The Woodward News

December 4, 2012

Drought keeps grip on Oklahoma

Gary Engel
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — OKLAHOMA CITY - Weather experts said the drought surged in November with a return to dry, warm and windy conditions.

And they said, those conditions look to continue.

Gary McManus, associate state climatologist at the Oklahoma Mesonet, reported this week that the U.S. Drought Monitor showed the area of extreme to exceptional drought had increased from 72 percent to 91 percent of the state.

Woodward County was already in the "exceptional" region, he said.

"The entire state remained in at least severe drought, according to the drought monitor report," McManus said.

Through Nov. 28, McManus said the average statewide temperature was 52.4 degrees, according to the Mesonet, or some 3.4 degrees above normal.

Precipitation came in at 0.57 of an inch for November, more than 2 inches below normal for the state.

The National Weather Service reported it measured .34 of an inch in Woodward on Nov. 10, and that was all for the month. Normal is about .75 of an inch, the meteorologist said.

There's a very slight chance of a front moving through late this week that could bring a little rain and the National Weather Service is indicating a 20 percent chance of showers or Thunderstorms on Sunday.

Otherwise, everything looks dry and mostly clear for the next several days, though it may turn colder next week.

Each persisting condition - dry, warm and windy - leads to an elevated fire danger.

Jon Slater, a meteorologist at Fox 25 in Oklahoma City, said he thinks a possible cold front may just lead to a slight drop in temperature.

"I've lived in Oklahoma 30 years," he said. "I've never seen a November when we didn't have at least 1 or 2 winter weather events, not a big storm, just a little snow or sleet."

Slater said he did research, and found 3 days in December of 2011 when the temperature was above 70 in Oklahoma City.

The broadcaster declined to offer a longer-range prediction, stating that he just doesn't believe in them.

"It’s difficult enough to forecast the next day," he said. "One thing about Oklahoma weather - it's weird. It's predictably unpredictable."