Weather and Climate

Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Auditing The Storm: A Look At Low-Interest Disaster Loans

The Bricktown Hotel and Convention Center was approved for the largest Small Business Administration disaster loan for damage in the May 31 storms
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

After a federally-declared disaster, the U.S. Small Business Administration issues low-interest loans to help homeowners and businesses recover. The agency disbursed over $20 million to Oklahomans following last year’s severe weather outbreak in the central part of the state, so we wanted to look into exactly what it takes to get one of those loans. 

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:35 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Dwindling Drought Doesn’t Mean A Slowdown In Water Conservation Efforts

The July 29 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which doesn't reflect the full impact of this week's rainfall.
Credit U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR

Despite more than 80 percent of the state still being under some level of drought, recent wet weather and below average temperatures continue to reduce the severity and size of drought in Oklahoma.

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Weather and Climate
9:04 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Flash Flood Watch In Effect Until 7 a.m. Thursday

National Weather Service currently thinking in terms of total rainfall amounts tonight through Thursday night.
Credit National Weather Service/Norman Forecast Office / Facebook

The National Weather Service's Norman Forecast Office warns that the heavy rain and flash flooding threat will increase late Tuesday into Wednesday, especially over northwestern and central Oklahoma.

Rainfall rates may exceed one inch per hour for several hours, even with little to no thunder.

A flash flood watch is effective after 10 p.m. Tuesday for northern and central Oklahoma. Until then an area of mostly light rain will affect parts of northwest and central and southern Oklahoma.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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