Drought conditions expected to persist after rain early next week
Wet weather this weekend is not expected to be severe but will be welcome as drought conditions persist across southern Oklahoma. Southwestern Carter County was among a portion of extreme drought on Thursday, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
“It’s definitely creeping up on you guys down there,” said Bruce Thoren, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman. “When you do have drought, it’s hard to stay that way,” he said.
With rain in the forecast beginning Monday Thoren didn’t expect any severe weather but said the rain amounts won’t be enough to pull the area out of the drought. The Ardmore Municipal Airport has received less than two inches of rain this year compared to nearly six inches normally received by this time of year, according to AccuWeather.
Small portions of southern Oklahoma were considered abnormally dry by the end of January. Moderate drought conditions were reported in significant sections of 15 southern Oklahoma counties according to Thursday’s drought monitor.
Severe drought conditions were reported across sections of Carter, Love and Jefferson counties. Portions of western Oklahoma were also under severe drought conditions with extreme drought conditions in Cimarron County.
Carter County Emergency Management Director Paul Tucker said that grass fires have been confirmed across the county this week. “Pretty much everywhere in the county, in all parts of the county. It's not limited to just one certain area,” he said.
“Pay attention to the weather. Winds and humidity are major players when it comes to fires. If the winds are up, like they are today, it’s not a good idea to burn,” Tucker said on Thursday.
While wind gusts were near 25 mph on Thursday, winds of 5 to 10 mph were expected on Friday, according to the National Weather Service on Thursday afternoon. Showers and possible thunderstorms were expected for the Ardmore area by Monday but Thoren believes that drought conditions will persist.
“It could be enough to put a dent. I don’t know if it’s going to be enough to take you out of it,” said Thoren.
“This is the time of year when people are burning stuff off to get ready for the growing season, and it is kind of dry. It’s good to use caution,” he said.