What a wild weather week we have had! While the area certainly needed the moisture, it came quite quickly. Below is an article the Norman Transcript posted about the storms and they have some good photos as well. If your business or home has water inside of it, it is very important to get that extracted as soon as possible. We have a little information on our water restoration page that discusses those dangers.
By Joel Pruett The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — A National Weather Service meteorologist said 2012’s total precipitation jumped by 109 percent Monday after the Norman area saw 4.3 inches of rain by 7 p.m.
Before Monday, the city had seen 3.95 inches for 2012 after 14 days of events generating measurable precipitation.
The deluge also caused flooding throughout central Oklahoma.
According to the service, eight counties — including Cleveland County — remained under a flash flood warning through early afternoon and 12 counties remained under a flash flood watch.
“This is the largest significant rainfall we’ve had this year,” said weather service meteorologist John Pike.
He said the Blanchard and Newcastle areas also saw substantial rain during Monday’s storm, with about 3 inches there by early afternoon.
Although he could not confirm lightning strikes as the cause, Norman’s Assistant Fire Chief Travis King said he thought it possible that lightning could be responsible for Monday’s many fire alarm reports. Dispatchers reported that they received nine fire alarm calls by about 1 p.m.
Pike said the weather service is only aware of one lightning strike, which struck an experimental radar at the University of Oklahoma, east of the National Weather Center.
Benefits for area agriculture
Although the storm might have disrupted traffic and occasionally power, some say it has had positive effects, too.
“I think it’s our first step in getting out of the bad situation that we’ve been in for so many months,” said Heath Herje, agriculture educator for Oklahoma State University Extension.
Herje said Norman isn’t “out of the woods,” though, when it comes to the area’s drought conditions.
“I certainly don’t feel like this is a foolproof deal,” he said. “It’s still very important that folks focus on weed control, focus on fertility and things like that (and) deferring grazing if they need to.”
He said we need to see some very specific type of weather if the area is going to fully recover from drought conditions that linger since the heat wave of 2011.
“Right now, we need some substantial events. We need over two inches and preferrably even some three- or maybe four-inch rainfall events consistently over the next few months,” he said. “I’m talking about two to four inch events spread out over a day or two would be fantastic to have.“
He said the rain needs to be spread out over 48 to 72 hours or it can be too much for area topsoil.
“We don’t want it to come all at once because that could cause flooding and topsoil loss, and we don’t want that,” Herje said.
Although much of Monday’s rain came in a short spurt, Herje said land covered with Bermuda grass or range land should not have suffered significant erosion due to the presence of permanent grasses, though he said the Lexington and Noble areas, where some people have recently tilled to plant corn, may have more noticeable erosion.
Pacing not important for lake
Although Herje had concerns over the speed with which Norman’s 4.3 inches fell on Monday, Lake Thunderbird Park Manager Keith Owen made no complaints.
“The park’s starting to look really good,” he said.
Not only will the rain bring new growth to the park, but it also raises the lake to healthier water levels.
Owen said 1,039 feet is the best pool elevation for the lake, though he said it was getting closer at 1,034.5 feet this afternoon. He said that the lake had risen half an inch between the time the rains began and about 5 p.m., though he said the lake could rise an additional 0.5 to 1.5 inches as area runoff collects in the lake.
He said he does, however, share Herje’s concerns over area driness, as the soil could soak up more water rather than allowing it to runoff to the lake.
He said all of the puddling in Norman is a good sign that much of the water could make it to the lake, though.
As the lake level rises, it will mean better fishing for area anglers, who will have more access to fish spawning areas with higher water levels, and it will also mean a better park experience for the casual naturalist.
“It will just be nice to have that water moving up the beach,” he said. “With the water low, it’s kind of made our swim beaches more beach than swim.”
Owen said he thinks a couple more spring rains could bring the lake back to normal water levels.
Pike said the storm system moved in slightly after 7 a.m. Monday and is forecast to remain until as late as Thursday evening. The area is forecast to see intermittent rain while the sytem remains.
For Monday, he said, Norman could see up to 6 total inches.
Joel Pruett 366-3540 firstname.lastname@example.org