Oklahoma Drought Monitor Reflects Significant Improvements After Recent Rains

To view the Oklahoma Drought Map, click here.

According to the latest Oklahoma Drought Map, Exceptional Drought has decreased significantly from last week’s 20.62 percent- now at 10.09 percent this week.

Extreme Drought or worse levels have decreased from 43.19 percent last week to 33.47 this week.

Severe Drought or worse saw some slight improvement, moving from last week’s 49.87 percent to 48.9 percent this week.

Moderate drought or worse is now at 52.47 percent, improving from last week’s 54.07 percent.

Abnormally dry or worse conditions have improved since last week, moving from last week’s 64.52 percent to 59.42 percent this week.

According to the 6 to 10-Day Precipitation Outlook Map, the northeast corner of the state, along with most of the panhandle region spilling over into western Oklahoma, is leaning above a 33 to 40 percent chance of precipitation through May 13. The far western edge of the panhandle is standing at a “near normal” chance of rain. The rest of the state is leaning above a 40 to 50 percent chance of rain through that May 13 date.

To view the United States Drought Monitor Report, click here.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, a pair of low pressure systems tracked from the Southeast northward along the East Coast, bringing a swath of widespread precipitation (2 to 4 inches, locally more) to much of the East Coast at the end of April. During the final week of April, the Southern Great Plains along with the Lower Mississippi Valley also received widespread precipitation with amounts exceeding 2 inches across southeastern Colorado, northern and eastern Oklahoma, and northeastern Texas. Late April was mostly dry across the Central to Northern Great Plains and Middle Mississippi Valley. Little to no precipitation was observed throughout the West where a significant warmup at the end of April resulted in rapid snowmelt, runoff, and flooding along streams and rivers. In contrast to these above-normal temperatures, cooler-than-normal temperatures occurred across the Great Plains, Corn Belt, and much of the East from April 25 to May 1.

In the Southern Plains, balancing longer term SPIs and recent widespread rainfall (1 to 3.5 inches), a 1-category improvement was made to parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Improvements were also made to parts of central Texas along with the Texas Gulf Coast after more than 1.5 inches of rainfall this past week. CPC’s leaky bucket soil moisture and 90 to 120-day SPI supported a slight expansion of moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought in west-central Texas. Based on soil moisture considerations and impact reports (very dry pastures), extreme (D3) drought was increased in coverage across the Texas Panhandle. The addition of abnormal dryness (D0) in east-central Tennessee was based on increasing 30-day deficits, SPEI, soil moisture, and 28-day average streamflows.

In the High Plains, rainfall of 1.5 to 2 inches, or more, during the past week along with SPI at various time scales and soil moisture supported a 1 to 2-category improvement to southeastern Colorado. For similar reasons, a 1-category improvement was made to southwestern Kansas. However, 12-month SPI still supports D3-D4 across much of western and central KS. Wichita has only received 0.72 inches of precipitation from March 1 to April 30, which made it the 2nd driest March and April on record and the driest since 1936. Based on the NDMC’s short and long-term objective blends and CPC’s leaky bucket soil moisture, D1-D3 expansion was warranted for northern Kansas and south-central Nebraska. D3 increased westward across west-central Nebraska following a very dry April. North Platte tied the driest April on record. Degradations were also made to southeastern Kansas based on 60 to 120-day SPEI. Abnormal dryness (D0) coverage increased in northeastern Wyoming based on recent dryness and declining soil moisture. A small improvement was made to the southwest corner of South Dakota, based on a local report that was consistent with VegDri and objective drought blends.

In the West, 30 to 60-day SPI along with soil moisture indicators support an expansion of abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1) across southeastern Montana. 30 to 90-day SPIs, recent warmth, and soil moisture led to a 1-category degradation in northwestern Montana. Following major improvements during the past few months across California and the Great Basin, no changes were made this week after little or no precipitation. Drought of varying intensity is designated for parts of Oregon and northern Idaho where precipitation averaged below-normal for the Water Year to Date (October 1, 2022 to May 1, 2023).

Looking ahead, during the next five days (May 4 – 8, 2023), moderate to heavy precipitation (0.5-1.5 inches, locally more) is forecast for the Pacific Northwest, Great Basin, Northern Rockies, and higher elevations of California. An active weather pattern is expected from the Great Plains east to the Mississippi Valley with varying 5-day precipitation amounts forecast. Following a very wet end to April along the East Coast, drier weather is forecast to be accompanied by a gradual warming trend across the East.

The Climate Prediction Center’s 6–10-day outlook (valid May 9-13) favors below-normal temperatures across the West, while above-normal temperatures are more likely throughout the central and eastern U.S. Elevated probabilities for above-normal precipitation are forecast for the Pacific Northwest, northern California, Great Plains, Mississippi Valley, and Southeast. Near normal precipitation amounts are favored for much of the Great Lakes and Northeast.

To view the 6-10 Day Precipitation Outlook Map, click here.

To view the 6-10 Day Temperature Outlook Map, click here.

To view the Monthly Drought Outlook Map, click here.

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