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Rural Oklahoma county has seen 9 federal disasters but none as punishing as the drought

  • 7eddbab8654beb03270f6a706700d3e2.jpg

    In this Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 photo, Caddo County farmer Karen Krehbiel examines unharvested milo on her family’s farm near Hydro, Okla. Not all of the farm’s milo fields were irrigated because of an ongoing drought, the latest natural disaster to strike the county, which also has been beset in recent years by floods, tornadoes, ice storms and hail. (AP Photo/Sean Murphy) (The Associated Press)

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    In this Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 photo, Caddo County farmer Karen Krehbiel holds unharvested milo in her hands at her family's farm near Hydro, Okla. Not all of the farm's milo fields were irrigated because of an ongoing drought, the latest natural disaster to strike the county, which also has been beset in recent years by floods, tornadoes, ice storms and hail. (AP Photo/Sean Murphy) (The Associated Press)

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    In this Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 photo, Caddo County farmer Karen Krehbiel calls out to several rams on the family’s farm near Hydro, Okla. Krehbiel said the grazing pasture for the rams is nearly decimated because of the ongoing drought, the latest natural disaster to strike the county, which also has been beset in recent years by floods, tornadoes, ice storms and hail. (AP Photo/Sean Murphy) (The Associated Press)

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    In this Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 photo, Caddo County farmer and rancher Charlie Opitz gestures toward a gully carved into a pasture on his family’s farm near Binger, Okla. The gullies resulted from a devastating flood in 2007, just one of about a dozen natural disasters in recent years that have struck the central Oklahoma county, which also has been beset by tornadoes, ice storms, hail and drought. (AP Photo/Sean Murphy) (The Associated Press)

In the gently rolling hills of Oklahoma ranch country is a place that has seen more than its share of destructive weather — tornadoes, ice storms and floods, year after year, for half of the last decade.

In fact, Caddo County has been declared a federal disaster area nine times since 2007, making it one of the nation's most ill-fated locations. But even here, farmers and ranchers say, no one has endured anything as crippling as the ongoing drought.

Oklahomans know better than most Americans about the perils of bad weather. Their state practically blew away during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and they live in the heart of tornado alley — a wide corridor in the central United States where twisters are common.

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