Weather and Climate

Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:32 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Auditing The Storm: HUD Funds Trickle Slowly Into Oklahoma Disaster Areas

Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

In the year since a series of severe storms devastated Central Oklahoma, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded nearly $146 million to the city of Moore and the state to help with recovery. But so far, only a fraction of that has been spent, and spending the money has turned out to be harder than you’d think. 

Read more
Clean Water State Revolving Fund
4:57 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

EPA Gives $11 Million To Oklahoma Water Resource Board

Credit Kool Cats Photography / Flickr.com

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded more than $11 million to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.

The grant is part of the federal agency's Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a program that provides low-interest, flexible loans to communities to help them improve water quality and infrastructure.

The OWRB will distribute the $11.3 million as low-interest loans to a variety of recipients, including cities and rural water districts.

Read more
Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:00 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Auditing The Storm: Why Moore Missed Out On Mitigation Funds

Stillwater resident Hollie Schreiber received a $2,000 storm shelter rebate through the city's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program that FEMA funded following the 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes.
Credit Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Tornado Project

When federal aid started pouring into the state after last years’ storms, FEMA designated $4 million for hazard mitigation – a tool used to protect communities from future severe weather through things like storm shelters. But the communities you’d think might receive this kind of money sometimes don’t. 

Read more
National Seismic Hazard Map
3:36 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

New Federal Earthquake Map Puts Oklahoma In Top Two Hazard Zone

USGS Map of Oklahoma
Credit US Geological Survey

A new federal earthquake map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about half of the United States and lowers it for nearly a quarter of the nation.

The U.S. Geologic Survey updated Thursday its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor.

Read more
Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:01 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Special Report: Auditing The Disaster Aid For 2013 Tornadoes And Storms

Federal public-assistance funds are paying for the rebuilding of Plaza Towers Elementary School, in which seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado. The school is expected to open next month.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

The tornadoes and storms that devastated Oklahoma and killed 34 last year triggered the release of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state aid that will keep flowing for years.

To date, the federal government has approved up to $257 million in disaster assistance of various kinds to help re build damage and help victims of the winds and flooding that struck between May 18 and June 2, 2013, and to mitigate future risks.

The state has contributed an additional $10.5 million, and private insurers are paying about $1.1 billion. Charities also have pumped in aid.

The relief aid stemming from Disaster No. 4117, as it is called by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is arriving through several channels, heading ultimately to state and local agencies, contractors, businesses and individuals.

Read more
Weather and Climate
6:54 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Farmers Hoping For More Rain To Lessen Drought

Brothers and business partners Fred and Wayne Schmedt stand in their family's wheat field near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Some Oklahoma farmers say there's "cautious optimism" that patchy rains this summer will make a dent in the drought afflicting much of the state and help save crops and cattle.

But they concede conditions could change quickly, like they did last year when Oklahoma settled back into the oppressive heat of the summer months. Crops wilted and hay shortages were prevalent across a large swath of the state.

Tim Bartram, with the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association, says if periodic rains suddenly dry up, many farmers will be left with a familiar picture from last season.

Read more
Here & Now
12:28 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Wichita Falls Fights Devastating Drought

Wichita Falls, Texas, is in its worst drought on record. (Justin Cozart/Flickr)

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 1:48 pm

Wichita Falls, Texas, is in its worst drought on record – worse than the dustbowl days of the ’50s. It started in 2010, and climatologists don’t see it letting up any time soon.

As city manager Darron Leiker explains, the city has taken a series of aggressive measures to cope.

Read more
StateImpact Oklahoma
1:08 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Oklahoma Drought Easing In The West, Intensifying In The East

The July 1 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

All the recent wet weather in western Oklahoma has put a big dent in the severity of the ongoing drought there.

But as one part of the state celebrates above-average rainfall, a state climatologist says eastern Oklahoma — which has been spared the brunt of the drought so far — is getting dryer.

From The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen:

Read more
Weather and Climate
7:45 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Climate Data Shows Last Month Second-Wettest June On Record

30-day rainfall accumulation in Oklahoma as of 7:35 a.m. on July 2, 2014.
Oklahoma Mesonet

Preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet show the state averaged about 5.8 inches of rain in June - about an inch-and-a-half above normal for this time of year.

Associate State Climatologist Gary McManus says six Mesonet stations in northern Oklahoma recorded at least 9 inches of rain this month...Buffalo had the highest rainfall total at 10.4 inches.

An inch of rain fell somewhere in Oklahoma on 19 of the months 30 days, and that helped relieve some of the drought in the state as well.

Read more
Environment
5:59 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Rain Not Only Lessens Drought, It Brings Back The Lesser Prairie Chicken Population

Credit J.N. Stuart / Flickr.com

An aerial survey shows good rains in parts of the five-state range of the federally threatened lesser prairie chicken have brought a 20 percent increase in the grouse's population from last year.

A release Tuesday from the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies says there were 22,415 lesser prairie chickens in this year's survey, up from 18,747 last year.

The increase came in the northeast Texas Panhandle, northwestern Oklahoma and south central Kansas — areas where more rain produced better prairie habitat. The bird is also in New Mexico and Colorado.

Read more

Pages