Weekend rain alleviates drought conditions in Jackson County - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Weekend rain alleviates drought conditions in Jackson County

ALTUS, Okla._This past weekend's showers may have put a damper on some outdoor Memorial Day plans in the area, but in Altus and Jackson County, no one was complaining.

The Jackson County area received anywhere between three and five inches of rain over the past week. The cooler temperatures also mean the rain has stuck around, which means puddles actually formed for the first time in awhile.

This weekend's rain was definitely the talk of the town, but that doesn't mean Altus is out of the woods yet. The drought level might improve from an exceptional drought to an extreme drought but, unfortunately Altus will still stay under stage three water restrictions.

County Director for the Jackson County OSU extension office, Gary Strickland, says the rain couldn't have come at a better time for farmers.

"Jokingly, we all went outside and said what's this, what's this you know. But, it's just been wonderful. It's been a slow soaking rain," said Strickland.

Strickland says this will greatly help cotton farmers who started planting the end of last week. Prior to last week they had very few acres of cotton planted in the county because the ground was so dry.

"For the cotton that did get in the ground this should bring it up, if they got this amount of rainfall, it should bring that cotton up,” said Strickland. “Those that haven't gotten cotton planted yet, they'll have good moisture to plant into."

Altus Emergency Management Director, Lloyd Colston, says the rain is a start in the right direction but it doesn't mean the drought will be over anytime soon.

"Obviously if they go up five inches that's a little bit more in the lake but, having said that, we really want our citizens to conserve the water,” said Colston. “If you don't need to use it don't use it."

Strickland says the rain was too late to salvage the county's wheat crop. Over eighty percent has been destroyed due to the drought and the late spring freeze this year.

"I think most of us know that it won't take us out of the drought. We've had too many years of too little rainfall and our soil profiles are too depleted of moisture for one occurrence to remedy that," said Strickland.

The City of Altus is still under stage three water restrictions which means outdoor watering is limited to only one day a week. Colston encourages people to use rain barrels or to build wells to water their plants and grass.

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