The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report reflects the abundant July rainfall, especially across the eastern two-thirds of the state. Only 1.4 percent of the state is labeled within exceptional drought. That is a reduction from 8.7 percent at the end of June.
More than 62 percent of the state is now drought free, primarily from central through eastern Oklahoma. Only 41 percent of the state was free from drought at the end of May, according to the Drought Monitor.
The entire state was labeled in some intensity of drought at the beginning of the year, including 37 percent of the state in the exceptional category. The far western edge, including the Panhandle, remains in drought categorized as being at least in the extreme category.
The Drought Monitor’s intensity scale slides from moderate-severe-extreme-exceptional, with exceptional being the worst category.
The monthly outlooks for August from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center indicate an increased chance for above-normal temperatures across southwestern Oklahoma and the Panhandle but no indications of above-, below- or near-normal precipitation across the state.
The U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for August has drought improving across the northwestern quarter of the state, along with the Panhandle areas of Oklahoma and Texas. Drought is expected to persist across southwestern Oklahoma. No development of drought is expected across the eastern two-thirds of the state through the end of August.
Gary McManus is the associate state climatologist at the Oklahoma
Climatological Survey. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.