Flash Recovery Across the Southern Great Plains During the 2013 Warm Season

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Jeffrey B. Basara, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and M. Rowell, B. G. Illston, and G. McManus

During 2011 and 2012, intense drought spanned much of the Southern Great Plains and adjacent regions. The prolonged rainfall deficits led to decreased soil moisture and depleted vegetation, which in turn, led to record periods of heat across the region during the warm season. However, significant precipitation anomalies ranging from 200 - 400% of normal during the warm season of 2013 produced rapid "flash" recovery of rainfall deficits, soil moisture, and vegetation. By mid-August 2013, locations such as Oklahoma City had reached top-ten wettest years with months remaining in the calendar year. The heavy precipitation also impacted the local hydrology strained by years of drought. For example, on 1 April 2013 Lake Thunderbird in central Oklahoma was at 62% of capacity. However, due to the heavy precipitation and enhanced runoff, by 1 June 2013, the lake had reached capacity and was nearly 15% into the flood control pool. This study examined the various features responsible for the flash recovery and westward erosion of drought conditions.