Oklahoma panhandle in severe drought

Sunday, May 19th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- Officials say the Panhandle and extreme northwest Oklahoma is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in more than a hundred years.

The drought is so bad, some ranchers are selling off cattle _ months ahead of schedule _ or moving them out of state because they fear food and water won't be available this summer.

The average rainfall in the Panhandle and Ellis and Harper counties from June 2001 through April was 8-point-6-8 inches. Normal rainfall for the area is more than 16-and-a-half inches.

According to weather records, the year from June 2001 to April 2002 was the third-driest year.

Statewide, the amount of rainfall is down also. The state normally receives 36 inches of rain a year. But the state had received just under 26 inches from June 2001 through Thursday.