Drought conditions worsen in Tulsa County, rest of state
BY Staff Reports
Thursday, August 09, 2012
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Drought conditions worsened with high temperatures and low rainfall in Tulsa County, as well as the rest of Oklahoma.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, all of Tulsa County is now classified as D3 for extreme drought. Last week, parts of northern Tulsa County were still classified as D2 for severe drought.
Nearly 97 percent of the state is D3 or worse, with 16 percent of the state under the worst classification, D4 for exceptional drought.
However, conditions are much better statewide than they were last year during the first week of August, according to the monitor. 64 percent of the state was classified as D4 at the beginning of August last year.
The worst drought conditions statewide peaked at the end of August through the beginning of September last year, according to the drought monitor. During those weeks, more than 69 percent of the state was classified as D4.
The last time Tulsa County did not have any drought classification was March 20 through May 22 this year.
U.S. Drought Monitor classification scale
D0: Abnormally dry. Area on watch for drought, likely to raise classification soon without rainfall.
D1: Moderate drought. First damages to crops, slowdown in pastures, water shortages start.
D2: Severe drought. Crop and pasture losses accelerate, water shortages and restrictions, burn bans start. Also triggers farm relief programs.
D3: Extreme drought. Long- and short-term precipitation shortage work together for crop and pasture damage and water shortages.
D4: Exceptional drought. Agricultural emergencies, widespread losses, a once-in- 50-year drought event.
What is the U.S. Drought Monitor?
Created in 1999 as a cooperation of local, state and federal authorities
Assesses the drought situation nationwide using a five-step scale, from D0 for abnormally dry through D4 for exceptional drought
Monitors drought factors including lake and pond levels, rainfall, crop reports, wildfires and fire danger, temperatures, soil moisture
Used to institute burn bans and agricultural relief programs
Updated weekly on Thursdays
Source: Gary McManus, associate state climatologist, Oklahoma Climatological Survey