level ridge will then build in, keeping all rain-making storm systems at bay until at least the end of next week. When we couple the near-term outlook with the longer-term expectation of drier-than-normal conditions into the winter months with La Niña, it spells a little improvement in our drought. Once again, though, a large storm system may have enough oomph to bring in a major pattern change. We'll hope for plenty of rain, but a lack of severe weather. As far as the temperatures go… well, I'm happy without a change for awhile!

This drought has stuck around for almost a year now in parts of Oklahoma. According to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, it is still dwarfed by the nearly decade-long droughts of the 1930s and 1950s. There are similarities in global patterns from those times to now, but we can't say yet if this will be a drought on that time-scale. Even if it's not and we see plentiful rain in the coming months and year, it will still be regarded as a catastrophic drought for the Southern Plains.

Enough doom and gloom. The outlook for the Tulsa State Fair still looks outstanding. Pleasant temperatures and dry days will hopefully let this year's fair be a grand success! Temperatures could dip into the 40s at night, so be sure to keep that jacket handy for the morning hours.

Have a great weekend!

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