More than half of the state is free of drought conditions following last week’s heavy rain and the Piedmont area is no longer listed under abnormally dry status.
Each week the National Drought Migration Center reports on drought conditions throughout the country and eastern Canadian County was listed under abnormal dry conditions on March 13. However, a March 20 report showed the status had been lifted following 2 to 4 inches of rain that fell earlier this month.
“The abundant moisture produced flooding in eastern and central Oklahoma, but also alleviated drought impacts that had plagued the state over the last 19 months,” said Gary McManus, associate state climatologist for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. “The result was a much-improved Oklahoma drought picture.”
Before last week’s rain, 27 percent of the state had been free of drought or abnormally dry conditions, but now 63 percent of the state is included in that category, including Piedmont. Oklahoma has been suffering from a severe drought for at least 19 months, which has caused problems for farmers across the county and state.
Nearly the entire state received at least an inch of rain last week, bringing the state’s average rain fall in March to 4.3 inches, ranking this as the 10th wettest March on record, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.
“The drought was just getting a toehold in March 2011, which ended as the eighth driest on record with a statewide average of 0.71 inches,” McManus said. “The relief this March continues the momentum of drought eradication that began in October 2011. Since that time, also known as the start of the water year, the state has received an average of 17.3 inches of rain, a surplus of 3.6 inches. The water year thus far is the 12th wettest on record, compared to the same period last year, which was the seventh driest.
Whether Oklahoma will continue to experience relief in the coming months is yet to be seen as the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center states precipitation predictions in April, May and June is unknown.
“Anything but below normal rainfall will continue to alleviate existing drought impacts, and prevent more droughts from developing,” McManus said.