The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 21, 2014

Rain is a good thing

Northwest Oklahoma feels effects of ongoing drought

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — We sure could use some rain.

For the past several years, we’ve heard that refrain many, many times as northwest Oklahoma deals with a prolonged drought.

Recently, a couple of good chances for rain were forecast for the area, at least according to National Weather Service. Neither really panned out, as the Enid area missed out on any meaningful rain.

So far this month, the Breckinridge Mesonet weather-recording site has reported just .08 of an inch of rain. The site has recorded just 1.55 inches of rain all year. According to Oklahoma Climatological Survey, the north central region, which includes Garfield County, has received an average of 1.47 inches of rain, more than 5 inches below normal. That makes it the fourth-driest year so far since 1921.

The drought has impacted agriculture — again. Crops, mainly wheat and canola in this area, have been adversely affected by the lack of rain. Pasture lands and hay also have been affected, which could continue to put pressure on the livestock industry.

Effects of the continued drought aren’t just limited to agriculture. Ask anyone trying to keep their lawn green about that and see what they have to say.

Recreation, too, is affected. Canton Lake has never recovered from the drought and the release of water to Oklahoma City, and that has impacted businesses around the lake.

The outlook, according to the experts, is not looking to great for the near future. National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts the drought to continue or intensify for much of Oklahoma, at least through July.

There’s not much we can do to influence the weather. In the past, church congregations have prayed for rain, and Gov. Mary Fallin even has encouraged people to do so.

Come to think of it, it couldn’t hurt.