Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Tulsa, OK

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Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service TULSA OK
155 PM CST Thu Dec 21 2017

...Moderate to Extreme Drought conditions expand across eastern
Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas...

Synopsis...

Drought conditions intensified over much of eastern Oklahoma and
northwest Arkansas over the last month, though rainfall this week
has brought some slight improvement.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) valid December 19,
2017, Extreme (D3) Drought conditions encompassed all of Choctaw
County in southeast Oklahoma.

Severe (D2) Drought conditions covered portions of Okfuskee,
McIntosh, Muskogee, Cherokee, Adair, Sequoyah, Haskell, Le Flore,
Latimer, Pittsburg, and Pushmataha Counties in eastern Oklahoma,
and Washington, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian
Counties in northwest Arkansas.

Moderate (D1) Drought conditions were present in portions of
Creek, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Muskogee, Wagoner, Mayes, and Delaware
Counties in Eastern Oklahoma, and Benton, Carroll, Washington,
and Madison Counties in Northwest Arkansas.

Abnormally Dry (D0) but not experiencing drought conditions exist
over the remainder of northeast Oklahoma.

The USDM is a collaborative effort between several government and
academic partners. It is a weekly national product issued on
Thursday morning using data collected through the previous Tuesday
morning, so it does not consider precipitation which has fallen
after the data cut-off time.

There are five levels of intensity depicted on the USDM. The USDM
levels are the following: D0 - Abnormally Dry (not in drought but
showing dryness) D1 - Moderate Drought D2 - Severe Drought D3 -
Extreme Drought D4 - Exceptional Drought

The local Drought Information Statement is issued by the NWS
office in Tulsa when needed to supplement the national USDM
product. Local statements may be issued monthly during times when
the USDM indicates severe drought conditions or as local
conditions warrant.

Summary of Impacts...

State and Local Actions:
The Oklahoma State Climate Office (Oklahoma Climatological
Survey, OCS) hosts recorded briefings focused on the current
conditions, impacts, and outlooks for drought conditions across
the Southern Plains. Updated drought briefings are available at
www.youtube.com/user/SCIPP01

Soil Moisture Impact:
The OCS daily averaged fractional water index for December 19,
2017 shows values of 0.7 to 1.0 (where 1.0 is saturated and 0.0 is
completely dry) at 2, 4, 10, and 24 inches below ground across
much of eastern Oklahoma. However, a few isolated areas had values
of 0.5 to 0.7 at various depths.

As of December 20, 2017, the Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast
Center (ABRFC) gridded soil  moisture indicates that the upper
zone, which responds to short term rainfall, is 20 to greater than
40 percent full across portions of northeast Oklahoma and greater
than 40 percent full across the remainder of eastern Okalhoma and
northwest Arkansas. This represents slightly agriculturally dry
to neutral conditions and corresponds to 50 to 150 percent of
normal. The lower zone was 15 to greater than 40 percent full,
representing moderate hydrologically dry to neutral conditions.
These lower zone anomalies were 30 to 150 percent of normal across
eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. A large portion of the
region in D1-D3 was 30 to 90 percent of normal.

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) calculated soil moisture
anomaly analysis as of December 19, 2017 showed soil moisture was
60-140 mm (2.4-5.5 inches) below normal across the D1-D3 area of
eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. Lesser deficits of 40-60
mm (1.6-2.4 inches) were located in the D0 area.

Fire Impacts:
County declared burn bans were in effect for the following
Oklahoma an Arkansas counties as of December 20, 2017: Wagoner,
Cherokee, Adair, McIntosh, Haskell, Pittsburg, Le Flore, and
Madison. The Arkansas Forestry Commission listed all northwest
Arkansas counties in Moderate Wildfire Danger. The Oklahoma
Forestry Services Daily Situation Report from December 15, 2017
stated: "Eastern Oklahoma: Timber fuels in the area have been
increasingly exhibiting fuels-driven fire behavior indicative of
drought influenced large fuel moisture with the most notable
observations in southeast Oklahoma. [...] larger fuels are
expected to burn with intensity posing increased mop-up demands.
[...] Pine dominated fuels in the east will have a tendency to
transition into canopy fuels anomalous to seasonal expectations."

Agriculture:
According to an Arkansas Farm Bureau interview on December 14,
2017 with a forage specialist for the Cooperative Extension
Service, fall forage production was low this year, which impacts
the hay stockpiles for use during the winter. Late fall and winter
forage crops were either not planted at all or are very short,
which will also put a lot of pressure on the hay supply through
the winter. A rancher in Gentry, AR (Benton Co.) commented on
December 13, 2017 that his cattle had already grazed the pasture
grasses down to nubs and ponds in the area were very low.

Climate Summary...

Over the past 7 days, a few hundredths to near 2.5 inches of rain
fell from northwest to southeast across eastern Oklahoma and
northwest Arkansas.

In the last 30 days, rainfall totals have ranged from around 0.50
to around 3 inches, with the lowest totals of 0.50 to 1 inch
occurring from north central into northeast Oklahoma.

According to OCS, for the last 30 days ending December 19, 2017,
northeast Oklahoma ranks as the 29th driest period since records
began in 1921. East central Oklahoma ranks as the 16th driest and
southeast Oklahoma ranks as the 33rd driest. Since the beginning
of the Water Year (October 1, 2017), northeast Oklahoma ranks as
the 49th wettest, east central Oklahoma ranks as the 24th driest,
and southeast Oklahoma ranks as the 19th driest.

Precipitation/Temperature Outlook...

There is a chance for precipitation on Friday and Friday night
across the area, with rain likely across southeast Oklahoma and
northwest and west central Arkansas. Some wintry precipitation
may also occur Friday night into early Saturday as colder air
filters into the region. Another round of mixed precipitation is
possible Tuesday night into Wednesday. Temperatures for the next
7 days will be near to slightly below normal for this time of
year.

The CPC 8-14 Day Outlook calls for an increased chance for below
normal temperatures and above normal rainfall across eastern
Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas.

Beyond this period, the CPC outlook for December 2017 (issued
November 30, 2017) indicates an equal chance for above, near, and
below normal temperatures and an enhanced chance for below median
precipitation across all of eastern Oklahoma and northwest
Arkansas.

Hydrologic Summary And Outlook...

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), the majority
of the area reservoirs were near the top of their conservation
pools. The following reservoirs were operating at more than 5
percent below the conservation pool level as of December 20, 2017:
Ft. Gibson Lake 51 percent, Hugo Lake 84 percent, Eufaula Lake 85
percent, Keystone Lake 85 percent, Tenkiller Lake 88 percent,
Beaver Lake 88 percent, and Copan Lake 90 percent.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the 7-day average
streamflow was near to much below normal across all of the river
basins in eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas.

Next Issuance Date...

This product will be updated on January 19, 2018 or sooner if
significant changes in drought conditions occur.


Related Websites...

U.S. Drought Portal
http://www.drought.gov

U.S. Drought Monitor
http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html

National Weather Service Tulsa
http://weather.gov/tulsa/drought_info
http://weather.gov/tulsa

Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center
http://weather.gov/abrfc/DROUGHT

Oklahoma Climatological Survey Drought Tools
http://climate.ok.gov/index.php/climate/category/drought_wildfire

Arkansas Forestry Commission
http://www.forestry.state.ar.us

Oklahoma Forestry Commission
http://www.dorestry.ok.gov

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District
http://www.swt-wc.usace.army.mil

U.S. Geological Survey Realtime Data
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt

Climate Prediction Center
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov


Acknowledgments...

The U.S. Drought Monitor is a collaborative effort between
several government and academic partners including the NWS, the
National Climatic Data Center, the USDA, state and regional
climatologists, and the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Information for this statement has been gathered from NWS and FAA
observation sites, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, the USACE
and the USGS.

Questions or Comments...

If you have any questions or comments about this drought
information statement, please contact,

National Weather Service Tulsa
10159 E. 11th St. Suite 300
Tulsa Oklahoma 74128
Phone:   918-838-7838
Email:   sr-tsa.webmaster@noaa.gov

$$



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