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.

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. 

National Weather Service / Storm Prediction Center

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for most of Central and Eastern Oklahoma until 10 p.m.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman warns there is a moderate risk of severe weather over much of eastern and central Oklahoma on Thursday.

“We have a very complex forecast again today,” says National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist Rick Smith. “We do look into the atmosphere and see more ingredients in place today for supercells and tornadoes than what we saw yesterday.”

NET_EFEKT / Flickr Creative Commons

While the drought continues to ease in eastern portions of the state, it’s still raging in much of western Oklahoma, where the state’s wheat harvest is taking a hit.

The Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association recently released its estimate of this year’s wheat crop, which Oklahoma Farm Report summed up with one word: “dismal.”

Tornado Watch Issued For Most Of Oklahoma

May 29, 2013
National Weather Service / Storm Prediction Center

A Tornado Watch is in place for most of Oklahoma as a storm system is poised to make its way through the state.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service say it's important to be aware of the weather over the next three days, though it's not time to panic.

“It’s very difficult and very challenging striking a balance between freaking people and telling them what they need to be ready for,” says warning coordinating meteorologist Rick Smith with the National Weather Service’s Norman Forecast Office.

John D. Sutter, a CNN Opinion columnist and a former staff writer for The Oklahoman newspaper, walked the full 17-mile damage path from the May 20th tornado, and live-tweeted what he encountered.

National Weather Service / Norman Forecast Office

The National Weather Service says starting Tuesday evening Western and Central portions of the state could see more severe thunderstorms with the possibility of some tornadoes.

"Supercells with large hail and damaging winds are expected during the late afternoon and evening with storms likely forming into clusters or lines during the evening," says Rick Smith, a warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Norman Forecast Office. "The tornado potential is a little bit higher on Wednesday due to strong wind shear, but the hail and wind will still be the most common threats."

He says the focus will mainly be west of the Interstate 35 corridor on Wednesday, but could expand into Central Oklahoma the day after tomorrow.

One of the first reporters on the scene May 20 after a massive tornado struck the town of Moore, Okla., didn’t mean to be there. Joe Wertz, digital reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma, was trying to get home.

As Recovery Continues, Obama Heads To Oklahoma

May 26, 2013

President Obama is scheduled to visit the city of Moore, Okla., today, to survey the devastation left behind by by a monster EF-5 tornado.

The AP reports:

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tornado Recovery Resources

May 25, 2013
Mike Prendergast / SkyWatcherMedia.com

As residents in Oklahoma pick up the pieces of their lives, there are many agencies and organizations providing disaster relief. KGOU has compiled a list of resources to aid in the recovery.

(Updated June 11 at 6:17 p.m.)

City of Moore Information

The official web page for the City of Moore has information about debris removal, mail delivery, volunteer coordination and more.

Food Distribution 

New Red Cross Resource Centers

May 25, 2013

The American Red Cross is opening of three Multi-Agency Resource Centers today in Little Axe, Shawnee and Carney.

These centers will be staffed with caseworkers from the American Red Cross and partner agencies. The Red Cross says those impacted by the storms can come to these centers and meet with all agencies to get assistance with short-term needs.

Hours for the centers will be 9a to 7p.

Little Axe: Little Axe School- 2000 168th Ave NE Norman, OK

The tornado that devastated much of Moore, Okla., has drawn loads of donations from across the country: food, clothing, medical supplies, toys. Much of it is needed by the victims, but not everything.

After every disaster, relief groups usually ask for one thing: money. But writing a check or texting a donation isn't always that satisfying for those who want so desperately to help.

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