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okiedawn1

Current Keetch-Byram Drought Index Map

Okiedawn OK Zone 7
11 years ago

I've linked the current Keetch-Byram Drought Index map below. It is a meant for firefighting uses, but I use it to track soil moisture levels. Because I've used it for so long, I know exactly what my soil is like when my KBDI is at 500 or 550 or 600, so I find it a useful tool. I also look at it to see how dry the rest of the state is.

As an FYI, in a normal year, you'd see KDBI numbers of 0-200 in spring, 200-400 in summer, 400-600 in fall and 600-800 in the winter dormant season. So, at this time of year, I consider anything above 400 to be pretty bad in terms of gardening, and once my area's KBDI hits 600 during the gardening season, it doesn't matter how much I water, the garden will not produce much. Some of y'all are at or above 600 already, or getting awfully close to it.

In firefighting terms, in our area we are not having many fires when we're in the 400s and they are relatively easy to extinguish. At 500, we are starting to have more serious issues, and at 600, it gets pretty crazy. Many counties like to have a burn ban in place before their area hits 600, and a lot of you may be seeing burn bans popping up in your counties now. The last time I looked, 23 of OK's 77 counties had active burn bans.

I'm watering the late corn, cukes, squash, okra, melons and beans this morning, and I've been yanking out tomato plants. The garden is begining the transition from the spring garden to the fall garden. How much I'll plant in the fall garden will depend on whether significant rain falls in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

One Mesonet station already shows a KBDI above 700. I suppose I don't even have to say just how bad things must be in that area. The highest KBDI I've ever seen in Love County since I began using this map was about 770 last year. Then it rained and knocked us back down into the lower 700s. I remember last year that at least Durant and Altus, and likely other areas as well, hit and exceeded 800.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Keetch Byram Drought Index Map

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