The good folks at the OK Mesonet just came out with some interesting statistics regarding the drought situation in our state. It continues to worsen and the last 120 days are now the driest on record for portions of South central and Southwest Oklahoma. The map on the right illustrates the point as it shows the percentage of normal rainfall that has been received over that period. Notice the Central and Southwest have in some cases received less than 20% of their normal rainfall.
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. Fortunately, the weather pattern over the next one to two weeks is a more active one with periodic chances of showers and storms. Unfortunately, a real break in the drought appears unlikely.
That means the fire danger will remain a serious threat for quite some time as many counties are under a burn ban and more will likely be added. Regarding our rain chances, some late night and morning showers or storms will be possible to start the day on Friday and again on Saturday. But, these will be on a scattered basis and primarily for the more northern or eastern counties. The chances of any one location receiving measurable rainfall is on the order of 40% both days so most of us will still be dry. We will have another chance late Monday of next week and another chance later in the week, but still no widespread, general, soaking rainfall that would break the drought and replenish the soil moisture statewide is foreseen.
On the other hand, at least temperatures are back to more seasonal levels after more than a week in which temperatures were as much as 20 degrees above normal. 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.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.