Drought conditions ease up in Oklahoma

by Michael Bush, managing editor with state reports

June 13, 2014

A new report says drought conditions are improving in Oklahoma, though more than half of the state remains in extreme or exceptional drought.

New data from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that 17 percent of Oklahoma is in exceptional drought — the most severe classification of drought. That’s down from 21 percent a week ago.

Some areas of the state, including the Altus area, received heavy rainfall this past weekend. Amounts were varied. Altus Air Force Base reported 2”, in town was said to be 2.8”, the Warren area saw 3.34”. The report from Eldorado was 3.5”, and Elmer reported 4” of rainfall.

Additional heavy rainfall led to some flash flooding where the ground was already saturated. The City of Altus issued a flash flood warning last Sunday when another round of rain came through.

According to Emergency Management Director Loyd Colston, 30 days ago Altus was a foot down in rainfall for the year. Since that time, we have gained 7”. Although 7” is a great gain, and has added to local lake levels, we are still below average for the year. Colston said that even though there is still some rain in the forecast through this coming weekend, the chances for accumulations like what we have seen over the past couple of weeks are not expected.

The Drought Monitor says 53 percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, primarily in the northern, central and western parts of the state. That’s down from 61 percent last week.

About 8 percent of Oklahoma, all in the southeast, is experiencing no drought conditions.

Oklahoma currently has no burn bans in place.