Despite spring rains, flash drought symptoms hit Oklahoma

by Leighona Bernstein, ThinkWater Communications

Get to higher ground, do not drive through standing water and proceed with caution around bodies of water. These are the typical warning for flash floods, but what about flash droughts? Though not as well know, flash droughts can strike as quickly and cause just as much damage as a flash flood.

            A flash drought occurs during a period of high temperatures and decreased moisture levels following heavy rainfall. Brian Fuchs, climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center, said what differentiates a flash drought from a regular drought is the quick onset of symptoms.

            Justin Moss, assistant professor and Huffine endowed professor of turfgrass science at Oklahoma State University, said flash droughts can take a toll on home landscapes and turfgrass.

            “It is very common for lawns in Oklahoma to get brown in August,” Moss said. “Stress from a flash drought can make usual issues worse, so it is important to save as much water as possible and not over-water a dormant lawn.”

            Even though, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, the spring rains ended Oklahoma’s chronic drought, Moss advises water conservation awareness.

            “We can’t get complacent,” Moss said. “Just because we got a bunch of rain, we have to save as much as we can. This flash drought is a good reminder of that.”

            Visit for more information on water conservation and drought awareness in Oklahoma. 

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