Winterstormbringsmixofpreci.cfm Winter storm brings mix of precipitation
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Winter storm brings mix of precipitation


The last week of January brought a wintery mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow to the state, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Oklahoma Field Office, Feb. 2.

The precipitation combined with below freezing temperatures caused all of Oklahoma to be impacted by the ice storm. Governor Henry declared a State of Emergency for all 77 of the state's counties Jan. 26. The Governor said, "Oklahomans know all too well that severe winter weather poses serious challenges to everything from roads and power lines to debris removal, and so it is important that we be prepared for the worst." Roads were slick and icy for most of the week, many people were without power, and five deaths were reported before conditions improved. Despite the winter weather, much of Oklahoma remained in need of moisture. The state averaged only 0.69 inches of rainfall during the month of January. Topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions continued to diminish. Eighty-four percent of the state's topsoil and 75 percent of the state's subsoil were reported having short to very short moisture levels.

According to a recent news article, Dr. Derrell Peel of Oklahoma State University wrote, "The entire state of Oklahoma has gotten significantly dry over the past 90 days." He added that "much of the principal wheat production area in the state is in the driest regions and wheat pasture conditions have deteriorated significantly in recent weeks. In many areas wheat has grown little or none recently and cattle are rapidly depleting available forage supplies. Some stocker producers have already destocked and many others are faced with imminent destocking of wheat pasture." In isolated areas, producers had begun topdressing wheat fields. Winter wheat grazed reached 33 percent, seven points behind normal, and rye grazed reached 51 percent, 14 points behind normal.

Sixty-three percent of the state's pasture and range were in good to fair condition by the end of January. Burn bans were in effect for approximately 30 counties across the state.

Livestock were rated in mostly good to fair condition. Livestock marketings remained average. Some producers were supplementing with hay and cubes in areas where pasture was minimal. Water for livestock remained a concern in some locations due to low pond levels and limited rainfall.

Date: 2/5/09


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