Wednesday, January 11, 2017

County Reported in Drought Situation

The southern part of Sequoyah County is described as being in a D3 extreme drought and the rest of the county is described as in a D2 severe drought condition by Oklahoma Mesonet.

Mesonet reports the average annual rainfall in Sallisaw is 48.2 inches. But in 2016 Sallisaw only recorded 33.46 inches of rain, a deficit of over 14 inches.

Steve Rutherford, Sequoyah County Emergency Management director, said he understands the county is about 14 inches down on rainfall.

“But that may change in the next few days,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford said Tuesday he had visited with weather predictors and other emergency managers and it is expected that the area will receive about 3 inches of rain over the weekend. An ice storm is predicted for Oklahoma north of Sequoyah County.

“We hope it stays north,” Rutherford said.

Sallisaw Fire Chief Anthony Armstrong said the area needs more than 3 inches of rain. Armstrong pointed out that the foliage is dead and with the drying winds in the state in the winter and spring months, wildfires can erupt at almost any time.

“It’s the nature of the beast,” Armstrong commented. “Dead foliage is easy to burn.”

Armstrong recommended those concerned keep up with the Oklahoma Forestry Services website, which reports on the weather and wildfires, Red Flag Warnings and Burn Bans. There are currently no warnings out for Sequoyah County.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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