Weather and Climate

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
Drought
1:48 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Could Limiting Evaporation Help With Drought?

Water levels have dropped at Lake Travis because the drought, May 16, 2011. (Lower Colorado River Authority)

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 2:06 pm

Most of the southwestern U.S. is in the midst of some level of drought. Parts of California, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas are all seeing extreme drought, as rainfall and winter snowpacks have been far below average.

One of the biggest factors affecting water supplies in these hot, dry places is evaporation. Reservoirs can lose as much water to evaporation as the water that’s actually pumped out of them for drinking water.

Read more
Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Group Hires Ex-Convicts To Rebuild Oklahoma After 2013 Tornadoes

Reuben Ramirez cuts wood for trusses at the Habitat for Humanity offices in Oklahoma City.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

Oklahoma has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country. Each year, the state releases roughly 8,000 people from prison, and many of them are looking for work. One organization now hires ex-offenders to help rebuild and restore tornado-struck towns. 

When Reuben Ramirez was released from prison three months ago, it was hard for him to adjust. Ramirez spent a total of seven years behind bars, so getting used to the outside world wasn’t always easy.

Read more
Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Joplin Works Toward Tornado Preparedness After 2011 Tornado

Con-way Truckload installed six of these Atlas Safe Rooms for employees around the property after the Joplin tornado.
Credit Gail Banzet-Ellis

As we pass the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, we’re looking at lessons learned from another devastating storm, three years ago in Joplin, Missouri. 

Joplin’s EF-5 tornado damaged or destroyed more than 500 businesses, but since that time, the city has made remarkable progress getting back on its feet. Recovery has included planning for the unexpected. 

Read more
The Two-Way
8:11 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Twin Tornadoes In Nebraska Leave 2 Dead, Others In Hospital

A still image from a video shows two tornadoes approaching Pilger, Neb., Monday. The National Weather Service said at least two people died in the large storm that hit northeast Nebraska.
StormChasingVideo.com AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 10:11 am

Read more
Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Joplin Businesses Bounce Back After 2011 Tornado

Liliya Moos sews on a wedding dress in the alterations shop she and her husband own and rebuilt on Main Street in Joplin.
Credit Gail Banzet-Ellis

Listen to the radio story.

When a tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma in May of last year, residential neighborhoods bore the brunt of the damage. But it was a different story in Joplin, Missouri, after an EF-5 tornado damaged or destroyed more than 500 businesses back in 2011.

Three years later, more than 90% of those businesses have returned to write a new chapter in Joplin’s story. 

Read more

Pages