The Norman Transcript


July 21, 2013

Despite rainfall, drought continues across Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY — A smattering of summer showers has provided much-needed rain across much of Oklahoma, but nearly a third of the state, including major agricultural producing counties in western Oklahoma, remains locked in an extreme drought that has withered crops, dried up farm ponds and decimated cattle herds.

A wet spring and steady summer showers across a large portion of central Oklahoma has alleviated drought conditions for nearly 25 percent of the state, a major improvement from a year ago when nearly the entire state was experiencing at least moderate drought.

But more than 30 percent of Oklahoma, mostly the Panhandle and about 20 counties in western Oklahoma, are suffering from extreme or exceptional drought, according to a report this week from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“The drought that we keep talking about really started around October of 2010, and especially in the western part of the state, this has been an accumulation of missing precipitation for a long period of time,” said Oklahoma State Climatologist Renee McPherson. “It certainly can’t be something that we solve quickly without the types of heavy rainfall that we’ve seen in certain parts of the state.”

Since October, every climate division in Oklahoma has experienced less rainfall than normal, with the statewide average at about 81 percent of normal, according to statistics from the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. By far the hardest hit counties are in the Panhandle (57 percent of normal rainfall), west central Oklahoma (67 percent of normal) and southwest Oklahoma (71 percent of normal).

“In the last 30 days for example, many parts of central Oklahoma ... have seen anywhere up to 5 to 6 inches of rain, but the western part of the state had spotty rain during that time. There were a few locations that had 2 to 4 inches of rain, but there are other locations that didn’t even see an inch,” McPherson said. “And they’re trying to make up for almost a foot of precipitation that they’ve been missing over the last couple of years. Until they see significantly more precipitation, they are still going to be in drought conditions.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Sentencing delayed for Oklahoma tea party leader

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Formal sentencing for the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party on felony blackmail and computer crimes convictions has been delayed....

    July 23, 2014

  • Heat advisory issued for much of Oklahoma

    TULSA — The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory through late today for much of the state as stifling heat and humidity continue to affect Oklahoma this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • 34 OSBI agents graduate investigative academy

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Thirty-four agents are graduating from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Advanced Investigative Academy....

    July 23, 2014

  • Okla. legislator doctor wants minors quarantined

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined....

    July 23, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has state teachers worried about instruction

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With the Legislature’s repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they’re concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 states ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Highway Patrol sees spike in number of applicants

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Two bills that passed the Legislature this past spring have sparked an increase in the number of applicants to join the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, officials said....

    July 20, 2014

  • 1M visit Okla. parks

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new report from the National Parks Service shows that more than 1 million people visited Oklahoma’s national parks in 2013 and spent $17.2 million. Oklahoma has thee national parks: Washita Battlefield National Historic ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Unemployment rate falls to 4.5 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.5 percent in June. The figures released Friday by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission show that while the number of Oklahomans without a ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Gay Marriage Oklahoma Court reverses ban on gay marriage

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal appeals court rulied Friday that Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, spurring celebration among gay rights activists but sparking sharp anger among Republican leaders in a conservative state that ...

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oklahoma firefighters help combat western wildfires

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Firefighters from Oklahoma are heading west to help battle wildfires....

    July 19, 2014