The weekend cold front was great! High temperatures dropped from the 100s to the 80s & 90s. The overnight lows went from the 70s & 80s down to the 50s & 60s. That is camping weather! Now if we just had enough rain to repeal the Fire Ban and bring the lake up.
The Climate Prediction Center’s Seasonal Drought Outlook, released on Sept. 6, does not predict any improvement for most of Oklahoma. The far eastern tier of counties may experience some improvement. The rest of us are in the “drought to persist or intensify” zones.
Without an unforeseen weather event, the Burn Ban will continue and Lake Altus-Lugert will stay low. Just how low is the lake? Lake Altus-Lugert as of Sunday, Sept. 9 was down 25.66 feet. This converts to just a little over 18% full. Is this the lowest the lake has ever been? Gosh no! As recent as 2006 Lake Altus-Lugert was down over 33.6 feet. By May of 2007 the lake was again full.
Was there a hurricane in late 2006 that filled the lake “overnight”? No, however there were over two inches of rain October and three inches in December of ’06. Spring of 2007 was very wet, over 14 inches of rain March –June and that filled the lake. Maybe that kind of wet fall and mid-spring will happen again.
While the Climate Prediction Center’s October – December Forecast has Oklahoma firmly in the “normal” range, 2013 looks better. The March – May forecast does have Oklahoma in a “above normal rain cycle”. So we might get the rain that should have the lake level’s trending upward again.
Even in the Burn Ban, fall camping is great. Warm days and cool, crisp nights. The leaves and acorns start falling, so you can better see all the animals feasting in preparation of winter. The oak and mesquite trees are the best places to see many wildlife species feeding in the fall. Deer, squirrels, turkeys, cardinals and blue jays are just a few animals that relish mesquite beans and acorns. Why not plan on one last camping trip and wildlife watching weekend at Quartz Mountain Nature Park this fall?