“A flash drought is exactly what its name implies – a more rapid development of drought (monthly time scale) as compared to its normal time scale (seasonal). The distinction is very much akin to the difference between river flooding and flash flooding … the time scale is the key.”- Mesonet
While flash droughts normally start in the summer months, this hasn’t been a normal year. We have had all of the necessary ingredients for a flash drought: lack of rain, hot weather, and lots of sun. We have also been having a lot of windy weather which also dries things out more quickly.
Oklahoma is still feeling the stress from last year’s devastating drought. It was a stress on our economy as well as the land itself. Oklahomans are still dealing with all of the dead trees, damage from all of the wildfires and of course the strain that was felt by farmers and ranchers. Farmers and ranchers have also been dealing with issues from the early spring. Spring grasses have been competing with summer grasses leading to worries about feeding livestock this summer. Bugs are also out in larger numbers this year since we didn’t have much of a winter to kill them off.
In the last 30 days, Oklahoma is down 2.25 inches of rain statewide and as much as 3.74 inches in southeastern Oklahoma. The last time southeastern Oklahoma was that dry for this period of time was in 1988, which is the driest May on record. That year saw a fairly significant and damaging summer drought.
What has helped Oklahoma so far is the large amount of rainfall in April but with the heat and wind the soil is being dried out quickly. There is good news, rain is in the forecast for next week and it would provide some much needed relief but Oklahoma should be aware that current conditions could lead to a drought again this summer.
Are you concerned about the flash drought? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.
Photo Credit: Al Jazeera English
About the Author
Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and freelance writer. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.