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.

GovMaryFallin / Twitter

Gov. Mary Fallin says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved public assistance for 16 counties hit by May storms that brought tornadoes and flooding to Oklahoma.

Fallin said FEMA approved the request on Friday that she submitted Wednesday.

The storms caused an estimated $40 million in uninsured infrastructure losses, and debris removal and response costs.

FEMA says disaster assistance for the state now tops $25 million dollars.

The makeup of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board will change as current members’ terms end over the next few years. A new law passed in 2013 requires that each board member come from a specific region of the state.

boy walking through rubble
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Seven children were killed at an elementary school in Moore when a massive tornado tore through the area last month.

And the disaster has led to questions about why Oklahoma used previous federal disaster money to build more than 10,000 storm shelters in homes, but only 85 in public schools.

Getting the answer means going back to another major storm, on May 3rd, 1999, and another state.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Moore City Manager Steve Eddy says more than 56,000 tons of debris have been removed from neighborhoods in Moore as the city reaches the one-month mark since a deadly tornado carved through the Oklahoma City suburb on May 20.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid for 85 percent of the cost of debris removal through Wednesday, when the share was reduced to 80 percent. The 80-20 federal-local match will continue for another 30 days. After that, the federal share of the cleanup cost will drop to the traditional 75 percent.

Visualizing The Moore Tornado Debris Cloud

Jun 15, 2013

National Climactic Data Center scientists use radar data from the May 20 Moore tornado to present different images of its debris field. They also present comparative images for the May 3, 1999 tornado that hit in the same area.

Water Wars: Who Controls The Flow?

Jun 15, 2013

So often, we take water for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. We assume it's our right in America to have water. And yet, water is a resource. It's not always where we need it, or there when we need it.

Rivers don't follow political boundaries — they flow through states and over international borders. And there are endless demands for water: for agriculture, drinking, plumbing, manufacturing, to name just a few. And then there's the ecosystem that depends on water getting downstream.

So what are our legal rights when it comes to water? And who decides?

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The “Oklahoma Standard” is a phrase that describes how this state responds in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, like the tornado that ripped through Moore on May 20.

But that resiliency isn’t reflected in Oklahoma’s construction standards, which don’t factor for tornadoes.

U.S. Drought Monitor

The extreme drought blanketing Southwestern Oklahoma has taxed water resources in Altus and plagued farmers.

Reunited: 90 Tornado Displaced Pets

Jun 9, 2013
Animal Resource Center

The Animal Resource Center has reunited at least 90 lost pets with their owners since a May 20 tornado hit Moore.

The center says it received its first lost dog about an hour after the storm and has processed more than 150 animals in the past three weeks. In addition to reuniting pets with their owners, the center is also offering to board pets if their owners are now living in places that don't allow animals.

Strengthening Buildings In Tornado Alley

Jun 7, 2013

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Powerful storms this spring: tornadoes like the ones in Oklahoma have caused damage estimated in the billions of dollars and dozens of deaths. But does the destruction have to be so devastating? What are the engineering challenges to designing and building stronger, more tornado-resistant structures and providing better protection for the people who live there?

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Following a major disaster like the Moore tornado on May 20th, news reporters want answers, and they don’t want to wait.

How many people were killed? How many injured? How much damage did the storm cause, and how much will it cost? Answers to the first three questions may not come immediately, but within a few days, they usually can be addressed fairly accurately.

El Reno Tornado, Now EF5, Sets Record

Jun 4, 2013
Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Meteorologists have upgraded the tornado that hit Canadian County, west of Oklahoma City, as an EF5, the top of the ratings. The width of the tornado, 2.6 miles, is being called the widest ever recorded.

The upgrade came after researchers from the University of Oklahoma and meteorologists with the National Weather Service evaluated the tornado using information from a mobile research radar.

University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Howard Bluestein reflects on his friend Tim Samaras, who died Friday in El Reno.

This weekend brought the sad news that Tim Samaras, a high-profile storm chaser, was killed with his son in Friday's twister in El Reno, Oklahoma.

UPDATE: At Least 10 Dead When Tornado Hits Oklahoma City Area

Jun 2, 2013
Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has 600 workers assessing damage in the Oklahoma City area battered by tornadoes and violent storms.

Gov. Mary Fallin says crews are searching flooded areas for missing people and the death toll could rise.

Ten people are confirmed to have been killed in Oklahoma as a result of Friday's storms. Five others were killed by flash flooding in Arkansas and Missouri.

More than 75 other people were hurt, five critically.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a mother and child were killed as tornadoes moved through Oklahoma City.

Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph says troopers found the bodies near a vehicle along Interstate 40 west of the city Friday.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews are working closely with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to close interstates and highways metro-wide as necessary. All travel is strongly discouraged as emergency crews continue to respond to tornado damage and flooding.

Tens of thousands of OG&E customers are without power, according to the utility's System Watch.

Friday's tornadoes came less than two weeks after an F-5 tornado destroyed a large section of Moore, just south of Oklahoma City. Both episodes raise two sides of one question: When caught in a tornado's path, should you run or hide?

For Morning Edition the day after the powerful tornado on May 20, NPR's Wade Goodwyn spoke with Molly Edwards, who was covered in pink insulation and standing on the rubble of her home with her family.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

Coming up, the strange history of tornado preparedness. Why exactly did they tell us to hide in the southwest corner of the basement? This is NPR News.

Flooding Forces Mobile Home Park Evacuation

Jun 1, 2013
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

Authorities are using a boat, raft and Humvee to evacuate residents of a mobile home park in Crutcho.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's offices says they are also searching for missing man from the area whose vehicle was found washed off the road near E. Hefner Rd. and N. Dobbs.

The man left for work at 6:30 a.m. Friday and has not been heard from since, according the sheriff's office.

Images from the mobile home park near NE 23rd and Air Depot show flood waters halfway up the doors of parked cars.

Tornado researcher Harold Brooks with the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman says the message that people in the path of a powerful tornado have to be underground to stay safe is wrong. Brooks says that messaging may even be irresponsible and dangerous.

Flooding Continues, Survey Teams Assess Friday Storm Damage

Jun 1, 2013
Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Authorities in the Oklahoma City metro are discouraging travel Saturday morning due to flooding across the area.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office reports flooding on NE 23rd Street Hiawassee and Choctaw Rd. and other areas in Choctaw. Multiple roads in Deer Creek are also impassable from high water.

Overnight, deputies report assisting with 10 water rescues. The sheriff's office has also called in additional workers to help with traffic and road closures. 

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