TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — The lack of rain and very high temperatures across the Southern Plains has caused a "flash drought" to develop.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 100% of Oklahoma is experiencing drought, compared to 41% only three weeks ago.
At least 22% of the state is currently experiencing severe drought.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the rapid onset of drought conditions is known as a "flash drought".
In Tulsa, temperatures overall have been above normal since early June. A tenth of an inch of rain was last recorded on June 10, over a month ago.
The summer so far has already produced above-average 100-degree days and 80-degree low-temperature days.
Combine this hot and dry weather pattern with intense sunshine, the soil across the state is drying out, also known as evapotranspiration.
Evapotranspiration is the process of water being transferred from the land to the atmosphere through evaporation from soils and transpiration from plants.
This process decreases the soil moisture, a fast process and can rapidly lead to drought conditions.
A "flash drought" may develop under because of other contributing factors.
According to NOAA, a La Niña phase in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate phenomenon can be a cause due to the phase favoring warmer and drier summers across the southern U.S.
One study said the 2012 "flash drought" occurred after back-to-back La Niña events, which further highlighted the effects of ENSO on rapid drought development over the U.S.
The Climate Prediction Center expects the current La Niña to last through the rest of the year, which has been in effect since the summer of 2020.
Vegetations become stressed due to the rapid drying out of soil.
Lawns that are not irrigated turn from green to brown.
Negative impacts to agriculture and other environmental economies can evolve quickly or while drought conditions intensify.
According to NOAA, the 2012 "flash drought" across the Great Plains caused an estimated $30 billion in damages.
Since La Niña is expected to continue through the rest of the year, hot and dry conditions are also expected to continue.
The forecast calls for more hot and dry weather.
Most across Oklahoma and Texas won't see a drop of rain through the upcoming weekend.
Highs will continue to run several degrees above the normal, which is 94 degrees Fahrenheit for the middle of July.
Tulsa may also experience its hottest temperatures since 2012 on Tuesday when the forecast calls for 108 degrees.
If drought were to become severe or extreme over the Southern Plains, it may be harder for the hot and dry weather pattern to break down.
For now, not much change is seen in the Climate Prediction Center's outlook.