Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Most of the State Abnormally Dry As Drought Creeps East Into Oklahoma City

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map of Oklahoma as of Feb. 25.

U.S. Drought Monitor

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map of Oklahoma as of February 25, 2014.

Save for a tiny corner of far southeast Oklahoma, the entire state is either abnormally dry, or already in drought.

Areas of severe, extreme, and exceptional drought, the worst categories, are still confined to the western part of the state, with far southwest Oklahoma suffering the most. But the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor show moderate drought conditions moving east and into Oklahoma City.

From KOCO meteorologist Jonathan Conder:

What does this mean for the capital city? Residents should start doing their part to conserve water use in their homes. With the Bermuda grass still being dormant, there is no need to water the lawn.  Residents should also limit their shower times. If all residents would participate in water conservation now, this will help extend the current water supply in Lake Hefner, Oklahoma City’s drinking water source.

Conder explains that January and February are usually the driest months of the year in OKC, and — as long as it’s a normal spring — there’s hope for drought improvement soon.

This year is already an improvement over 2013. At this time last year, all of Oklahoma was experiencing at least severe levels of drought, with extreme drought conditions across more than half the state.

That was before a wetter than normal summer tamped drought down across much of the state.

But, as StateImpact has reported, just because 2013 wasn’t as dry as the previous couple of years and there are encouraging signs when comparing the current data to one year ago, drought can get out of hand very quickly.

“Even during the dust bowl drought — the 1930s drought — there was a year in there where it was extremely wet. And in the 50s drought, depending on what part of the state you were in — that was a five to six year drought — but we’d have a period of relief or two in there,” Associate State Climatologist Gary McManus told StateImpact in December. “So that’s how these longer term droughts work. They see periods of intensification intermixed with periods of relief. And some unlucky folks, like western Oklahoma, they just get it straight through.”


StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Comments

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education