Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Spring Rains Bring a Little Drought Relief to Oklahoma

U.S. Drought Monitor

The April 23 update from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows relief in eastern Oklahoma counties, and swaths of the state where "extreme" and "exceptional" drought conditions linger.

Oklahoma’s drought has lessened a bit, data from the U.S. Drought Monitor show.

Drought conditions remain in 72 percent of the state, an improvement from the 82 percent recorded in mid-April, the latest data show. Much of the drought improvement is concentrated in eastern Oklahoma counties.

Areas of “extreme” and “exceptional” drought persist in the southwestern parts of the state, the panhandle, and in an arc that spans from the western border to the north central border, data show.

Spring rains have helped, and the drought designation for the Oklahoma City metro has been lifted for the first time since July 2012, The Oklahoman’s Bryan Painter and William Crum report:

Reservoirs are about 55 percent full, a number [OKC Utilities Director Marsha] Slaughter said compares favorably to the same time last year. Reservoirs in eastern Oklahoma and the metro area are full or close to it.

However, Canton Lake is only about 18 percent full. The city drew water from Canton, on the North Canadian River in northwest Oklahoma, to replenish Lake Hefner.

At the end of March, 100 percent of the state was experiencing drought conditions, data show.

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