A cow stands near the edge of a pond along 102nd Thursday. The Oklahoma Mesonet site near Breckinridge has recorded just 0.04 of an inch of rain so far in 2014. (Staff Photo by BILLY HEFTON)

The U.S. Drought Monitor defines the five categories of drought used in the weekly report and the possible impacts that could be seen in the state of Oklahoma. More information can be found by visiting www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu

1. What does D0-Abnormally dry mean?

Crops are stressed (wheat, canola, alfalfa, pecans); winter wheat germination is delayed. Stock pond levels decline.

D0 areas are not in drought, but are experiencing abnormally dry conditions that could turn into drought or are recovering from drought but are not yet back to normal.

2. What does D1-Moderate drought entail? 

Summer crop and forage yields are reduced. Wildfire risk increases. Lake recreation activities are affected; deer reproduction is poor. Seasonal creek and rainfed pond levels are lowering.

3. What are the possible impacts from a D2-Severe drought? 

Dryland crops are severely reduced; pasture growth is stunted. Cattle are stressed. Burn bans begin. Trees show significant wilting. Springfed ponds are slow to refill.

4. How bad is a D3-Extreme Drought? 

Grasses are dormant and hay is nonexistent; planting is delayed; fields are spotty; emergency CRP grazing is authorized. Cattle have little water and feed. Wildfires are increasing in number and severity. Fishing is down; boating is hazardous with low lake levels; game bird populations decline. Air quality is poor, with dust storms and smoke. Lakes are critically low; producers are hauling water for cattle; wells are drying.

5. What is D4-Exceptional drought? 

Ground is cracking; farmers are bailing failed crops or abandoning fields; pastures are bare; land is abandoned. Cost of hay and water is high and supplies are scarce; producers are liquidating herds. Burn restrictions increase. Fire season is long; rural fire departments are running out of finances. Ranchers and farmers are desperate and experiencing huge economic loss. Water lines are breaking; reservoir levels are nearing intake; mandatory water restrictions are implemented; water quality is poor.

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