The Norman Transcript

April 5, 2013

April showers bring relief but no end to drought

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Norman received over three inches of rain during the three day period running from April 1-3 said National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Theron.

“From the Cleveland County Mesonet located at Westheimer Airport, 3.37 inches which is about the average rainfall that you would receive in the entire month of April,” Theron said. “But March was a little bit dry, so we made up for that and got a good start on April. This did not break the drought.”

More rain could be on the way early next week.

“It’s a rather large storm system,” Theron said. “By Monday, possibly Sunday, our rain chances could increase.”

Severe weather could be in store including a probability of damaging hail and wind and a potential for tornadoes.

“It’s time for everybody to clean out their storm shelters,” Theron said.

Theron said it’s important to plan ahead and know what to do in case of severe weather. Waiting until the tornado is in sight is often too late to find shelter.

“The set-up we’re seeing could bring several rounds of severe weather beginning Sunday afternoon, and again Monday and Tuesday afternoons and evenings as the dry line sets up somewhere in the Texas panhandle and a strong storm system moves closer to the southern plains,” said Rick Smith NWS Meteorologist. “It’s too early for exact details, but it looks like severe storms would progressively increase in coverage and intensity as we go from Sunday afternoon through Monday and into Tuesday.

“This is a strong early April storm system, and I expect we’ll be dealing with supercells each day, along with the threat of tornadoes and large hail,” Smith said.

Oklahoma’s water woes are far from over, however, and Norman remains under mandatory water conservation.

The conservation pool at Lake Thunderbird is 1,032.6 feet — still 6.5 feet below normal, but up from last week. Those numbers mean the conservation pool is just over 67 percent full.

While the state has seen some relief from the drought recently, lake levels and ground water levels continue to decline according to data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mesonet.

Lake Canton, which serves as a water source for Oklahoma City, is 14 feet below the conservation pool and is 16 percent full. The city of Norman remains on mandatory conservation because of the reduction in allocation allowed by the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District from Lake Thunderbird.

“This was a great rain, but it certainly does not break the drought,” said Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske.

A contract with Del City for a portion of its Thunderbird allotment will kick in on May 1, but the city will remain at Stage 2 mandatory conservation.

“Everybody is in conservation mode that gets water from Thunderbird,” said Komiske. “We must stay in conservation mode — that was part of the contract with Del City.”


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