Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Ongoing Oklahoma Drought Chases Away Boaters … and Tornadoes?

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Many boats were left in the mud at Lake Hefner when it recorded its all-time lowest water level in January 2013.

If you thought the recent wet weather might mean an end to the state’s debilitating drought, think again.

Experts at the National Tornado Summit Monday in Oklahoma City made it clear that the drought won’t be ending any time soon.

But there is a silver lining to these rainless clouds, fewer tornadoes are expected this spring and summer.

Harold Brooks, a research meteorologist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, told the conference this summer will be a lot like 2012′s.

From The Oklahoman:

Oklahoma looks to be in for its third consecutive hot, dry summer, Brooks said. The state averages 8 or 9 inches of rain in June, July and August; the forecast is for that figure to come in 1 inch, or about 12 percent, below normal.

Brooks also said Oklahoma’s ongoing drought should reduce the number of tornadoes this spring.

Conference attendees also heard from the National Climate Data Center’s Deke Arndt, who highlighted the increasing public acrimony over water, and compared the damage left by tornadoes to that of droughts:

The former leaves a trail of items such as destroyed cars, broken glass, shredded shingles and other debris.

“The debris trail of drought looks like lawsuits, foreclosures and bankruptcies,” he said.

But the physical impact of drought can be easily seen as well, including at Lake Hefner, where news9.com reports it’s too dry for a boating season this year:

The Oklahoma City Council decided Tuesday morning not to rent out boat slips at the popular lake. Council members made the decision because of the severe drought and low water level at Lake Hefner.


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