Oklahoma continues to get scorched by extreme heat and drought. The entire state is now in extreme drought, and more than 70% of the state is in severe drought (or worse), up from 50% just a week ago.
According to Gary McManus of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, July was the 23rd month out of the last 28 to come in warmer than statewide averages. Bloomberg reports:
More than 64 temperature records were broken in Oklahoma during a scorching July, and additional ones fell across the state Wednesday on the first day of August, according to the National Climatic Data Center.
The National Weather Service reported that Guthrie, about 30 miles north of Oklahoma City, registered 114 degrees to break the statewide record of 113 degrees, set at Meeker in 1896 and tied in Ralston last year.
The Oklahoman reports:
The January through July statewide average of 63.9 degrees was easily the warmest on record for the first seven months of the year at 4.8 degrees above normal.
It’s not only been extremely hot, but very dry. The May through July statewide average rainfall total of 5.99 inches fell 6.25 inches below normal and ranked as the third-driest period on record, McManus said.
Norman and Watonga have each gone 56 consecutive days with less than a tenth of an inch of rain on any one day, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet weather network.
In some areas of Oklahoma, the drought has been like one solid punch. Since October 2010, areas in the western Oklahoma Panhandle have only had 17 to 20 inches of rainfall, McManus said.
Even as residents swelter in the relentless heat, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe continued his tirade about man-made global warming during a Senate hearing yesterday, saying the science had “collapsed.”
This isn’t the first piece of heat-related irony to hit Inhofe. Last year, the pro-pollution Senator had to cancel his keynote address at the Heartland Institute’s climate denial conference after getting sick from an algae bloom exacerbated by extreme heat and drought. He joked at the time, the “environment strikes back.”
But it’s no joke what we’re doing to the climate and what, as a result, the climate is starting to do to us — and the residents of parched Oklahoma City:
Skyrocketing water use in Oklahoma City during the worst of the ongoing heat wave has prompted officials to implement a mandatory water rationing system until conditions improve….
The rationing also applies to Oklahoma City suburbs that use city water. Utilities spokeswoman Debbie Ragan said cities and other areas affected by the rationing are Blanchard, Canadian County Rural Water District No. 3, Deer Creek Rural Water District, Edmond, El Reno, Moore, Mustang, Newcastle, Norman, Piedmont, Pottawatomie County Rural Water District No. 3, Shawnee, Warr Acres and Yukon.
UPDATE: After we published this piece, we saw reports from people on the ground in Stillwater that the melting streetlights were due to a nearby fire. The person who took the photo, Patrick Hunter, described the scene: “Being the person that actually took this photo, I’d say that this was due to a fire semi-close by coupled with the unbelievable heat we are experiencing. Still an amazing photo and not fake as many are saying on here. Enjoy!”
Here’s a picture from Stillwater, Oklahoma, where temperatures will reach has high as 115 degrees today. The photo comes from Patrick Hunter, who sent the picture to KFOR-TV.