- Associated Press - Sunday, December 4, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A lack of rainfall combined with the third-warmest November since record-keeping began in 1895 has intensified and spread drought conditions across Oklahoma.

Overall, nearly 57 percent of Oklahoma is in moderate to extreme drought and another 28 percent is rated as abnormally dry. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows extreme drought in nearly 3 percent of southeastern Oklahoma and severe drought in the southeast and the Panhandle region.

The December forecast shows drought continuing in much of the eastern half of the state and in the Panhandle.

Oklahoma began 2016 with no drought, and as recently as three months ago drought was reported in 14 percent of the state, abnormally dry conditions in 34 percent and no drought in 52 percent.

State climatologist Gary McManus said the statewide average rainfall total for November was 1.23 inches, 1.28 inches below normal, while the average temperature of 54.6 degrees was the third warmest for the month on record.

The climatological fall months of September-November, statewide, averaged 6.44 inches of rain, more than 3 inches below normal.

Daytime highs in the 70s and 80s were routine during November. Buffalo, in northwestern Oklahoma, reached 90 degrees on Nov. 16 to break the all-time statewide high for that date, besting the previous record of 89 degrees set at Fort Reno in 1894.

The climatological fall was the second-warmest on record at 65.6 degrees, 4.8 degrees above normal and lower only than the record of 66.4 degrees set in 1931.

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