drought

U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor says more than 1.8 million Oklahomans are being affected by an ongoing, deepening drought.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board says that in the past month, the percentage of Oklahoma classified as being in exceptional drought has decreased slightly, but more than 60% of the state still remains classified in moderate drought or worse.

One of Congress' most vocal skeptics of climate change is backing a measure saying it is real and not a hoax — but says it's arrogance to believe human beings are causing it.

In a surprise move, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined an effort Wednesday by Democrats to get the GOP on the record about climate science. The Republican-controlled Senate backed the non-binding measure 98-1 Wednesday. It reads, "Climate change is real and not a hoax."

Many Republicans deny the science or say they don't have the expertise to form an opinion. Inhofe said Wednesday he doesn't buy what most scientists accept — that the burning of fossil fuels from human activities is to blame.

Will Archer, manager of the Mountain Park Master Conservancy District, at the Tom Steed Reservoir dam.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Most of western Oklahoma is in its fifth year of drought with still no end in sight, despite a wetter than normal end to 2014.  And many of the lakes communities rely on for drinking water are now on the verge of being too low to use. The situation is most dire in Altus, Duncan, and Canton.

Tom Steed Lake

The December 30, 2014 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor for Oklahoma.
U.S. Drought Monitor

The drought in southwest Oklahoma has lingered for more than four years now, and it will take more than a wet end to 2014 to stop it — a lot more.

Despite receiving above average December precipitation, the City of Duncan will ban all outdoor watering beginning next week. That’s because water levels in Waurika Lake, Duncan’s only current drinking water source, continue to drop.

Lisa Davis (right) with the advocacy group Save Lake Texoma near the Rooster Creek Bridge at Lake Texoma State Park.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

It's a new year in Oklahoma, but the same old drought is still here.

The U.S. Drought Monitor says Oklahoma's lingering drought barely budged for the second consecutive week.

The report says about 62 percent of the state remains in drought. The Oklahoman reports that nearly 22 percent of Oklahoma was listed in extreme or exceptional drought.

The drought's worst effects are in southwestern and western Oklahoma. Many of those areas have been in drought since October 2010.

Vicki / Flickr.com

The U.S. Drought Monitor says almost 1.5 million Oklahomans are being affected by drought.

In the past month, the percentage of Oklahoma classified as being in exceptional drought has increased slightly from about 5 percent to almost 6 percent. Most of the areas experiencing exceptional drought are in the southwest corner of the state with a small area in northern Ellis County.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the terms of a plan to further study the Upper Red River Basin as part of the Water SMART Basin Studies Program.

The study, which has an estimated cost of approximately $1.4 million, will help Oklahoma’s southwest corner find ways to best conserve and manage the water they draw from the Upper Red River Basin. Southwest Oklahoma, Planning and Management Division Chief Julie Cunningham said, has been the region most affected by recent drought conditions in the state.

cows
SoonerPA / Flickr Creative Commons

The ongoing drought in Oklahoma affects everyone in the country. Well, everyone who likes to eat beef, that is. Beef and veal prices will have risen by about 11.5 percent in 2014, and, as Reuters reports, “will increase significantly again in 2015″ because of drought in the Southern Plains.

Al Jazeera English / Flickr.com

Small businesses in 12 Oklahoma counties and two counties in Kansas have one month left to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration drought disaster loans.

Tanya N. Garfield, director of the SBA program, says businesses have until Jan. 14 to seek a federal disaster loan for economic injury.

Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department

The board that oversees the water distribution of Waurika Lake says drought conditions continue to affect the lake, which is used as a water source in southwest Oklahoma.

Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District Director David Taylor says the Waurika Lake watershed has received just 14.7 inches of rain this year. According to the Lawton Constitution, Taylor estimates that the lake has enough usable water to last until March 2016.

Taylor says rehabilitation and maintenance work to the lake could increase that time to January 2017.

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