Source: Gary McManus, Oklahoma Climatological Survey:
Oklahoma will ring in 2013 with 37% of the state covered by Exceptional (D4)
drought, up 3% from last week and 34% from this time last year. The amount of
Extreme (D3) to Exceptional drought is also up slightly from last week to 95%.
That matches the extent from the height of the current back in September.
The good news is that the state was just blanked with snow, which should provide
a nice dose of moisture for those folks that got a bit more. The Mesonet rainfall
map is a bit slow on the amounts, since it only measures liquid moisture (and
therefore the snow has to melt before it will register). The radar estimated
overlay, however, shows that much of southern Oklahoma received from a
quarter-inch to more than two inches of liquid equivalent from the snow (much of
it fell as rain down in the southeast).
Even the radar estimates show that most of the state has been exceedingly dry
over the last 30 days, however. Thus far southeast has come out okay, but other
areas have barely gotten their whistles wet.
The expansion of Exceptional drought into Pawnee and Creek counties comes amid
news that Lone Chimney lake, an important water supply reservoir for 16,000
area residents, is dangerously dry.
Add to that the news that Lake Thunderbird, which provides potable water for
Norman, Del City and Midwest City, has dropped to near record levels (about
63% of normal capacity). That has forced the lake’s governing body to ask those
three cities for a 10% reduction in water usage.
The year is probably going to end with an average somewhere around 25 inches,
much like 2011 did, which will be good for somewhere around the 10th driest
year on record (back to 1895) … 2011 currently holds that place with 25.23
inches. The last two calendar years combined will end as one of the driest such
periods on record (probably top five). The Mesonet total map since January 1,
2011, tells the gruesome story. The Hooker Mesonet site has recorded 19 inches
of rain in the last 24 months … 19 INCHES OF RAIN IN THE LAST 24 MONTHS!
Parts of the state are more than 30 inches below normal during that period.
Now there is a chance for more precipitation (liquid or frozen) coming up in
the New Year’s Eve/Day time frame, and it could be substantial for this time
of the year. It doesn’t look so good for northern Oklahoma.
Now in case you were wondering, yesterday was cold. Temperatures even dropped
down below freezing at Beaver, and into the single digits across the
northwestern half of the state.
This is the type of weather we have not seen for nearly two years. In fact,
the statewide average temperature (highs and lows averaged together) of 20.6
degrees from yesterday is the coldest day across the state since February 10,
Here are the top 10 “coldest” days across the state since January 1, 2011.
Date Avg. Temp
February 11, 2012, just barely missed the top-10 at 22.9 degrees.