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. . . Ticker for September 24, 2015 . . .
September 24, 2015 September 24, 2015 September 24, 2015 September 24, 2015

Idabel, we have a problem

Make no mistake about it, the flash drought plaguing parts of the state right now
continues to intensify, especially across SE Oklahoma. For the first time since
May 12th, that awful red color (that one was for OSU fans) has appeared in the
state in McCurtain County.


Granted, it's a mere 0.69% of the state, but its appearance does not bode well
for the coming week or so as summer takes hold once again. That summer heat dome
that should have shown signs of fading away is going to intensify once again and
move over the Southern Plains. The ArkLaTex region up through NW Oklahoma will
continue to feel the effects.


There have been decent rains across the state over the last week or so, including
last night across the NW quarter.


But deficits still dominate the last 60-90 days despite that rain. The last
30 days in particular have been drastically dry, so we should be thankful for
what HAVE received.


Idabel has received 1.9 inches of rain since June 27th, Nearly 8 inches below
normal. And SW OK hasn't exactly fared wonderfully since then either. Check out
the Mesonet departure from normal map for June 27-Sept. 24 for the big picture.


The impacts to soil and vegetation (AHEM! In Oklahoma, we call that "agriculture")
are obvious, as evident on the Mesonet soil moisture maps. Topsoil moisture
availability has improved somewhat, but dig deeper and you're hittin gdust.


The relative greenness maps from Mesonet's OK-FIRE program show the dry
conditions spreading across the western half (the bare wheat fields are obvious,
no alarm there), but those reds and oranges also spread over to the forested
areas along the Red River to McCurtain County.


And OK-FIRE's Keetch-Byram Drought Index map has a bit too much dark red and
purple on it. Notice the red areas stretching up through C and WC Oklahoma into
the NW.


The lakes and reservoirs are also showing the impacts. Broken Bow, in particular,
is 4 feet down. Hefner and Overholser have dropped below normal as well, and
the lakes across western Oklahoma still show signs of the long-term drought.


One of the problems is the heat. It increases the evaporative stress as well
as keeps those plants thirsting for more. September has been about 3 degrees
above normal thus far with a statewide average of 76.9 degrees. High temps
have been about 3.3 degrees above normal and the low temps about 4.1 degrees
above normal.

And it's going to continue.


It ain't 100s, but 90s in late September/early October are still about 10-15
degrees above normal. Highs for this time of the year are in the low 80s, with
a fast plunge into the mid-70s by the first week of October. Check out this
graph of statewide average air temps (2000-2014) from the Mesonet.


Looking even farther out? Idabel, we have a problem.


Gary McManus
State Climatologist
Oklahoma Mesonet
Oklahoma Climatological Survey
(405) 325-2253
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