KGOU

Weather and Climate

Weather in Oklahoma can be extreme and dangerous. KGOU is committed to providing resources for being aware of the potential for weather events, continuous coverage when severe weather strikes, and a big-picture view of weather trends and topics.

Our partners in weather coverage are the National Weather Service for forecasts, experts at the National Weather Center, located at the campus of the University of Oklahoma, retired television weatherman and now OU's Consulting Meteorologist-in-Residence Gary England, and for severe weather outbreaks, KOCO-TV's live continuous coverage.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Last week, we hosted a public forum on how climate change affects Oklahoma. A panel of experts took audience questions on water and agriculture, and if the discussion is any guide, Oklahomans are curious, frustrated and concerned about climate change.

The Picasso Café in Oklahoma City was standing room only. One by one, audience members took the microphone and posed questions to our panelists: Clay Pope, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, and Dr. David Engle, Director of Oklahoma State University’s Water Resources Center.

Storms Possible Sunday Evening into Monday

May 11, 2014
National Weather Service

The Norman office of the National Weather Service reports that it will be windy across Oklahoma till at least 7pm.  Thunderstorms are likely this evening, beginning after 5pm in western Oklahoma, and continuing eastward into Monday as a cold front moves across the region. Severe weather is possible starting early evening and continuing into the early Monday morning hours. The potential for severe storms will diminish Monday morning but could increase again Monday afternoon and evening. Large hail and damaging straight-line winds will be the main concerns.

Kelly DeLay / Flickr Creative Commons

A new federal report bluntly warns that every region of the United States is already observing climate change-related affects to the environment and economy.

In Oklahoma and other Great Plains states, climate change from carbon emissions is changing crop growth cycles, increasing energy and water demand, altering rainfall patterns and leading to more frequent extreme weather and climate events, the report concludes.

Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

The National Weather Service says there's a possibility of severe storms with very large hail Wednesday afternoon and evening.

The best chance comes over Southwest Oklahoma, but very large hail up to the size of tennis balls and damaging wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour could develop near and east of a dryline between 4 and 10 p.m.

National Weather Service / Norman Forecast Office

Updated at 4:25 p.m.

Authorities are evacuating about two dozen homes as a wildfire moves rapidly northwest of Woodward.

Woodward County Emergency Manager Matt Lehenbauer says the fire is moving rapidly from north to east across U.S. 270. He told the Woodward News about two dozen homes are in the fire's path about five miles northwest of the city.

Tanya Mattek

The month of May has a somber significance for many Oklahoma residents. It’s one of the busiest months for tornados, averaging 22 cyclones in 31 days. And after last year’s series of devastating storms that killed 25 people, it now also marks a sad anniversary. The Oklahoma Tornado Project and the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center teamed up to remember the events that took place one year ago.

Lena Vob / Flickr.com

The president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts is urging farmers to think twice before plowing their fields this spring.

Kim Farber says ongoing drought in Oklahoma and Southern Plains creates the risk of dust storms and wind erosion that could be worsened by plowing.

Kurt Gwartney / Eastern Oklahoma Red Cross

Gov. Mary Fallin toured damage in the northeastern Oklahoma community of Quapaw on Monday, a day after a tornado killed one person and damaged nearly 60 structures.

Sixty-eight-year-old John L. Brown, of Baxter Springs, Kansas, was killed when he was traveling through Quapaw and he pulled over into a parking lot. Fifteen homes were totally destroyed.

Oklahoma escaped relatively unscathed - especially since no tornado warnings had been issued beforehand.

This post was updated at 6:15 p.m. ET.

A second day of tornadoes has caused devastation in the South, killing more than a dozen people in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. Some 50 twisters were reported in the region in a 24-hour period from Monday into Tuesday, according to meteorologists.

This post was updated at 1:53 p.m. ET

Emergency officials were searching Monday for survivors after tornadoes tore through parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma overnight, killing at least 14 people and leveling entire neighborhoods.

"We don't have a count on injuries or missing. We're trying to get a handle on the missing part," Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said at a news conference Monday. "Just looking at the damage, this may be one of the strongest we have seen."

Kate Carlton

Tornado season has returned once again, and after the experience of last year, many Oklahomans are re-assessing their safety plans and prepping their designated refuge areas. 

For some people, that just means cleaning out their safe room. But for others, this weekend’s tornado scare was a reminder that they still haven’t gotten funding they were promised to build safe rooms.

Karen Stark has lived in Norman for decades. She’s seen her fair share of storms. But it wasn’t until just a few years ago that she finally decided it was time to install a safe room in her house.

Kurt Gwartney / Eastern Oklahoma Region - American Red Cross

Updated at 10:58 a.m. with the name of the victim, and declaration of a state of emergency

Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for Ottawa County following a tornado that struck Quapaw that destroyed the fire station and at least five businesses and other structures. Damage assessments continue Monday.

Under the executive order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions to deliver materials and supplies to needed jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance.

Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

The National Weather Service says it’s starting to get a better idea of the timing of severe storms expected to hit the state Saturday and Sunday.

Thunderstorms will start to develop late afternoon and early evening Saturday in far southwestern Oklahoma, moving northeast overnight into Sunday.

Large, damaging hail and damaging winds are the primary concern, but tornadoes are possible.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is known for its wild weather. And now, the state’s variable climate is helping scientists understand how climate change could affect farms everywhere.

Jamin Yeager / Aerial Oklahoma

As the state prepares for another round of severe weather Saturday, city officials in Moore are worried about residents taking shelter in a local movie theater that held up well during the May 20, 2013 tornado.

“People think that the Warren Theatre is magic,” said National Severe Storms Laboratory senior scientist Harold Brooks. “The Warren Theatre was basically not hit by the tornado. It survived [as well as] it did because it didn't get hit by the tornado.”

Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Updated April 23, 2014 at 3:17 p.m.

Scattered severe storms could develop along a dry line developing over the Texas and Oklahoma panhandle Wednesday, but National Weather Service meteorologists are starting to predict the possibility of a more significant severe weather threat this weekend.

Forecaster Marc Austin says the main hazards Wednesday consist of baseball-sized hail, and damaging 70-80 mile-per-hour wind gusts.


Kate Carlton

It’s been nearly a year since a series of tornadoes devastated central Oklahoma, destroying homes, parks and commercial buildings. During the recovery process, construction crews gathered over 300,000 tons of debris between just Oklahoma City and Moore. 

Jeff Bedick is the District Manager for Waste Connections, which operates a landfill in west Oklahoma City. The facility sits on 200 acres, which mostly just looks like a giant, grass-covered hill on the side of the highway.

Kate Carlton

In the year since tornadoes ripped through Moore, there’s been no shortage of media coverage of teachers and students at Plaza Towers and Briarwood Elementary Schools, as they’ve recovered from the storm and adapted to a “new normal.” 

But what about the kids that graduated and left? Some of them feel like they’ve fallen through the cracks. 

Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Western and Central Oklahoma could see a round of severe weather over the weekend. There's a threat of showers and thunderstorms Saturday west of a line extending from Altus to Alva.

But National Weather Service senior forecaster Michael Scotten says there's a higher chance for that weather to move southeast through Central Oklahoma on Sunday.

benchilada / Flickr Creative Commons

About a month ago, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court heard the case of Take Shelter Oklahoma vs. Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

The school shelter advocacy group filed suit against Pruitt, claiming he tried to sabotage their effort to put a $500 million bond issue on an upcoming ballot. 

The high court ruled last week, and the decision seemed to be a compromise, but not everyone was happy. 

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