The Edmond Sun

Local News

May 20, 2014

Central Oklahoma registers 29-inch rain deficit

Holiday weekend forecast includes chances for rain

EDMOND — Chances for weekend precipitation may put a bit of a dent in the regions’ three-year, 29-inch rain deficit total.

The deficit is the departure from normal during the Oct. 1, 2010 to May 19, 2014 period, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet, a network of 120 automated monitoring stations spread across the state’s 77 counties.

At each site, the environment is measured by a set of instruments located on or near a 10-meter-tall tower. Measurements, packaged into observations, are transmitted to a central facility every five minutes, 24 hours a day year-round. The University of Oklahoma Climatological Survey verifies the quality of the data and provides the Mesonet to customers.

Other sites around the state have a greater deficit during the three-year period than central Oklahoma:

• South central: 41 inches below normal;

• Southwest: 35.5 inches below normal;

• East central: 33 inches below normal;

• West central: 33 inches below normal;

• Northeast: 32.6 inches below normal;

• Southeast: 32.2 inches below normal

As a result, drought conditions are intensifying and expanding in Oklahoma. Much of the western half of the state, including the Edmond area, is experiencing extreme to exceptional drought, the two most severe categories on the U.S. Drought Monitor’s five-level scale.

Extreme drought conditions are present in the northwestern half of Oklahoma County, severe drought in the southeastern half. Western Oklahoma and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles are enduring exceptional drought conditions.

Gary McManus, a state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said precipitation deficits are producing falling lake levels in some parts of the state. As of Tuesday, levels according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ report of reservoir conditions were:

• Tenkiller: 1.2 feet above normal;

• Eufaula: .4 feet above normal;

• Ft. Gibson: .9 feet above normal;

• Arcadia: normal;

• Ft. Cobb: 6 feet below normal;

• Texoma: 8.1 feet below normal;

• Skiatook: 11.4 feet below normal;

• Canton: 13 feet below normal

• Tom Steed: 16 feet below normal;

• Foss: 17 feet below normal;

• Altus: 31 feet below normal;

McManus said Altus Lake, located in southwest Oklahoma, is low in part because it serves as a source for irrigating farmland.

Arcadia Lake has 26 miles of shoreline and four parks with plenty of picnic areas. Fees vary depending on mode of transportation and number of people. Discounts are offered for military personnel and senior citizens. For more information, call 216-7470 or visit the parks and recreation section at edmondok.com.

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