Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Parched" -- Drought in Oklahoma

For those of us who live in California, we have been blessed with a great deal of rain this year.  Our reservoirs are full or nearly so.  Our rivers are flowing and the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is well above average.  Governor Brown recently declared an official end to California's three-year drought. 

Unfortunately, the same is not true in Oklahoma.  A recent feature story in the Purcell Register, where Elliot is currently assigned, tells the story of the terrible drought affecting Oklahoma:

Storm clouds usually darken the skies in the spring dropping inch after inch of rain on fertile farmland.

For the spring of 2011, those clouds have not been storm clouds, but clouds of smoke from wildfires blazing across the countryside.

McClain County and a huge section of central, south central and western Oklahoma are in a severe drought.
Another report confirms that virtually the entire state is affected:
The situation is most dire in southwestern Oklahoma, where Tillman and portions of Cotton and Jackson counties were classified as being in extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday. All but the northeastern corner of the state is experiencing some degree of drought.
The last good rain was in November, and the snow that fell in February was too dry to amount to much moisture.
Reservoir levels are low, crops are drying up, and the state has suffered the driest four months since the Dust BowlPrayer has become one of the most used tools of Oklahoma farmers:
Zac [Harris, of Hobart, Oklahoma], a fourth-generation farmer and rancher said, “Rain is mentioned more toward the first in our prayers and again at the last.”
In neighboring Texas, Governor Perry has declared a weekend of prayer:
"I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal and robust way of life."
Oklahomans and Texans would undoubtedly invite all of us to join them in prayer in an effort to find relief from this drought.

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