Oklahoma Looks to Cooler Weather to Ease Drought

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The cooler temperatures in Oklahoma predicted for Thursday and the five days thereafter might put a dent in the effects of the extreme and exceptional drought conditions. The chances of showers for Thursday, Friday and Saturday would be even more appreciated by the Sooner State's residents if the precipitation comes their way.

Wildfire Dangers Extend into Autumn

Dried vegetation, from lawns and crops to trees and empty ponds, that have resulted from the 2012 drought season continue to present fuel just ripe for even a small fire to become out of hand.

Add to the mix the wind advisory for 76 of Oklahoma's 77 counties for today and tonight and then again on Thursday and you have not only fuel, but the means for a fire to spread rapidly. The spread component for a fire, via Mesonet.org , for today ranges from zero feet to nine feet per minute in the eastern portion of the state, extending into mid-central Oklahoma to between 40 feet to 119 feet per minute in western Oklahoma and the eastern part of the panhandle.

A governor-declared burn ban is in effect for 33 counties. Remember, even where the bans aren't in effect, a discarded cigarette or burning trash has the potential to create disaster.

Drought Effects Linger

Even though some areas of the state received rain in September, the effects of extreme and exceptional drought require more than a little precipitation to begin to make a difference in areas such as soil moisture and improvement in water levels in ponds, lakes and reservoirs.

EnidNews.com revealed that associate state climatologist Gary McManus estimated that lakes are 20 percent to 30 percent lower than their normal levels statewide. Winter is usually a dry season in Oklahoma, but McManus shared that the winter is supposed to bring El Nino to the state; El Nino is usually associated with above-normal rainfall. Whether that prediction comes to pass, no one can be certain.

Drought Brings Diversity of Crops to Some Oklahoma Farmers

Rodney and Karen Jones of Enid were interviewed by TheDailyBeast.com at the Oklahoma State Fair. The Jones' own a 3,000-acre farm, one that has been in the family for three generations.

Karen Jones explained that until the last six years, nothing but wheat had been grown on the land. But the family, like other farmers in their area, have begun no-till farming, a method where what's left of the crops remains from one season to the next, keeping the land in place. This type of farming requires crop rotation.

Even with the Jones' change in farming methods, Rodney estimated that the last two years of drought have cost the family about $350,000.

Bottom Line

Although summer is behind Oklahoma for this year, the drought and its effects will undoubtedly be felt for some time to come -- for farmers, ranchers and consumers.

Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.

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