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April 23, 2013

Continued rains could help central Oklahoma bounce back

NORMAN — A cold front pushing through the state will bring a chance for showers and thunderstorms throughout the day today. While forecasters are not anticipating a major rain event, the continued April showers are slowly busting central Oklahoma’s drought.

“The weather is finally getting down to some drought-busting business — at least in central Oklahoma,” said John Harrington, water resources director of the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments. “The western third of the state is still being left out to dry, but the storm last week was a welcome relief to the rest of us.”

Monday afternoon, John Pike, spokesman for the National Weather Service, said Norman has a 40 percent chance of rain today.

“We’re not expecting significant rainfall,” Pike said Monday. “We’re going to get colder Tuesday, then we’ll gradually start warming through the week, and our next chance for storms won’t be until Friday. At this point, there could be some severe thunderstorms for Friday.”

Locally, Lake Thunderbird is showing steady gains. The lake level was 1,034.52 feet on Monday, which is still 4.5 feet below the conservation pool but a big gain over lake levels down 7 feet or more earlier this month. Thunderbird is Norman’s primary water source.

Oklahoma City’s Lake Hefner is up more than a foot above lake levels a week ago.

Hefner is a water source for Oklahoma City, as is Canton Lake. Canton levels had been very low as Oklahoma City had nearly drained it to keep Hefner’s levels up. Now Canton is at 1,601.58 feet — still nearly 14 feet low. While Canton is only about 18 percent full, that’s an improvement over previous lake levels.

Mesonet mapping indicates soil moisture content is improving in central Oklahoma.

“Most of the indicators are now beginning to march upward, but then remember — this is April,” Harrington said. “This is supposed to happen. We need at least a ‘normal’ May and June to get the reservoir levels up to the levels of last year. And the groundwater levels are still moving sideways.”

Harrington said a “good wet spring” could get Norman and the surrounding area close to normal.

Joy Hampton

366-3539

jhampton@

normantranscript.com

 

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