Oklahoma Mesonet data allowed the real-time observation of these events on the mesoscale, including the advent of real-time soil moisture data by the third episode. Mesonet information was incorporated into the state’s drought response plan, which was written in the wake of the 1995-96 episode. With improvements in the dissemination of Mesonet data, confidence grew in the instrumentation and in the interpretation of data. As a result, state officials were able to monitor the evolution of successive episodes increasingly well. This enabled quicker recognition of, and response to, drought conditions across the state.
Mesonet soil moisture observations revealed that portions of Oklahoma did not fully recover from the effects of the summer of 1998 by the onset of the summer 2000 episode. In these regions, the impacts of drought and heat were established more quickly and severely than in other regions of Oklahoma.