OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Climatological Survey says a 120-day period from late fall into early spring is the driest such period on record for central and southwestern Oklahoma.
Associate State Climatologist Gary McManus said Thursday that the average rainfall for central Oklahoma from Nov. 24 to Wednesday was 2.42 inches, 5.88 inches below normal. Southwestern Oklahoma received .76 inches of rain during that period, a deficit of 5.09 inches.
"The months of April and May are typically our wettest months and if we do not receive substantial rainfall soon, the fire season will extend well into the summer as the normal Spring green-up will quickly give way to dormant, dry vegetation," said News On 6 Meteorologist Dick Faurot.
The statewide average of 3.45 inches for the past 120 days ranks as the third-driest such period ever.
McManus says the U.S. Drought Monitor has expanded its "extreme drought" designation from southwestern Oklahoma up through Oklahoma County. He says some reservoir levels are low, including Lake Altus, which is at 48 percent capacity.
"Temperatures through the weekend and much of the following week are expected to be well below normal for this time of year. That will help with the evaporation rates, but we still need the rainfall," Faurot said.