October rains didn’t completely eliminate drought conditions in Oklahoma, but most of the state is drought free.
A swath of northeast Oklahoma remains abnormally dry or in moderate drought conditions.
Of course, the moderate drought conditions include the southeastern part of Osage County, the southern part of Washington County and just a sliver of southwestern Nowata County, according to the United State Drought Monitor map, which was released Thursday.
Oklahoma continued to receive above normal rainfall totals in October. It was the third straight month that moisture was abnormally plentiful.
“The wet August-October nearly eradicated drought across the state,” state climatologist Gary McManus said. “Drought dropped from 55 percent of the state at the beginning of August to less the two percent at the end of October according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.”
Sixty-eight of the Oklahoma Mesonet’s 120 reporting sites recorded at least six inches of rain last month, and 13 of those showed more than 10 inches of rain. It was a sixth wettest October since 1895 with a rainfall surplus of 3.24 inches across the state.
“Oklahomans experienced the gamut of their state’s annual weather hazards during October,” McManus said. “Flooding rains, extreme heat, an arctic blast, the season’s first snow, severe thunderstorms and a slew of tornadoes — all were present during an active weather month.”
McManus pointed to the weak tornado that hit Fairfax on Oct. 7, damaging roofs and power poles. On Oct. 9, eight tornadoes touched down in the Oklahoma City area. The twisters damaged homes and businesses. No injuries were reported.
The state’s first measurable snow fall occurred on Oct. 14 in the western Panhandle. More snow was reported in the Panhandle on a cold, dreary Halloween, he said.
The Climate Prediction Center forecasts increased odds of below normal temperatures for all but the far western Panhandle and above normal precipitation across the state, McManus said.
“That results in a November drought outlook with complete drought removal likely in northeastern Oklahoma, and no new development across the rest of the state,” he said.