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June 9, 2014

Rain fills Arcadia Lake, eases drought

EDMOND — Recent rains have benefited many locations in Oklahoma including one city that has received more than 10 inches since May 21.

Gary McManus, state climatologist with the Oklahoma Mesonet and the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, reported Monday that Oklahoma is experiencing the 16th wettest May 21-June 9 period dating back to at least 1921.

Mid-may through mid-June is normally the wettest time of the year for most of the state, so having 156 percent of the normal rainfall through that period is significant, McManus blogged in Monday’s Mesonet Ticker.

McManus posted rainfall totals accumulated during that period. They include:

• Porter — 10.02 inches;

• Blackwell — 8.28 inches;

• Hobart — 7.91 inches;

• Altus — 7.10 inches;

• Fort Cobb — 7.04 inches;

• OKC West — 6.81 inches;

• Bristow — 6.78 inches;

• Centrahoma — 6.41 inches;

• Spencer — 6.37 inches;

• Pauls Valley — 6.28 inches; and

• Ada — 6.18 inches.

Parts of northern Oklahoma County received about 1.5 inches of rain during the three-day period ending at 11:05 a.m. Monday, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet. The highest totals were south of Interstate 40. Portions of the Panhandle received more than an inch of rain during the period.

McManus stated the reason the rainfall is so important is the Jan. 1-May 20 rainfall trainwreck, which left much of the western two-thirds of the state experiencing drought conditions.

As of June 3, most of Oklahoma County was experiencing extreme drought, the next to highest category on the U.S. Drought Monitor’s five-level drought intensity scale. Much of the western two-thirds of the state was experiencing severe to exceptional drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor updates conditions each Thursday.

The rainfall is also aiding Oklahoma lakes that had been below normal — Arcadia Lake was not among them. Tom Steed Lake, Altus’ main drinking supply that had hovered close to 20 percent of capacity for the past few months, is now up to 28 percent and still filling, McManus reported.

On Monday, Arcadia Lake’s water level was 2 feet above normal, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ current readings.

City of Edmond spokesman Casey Moore said the  borders of the Arcadia Lake-Deep Fork (Spring Creek) Watershed in Edmond are roughly Danforth Road to the north and Broadway to the west; the south border is in Oklahoma City.

Moore said the Deep Fork does discharge into Arcadia Lake. Spring Creek is the major stream in Edmond that empties to Arcadia Lake. Areas around the city in the watershed include the KickingBird Golf Club, the University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma Christian School, Hafer Park and Fink Park.

Regarding burning with city-issued permits, Brian Davis, the Edmond Fire Department’s emergency medical services chief, said since the governor’s burn was lifted last week the city has been back to allowing burning when conditions allow.

“The local picture looks good, however, the vegetation above ground can still be extremely dry and caution still needs to be used including never leaving the site unattended,” Davis said.

For more information about getting a burning permit, visit the Public Safety section at edmondok.com.

With Independence Day approaching, the city does not allow any type of firework with the exception of commercial or professional permitted and inspected sites, Davis said. Sky lanterns also are not allowed.

Regarding the future, McManus cautioned that drought relief is a process just like the process that caused drought. The first rains in May moistened the soil and now rainfall can become runoff in lakes.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121/ ext. 108

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