Recent moisture has helped to slow drought in several areas in Oklahoma, and while it hasn’t eliminated it, the relief is important.
“That’s an understated but important improvement,” said State Climatologist Gary McManus. “Not a drought-ender, but a drought-improver and drought-interruptor. So the spread will not continue unabated, at least this week, and we will see improvements in some places on the U.S. Drought Monitor map.”
The moisture helped but wasn’t enough to make up for the deficit northwest Oklahoma is facing.
“There was slight improvement in the drought situation across northwestern Oklahoma, but not enough moisture fell to completely erase deficits that had built up for months,” McManus said. “From 1-2 inches fell across much of the area, but that still leaves most locations 3-5 inches down for the last 90 days. The rainfall did stop the rapid intensification and spread of the flash drought for Woodward and the surrounding locations, but the drought is still in play.”
Although a majority of the state received some type of moisture over the weekend, some areas will continue to worsen.
“Northeast Oklahoma largely missed out on the good rains, and the flash drought in that area is very much still flashy,” McManus said.
McManus predicts rain chances will be scarce for a while.
“The big rain chances now past, the next 7 days will be a bit more spotty in the rain department, save for southern Oklahoma,” McManus said. “We are in a new weather regime for awhile where the big heat has been knocked down. Now we await our next big statewide multi-day event. Will it be in June, or September?”
Although not out of the norm for northwest Oklahoma, summer could bring further drought conditions.
“Tough to say what’s in store for summer with no looming large-scale patterns influencing the weather, but with drought already in place, further heat could cause it to accelerate once again,” McManus explained.