OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Drought conditions across Oklahoma have expanded and worsened despite recent rainfall in the state, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday.
The report shows exceptional drought, the worst possible category, covering about 39 percent of the state, mostly in western Oklahoma and parts of the Panhandle, but also with a swath of northeastern Oklahoma.
Nearly all other areas of the state are in extreme drought, the exceptions being severe drought in small parts of southeastern Oklahoma and the Panhandle.
Isolated rainfall that fell Tuesday and Thursday had done little to ease the conditions, according to associate state climatologist Gary McManus.
“There just wasn’t enough really to impact most of the state,” McManus said.
Particularly hard hit by the drought is the Oklahoma cotton crop, said Altus cotton farmer Mark Nichols.
“The crop is going to be a zero,” Nichols said, with most farmers already giving up on harvest, which generally begins in late September, and planning to file for federal crop insurance.
The National Weather Service forecast was for a 40 to 60 percent chance for rains in the region Friday and Saturday.
Nichols said rains would help cotton crops that have been irrigated, but not those in the Lake Altus-Lugert Irrigation District, where the lake level is so low that farmers have not been allowed to pull water from it.