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More ‘Above Normal’ Rain Predicted As Communities Combat Flooding

Sue Ogrocki/AP
Flooding in Kingfisher, Okla. is pictured Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Flooding following heavy rains was an issue across the state.

May was one of the wettest months ever in Oklahoma, with parts of the state receiving record rainfall. Many communities are still dealing with the aftermath, and those efforts could be complicated by more heavy rain this month.


“We do see increased odds for above normal precipitation during the first two weeks during June,” said Gary McManus, Oklahoma’s State Climatologist.”That is significant because June is our wettest month of the year.”


With the ground saturated, even small amounts of rain could worsen flooding.


“Any above normal precipitation during June will continue to exacerbate the problems that we've had during that late April through May period with all the flooding,” McManus said.


According to McManus, rain in Kansas could also adversely affect Oklahoma as it flows downstream.


The Oklahoma Climatological survey divides the state into nine climate zones. The north central zone and northeastern zones received the most rainfall in May, with some locations recording over 19 inches.



Flooding has plagued communities along the Arkansas River, from Ponca City to Tulsa. The Department of Emergency Management says there were evacuations in at least 12 counties during May and that an estimated 1,500 homes were damaged.


According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 118 injuries were reported by hospitals due to flooding and severe weather, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner documented 11 fatalities.


Caroline produced Capitol Insider and did general assignment reporting from 2018 to 2019. She joined KGOU after a stint at Marfa Public Radio, where she covered a wide range of local and regional issues in far west Texas. Previously, she reported on state politics for KTOO Public Media in Alaska and various outlets in Washington State.
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