This year is threatening to be Oklahoma’s all-time driest, from Gary McManus, Oklahoma Climatological Survey
There is a lot of information contained in this Ticker, and little of it good.
As has been the case throughout 2011, one part of the state receives a decent rainfall but other areas of Oklahoma spend weeks with little relief. That pattern continued as northeastern Oklahoma missed out on the beneficial rains of two weeks ago. The newest U.S. Drought Monitor map reflects growing concerns over reservoir levels in eastern Oklahoma with an increase in coverage of D3 or “extreme” drought. The coverage of D3-D4 drought increased from 80 percent last week to 87 percent across the state. All of the state is covered by severe-to-exceptional (D2-D4) drought.
6-10 day period, all tools are in remarkable concert, pointing toward
drier than normal conditions. Thus, this is a high confidence forecast.”
The outlooks for November/November-January/December-February are all dominated by the classic La Nina signal, and hold little good news for Oklahoma and the Southern Plains.
The three-month outlooks that blend into spring have similar patterns for both temperature and precipitation. The sea surface temperature models used by the CPC indicate this La Nina could become as strong or even exceed the strength of last winter’s event with three-month anomalies approaching -2 degrees Celsius.
Those were “extreme” extremes, and don’t come around very often (and they were certainly not forecast).
2) Outlooks are not infallible, nor do La Nina impacts always follow the script.
3) A few well-placed precipitation events can keep the current wheat crop going through the worst of what Mother Nature has to offer. If there is one thing Oklahoma agricultural producers know, it’s not always the amount of precipitation that is most important. Timing is everything.
4) No information is contained within these outlooks or forecasts about extreme snow or ice events, although the dry signal would indicate less precipitation of any form. Remember, Oklahoma set its all-time 24-hour snowfall record last February with 27 inches at Spavinaw and the first half of that month was basically one big blizzard. The state’s all-time record low temperature of -31 degrees was reached at Nowata last February 10.
5) Many reservoir levels are very low going into our driest time of the year.
That will become a greater concern should the precipitation deficits continue into the warm months. Water usage bottoms out during the winter months so any precipitation that does fall is very important for recharge. The same goes for soil moisture.
We will continue to monitor the latest from the CPC and other governmental agencies to keep you informed as best as possible. Hopefully there will be better news as we go through the next several months.