The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 5, 2013

Unchanged: Garfield County split between four levels of ongoing drought

Kevin Hassler, Associate Editor
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Drought conditions remained unchanged throughout northwest Oklahoma this week, according to the latest information from U.S. Drought Monitor.

Garfield County is split between four levels of drought.

The northwest third of the county is listed in severe drought, the third-worst category, according to U.S. Drought Monitor. The rest of the county is split mostly between moderate drought and abnormally dry. A small portion of extreme southeast Garfield County is out of the drought.

Conditions north and west of Garfield County are worse, according to drought monitor.

Large portions of the area are listed in extreme drought, the second-worst category, while the rest is listed in severe drought.

However, the situation is expected to change as we move further into July.

The outlook from the Climate Prediction Center shows “drought persisting or intensifying across the western third of Oklahoma, including much of the Panhandle,” said Gary McManus, associate state climatologist for Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

“There is some limited improvement possible in the far western Panhandle,” McManus said. “Those areas not in drought across central and eastern Oklahoma are expected to remain drought free, at least through July.”

For the year, Oklahoma Climatological Survey shows north central Oklahoma, which includes Garfield County, as being 1.47 inches below normal on rainfall, with an average of 15.37 inches in the region.

The Mesonet weather-recording site at Breckinridge recorded 4.17 inches of rain in June, with 1.64 inches recorded on June 17. From that point through the end of the month, though, the site only recorded .26 on an inch.

The Mesonet site at Lahoma recorded 3.96 inches of rain in June, with 1.44 falling on June 27.

Rainfall has fallen off considerably in July during the past two years at both sites.

The Breckinridge site recorded just .13 of an inch in 2012 and only .65 of an inch in 2011. That followed monthly rain totals of 4 inches in 2010; 2.09 in 2009; 5.74 in 2008; and 2.92 in 2007.

The Lahoma site recorded .39 of an inch in 2012 and .51 of an inch in 2011. That came after monthly totals of 6.56 inches in 2010; 2.57 in 2009; 3.77 in 2008; and 3 inches in 2007.

While the Climate Prediction Center is clear on the rain outlook, the temperature outlook is muddled for July, McManus said.

“The July temperature outlook ... indicates equal odds of above-, below- and near-normal temperatures for Oklahoma,” McManus said. “So, no real clear temperature signal is showing up at this time.”

National Weather Service expects high temperatures in Enid to be in the upper-90s through next week. There is a slight chance — 20-30 percent — of rain Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.