Drought Monitor

As of Jan. 4, almost three-quarters of Oklahoma was experiencing at least Severe Drought conditions. Payne County has implemented a ban on outdoor burning through Jan. 24. Provided

As of Jan. 4, 72.3% of Oklahoma was experiencing at least Severe Drought (D2) conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. More than 40% of the state was experiencing Extreme Drought (D3), but none was in Exceptional Drought, the most severe category.

Almost 95% of the state meets the criteria to be considered at least Abnormally Dry.

Only a small cluster of counties in eastern Oklahoma was not considered to be experiencing below normal moisture levels.

According to the Drought Monitor, a vast majority of state residents – almost 3.3 million of 3.95 million – are living in areas affected by drought.

The percentage in some level of drought, 88.14%, has decreased slightly since Dec. 28. But one year ago that total was 11.9%. 

Drought impacts by category

  • D0, Abnormally Dry – Crops are stressed, stock pond levels decline

  • D1, Moderate Drought – Crop and forage yields reduced, wildfire risk increases, lake recreation affected, deer reproduction is poor, seasonal creek and rain-fed pond levels are lower

  • D2, Severe Drought – Dry-land crops reduced, pasture growth is stunted, cattle are stressed, burn bans begin, trees show significant wilting, spring-fed ponds are slow to refill

  • D3, Extreme Drought – grasses are dormant and hay is nonexistent, planting is delayed and fields are spotty, emergency CRP grazing is authorized, cattle have little water and feed, wildfires increase in number and severity, fishing is down, boating is hazardous with low lake levels, game bird populations decline, air quality is poor with dust storms and smoke, lakes are critically low, producers haul water for cattle and wells are drying

  • D4 – Ground is cracking, farmers bail failed crops and abandon fields, pastures are bare, cost of hay and water is high and supplies are scarce, producers liquidate herds, burn restrictions increase, extended fire season causes rural fire departments to run out of funds, farmers and ranchers experience economic loss, water lines break, reservoir water levels near water system intake levels, water restrictions are implemented and water quality is poor

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