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Oklahoma Drought Status Webinar: May 11, 2022

Event Date
May 11, 2022
Event Time
10:00 am - 11:00 am

Drought in Oklahoma began in fall 2021 and has expanded and worsened during early 2022. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows over one-third (36%) of the state in Extreme (D3) Drought and nearly a tenth (9.4%) in Exceptional (D4) Drought. During this webinar, Gary McManus, the Oklahoma State Climatologist, and Victor Murphy, from the National Weather Service, talked about current drought conditions, the long-range forecast, and the impact recent precipitation had on drought conditions across the state.

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Welcome to the Oklahoma Drought Conditions Webinar

Speaker: Joel Lisonbee, NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) / University of Colorado Boulder

  • Welcome
  • Introducing the speakers:
    • Gary McManus, Oklahoma State Climatologist, Oklahoma Mesonet, Oklahoma Climatological Survey
    • Victor Murphy, NOAA/National Weather Service Southern Region



Drought & Climate Conditions for Oklahoma

Speaker: Gary McManus, Oklahoma State Climatologist, Oklahoma Mesonet, Oklahoma Climatological Survey

  • The current drought began around August 2021 and intensified in December 2021.
    • December 2021 was the hottest December on record by over 5 degrees.
  • April/May saw drought relief in eastern Oklahoma.
  • This was the windiest March/April since Mesonet observations began in 1994.
    • Western Oklahoma has seen enhanced evapotranspiration, wildfires, and soil erosion and major dust storms.
  • So far, May precipitation has been an improvement with above-average precipitation in southwest Oklahoma, but more is needed to alleviate drought conditions.



Oklahoma Forecasts & Outlooks

Speaker: Victor Murphy, National Weather Service Southern Region

  • Except for the Panhandle, April–June is generally the wettest time of the year for Oklahoma.
    • The best chance for drought improvement would be during these months.
    • Basically, there are 6 to 8 weeks left for significant rain to improve conditions.
  • The eastern third of Oklahoma should remain drought-free through June.
  • Monsoonal rains in July–August will determine the post-summer drought status for the Panhandle.
  • The probability of drought recovery in July to September is quite small.
  • “Triple Dip” La Niña lessens chances for recovery in the 2022–2023 cold season.
  • Seasonal outlooks show a hot and dry summer is likely for most of Oklahoma



Questions & Answers

Moderator: Joel Lisonbee, NOAA/NIDIS, CIRES/CU Boulder