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.

Oklahoma Mesonet

If you were late for work Thursday morning because you had to remember where you last put your jacket months ago, dig it out of the back of your closet, and brush off lint and pet dander, no one would blame you.

A strong cold front that arrived Wednesday and brought very pleasant afternoon conditions dropped temperatures to record lows early Thursday morning in Oklahoma City, Lawton, and Wichita Falls.

Thursday morning's 50-degree reading at Will Rogers World Airport shattered Oklahoma City's 65-year-old low August 20 temperature record of 56, set in 1950.

There is a slight risk of severe storms late this afternoon and tonight across parts of northern Oklahoma. Primary threats will be hail to the size of golfballs and winds up to 70 mph.
Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Northern Oklahoma could see severe weather Tuesday evening, although it's possible hail and strong straight-line wind gusts could make their way into the Metro.

Shortly after 3 p.m., the Norman Forecast Office of the National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for much of the western third of the state. That was later expanded into several counties in central Oklahoma.

OWRB water resources geologists Derrick Wagner and Jessica Correll analyze readings from their well at the Spencer Mesonet station.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Almost half of the water used by Oklahomans comes from aquifers, and four years of drought increased that reliance. This year’s record-setting rainfall filled up the state’s lakes, but recharging aquifers doesn’t happen so quickly.

Ten years ago this month Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans and more than a thousand people died. A quarter of a million more fled their homes, which were damaged or destroyed in the devastating floods.

A lot has changed in the past decade, but the recovery has been uneven. White residents are doing better than they were before the storm hit, while African Americans are struggling to catch up from the storm's aftermath.

Tulsa Braces For 100-Degree Weekend

Jul 23, 2015

NOAA’s National Climate Data Center reported this week that temperatures across the globe for the first six months of 2015 are the warmest on record.

While that is great for beachgoers, it also endangers millions of lives, as heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the United States.

One city that’s feeling the heat is Tulsa, Oklahoma, which has 100-degree temperatures forecast for the weekend.

frankieleon / Flickr

It’s coming…

Parts of the state hit 100 degrees for the first time Monday, and Oklahoma City could experience its first triple digit temperatures of 2015 on Tuesday during what’s expected to be the hottest day of the week.

The National Weather Service says a high pressure system that settled into the Southern Plains over the weekend has brought the first taste of summer-like conditions, with high humidity and hot afternoon temperatures.

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Watershed Technitian Dennis Boney inspects damage to Wildhorse 80's spillway in Garvin County.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

More than 2,000 dams in Oklahoma have protected lives and property from flooding for decades. But age is catching up with them, and many need repairs. And this spring’s record rainfall is putting dams under even more pressure.

USACETULSA
Flickr

The McClellan-Kerr Navigation System that connects the Port of Catoosa — the nation’s furthest inland seaport — to the Gulf of Mexico is “a hell of a mess” after the area got nearly 20 inches of rain in May and June, port director Bob Portiss tell’s the Tulsa World.

By the end of June, This year, Matt Plenge’s Kahoka, Mo., farm has received close to four times its normal rainfall.
Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

Driving down a two-lane highway in rural Missouri, Matt Plenge squinted at a patch of gray clouds hanging low over his farm fields in the distance.

“Does it look hazy up there?” he asked. “We only had a 20 percent chance today. We shouldn't get any rain.”

Plenge, like most farmers, always keeps one eye on the weather. But this spring, it’s been his primary and constant concern.

“It seems like it rains for three or four days and after it rains, we get one day of sunshine,” Plenge said. “And then it rains again.”

Heavy flooding at the intersection of Main Street and Lahoma Ave. in Norman on May 19, 2015.
Steven Anderson / Twitter

The U.S. Small Business Administration says more than $5 million in disaster loans have been approved in Oklahoma for residents and businesses affected by storms, tornadoes, winds and flooding in 24 counties. 

The SBA said Wednesday that $72,400 in business loans and $4.9 million in individual loans have been approved as a result of storms that struck southern and eastern areas of the state from May 5 through June 4.

A combine crew from South Dakota harvests wheat near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

May 2015 was Oklahoma’s wettest month on record. The historic rainfall washed away an economically draining drought that haunted parts of the state for five years. For many wheat farmers in southwestern Oklahoma, however, the record rainfall is too much, too late.

To find a farmer in the wide, unbroken prairie of southwest Oklahoma, scan the horizon and look for clouds — of dust. In a field five miles south of Altus, Fred Schmedt peers through the haze and watches a gray-and-black combine pull alongside a tractor with a grain cart.

Schmedt grins as the bin fills.

The National Weather Service says another 4 to 5 inches of rain could fall today on areas still recovering from Memorial Day weekend floods that left 14 dead and two missing along the Blanco River in Texas.

Forecasters have issued a flash flood warning for seven counties in southeastern Texas as a Tropical Depression Bill makes its way inland. As the storm heads north, it could drop up to 9 inches of rain on parts of Oklahoma, a state still waterlogged from record-setting rainfall in May.

The Interstate 35 bridge over the Red River an the Oklahoma-Texas state line at 7 a.m. Friday.
Chris Jones / Facebook

Updated 1:54 p.m.: The National Weather Service says the Washita River in western and southern Oklahoma, and the Red River along the Texas border, experienced record flooding overnight. It's likely to continue through the weekend.

At 2:30 a.m., the Red River at Gainesville, Texas set a new record by reaching 40.16 feet, beating a 28-year-old record. It passed 41 feet by 5:30 a.m., and was expected to crest Friday afternoon. The major flood stage conditions will likely continue through Sunday morning.

Heavy flooding at the intersection of Main Street and Lahoma Ave. in Norman on May 19, 2015.
Steven Anderson / Twitter

Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management have added five counties to the growing list of counties seeking federal disaster assistance for individuals and business owners who have damage from severe storms and flooding last month. 

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Oklahoma Emergency Management director Albert Ashwood meet with first responders in Purcell on May 27, 2015.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Gov. Mary Fallin and state emergency management officials are seeking federal assistance for 15 additional counties affected by recent storms and flooding. 

Fallin announced Wednesday she is requesting public assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist with reimbursing local cities and counties for debris removal, infrastructure repairs and other storm-related expenses.

Gov. Mary Fallin meets with cabinet secretaries and emergency management officials at the state Capitol Tuesday to discuss May storm damage.
GovMaryFallin / Twitter

Damage from May’s severe storms could exceed $150 million.

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood and Gov. Mary Fallin met Tuesday and updated reporters and the public on the progress of the recovery and assessments in 70 counties that have reported storm-related damage.

Fallin has declared a state of emergency in all 77 Oklahoma counties, and $13 million in infrastructure damage to roads, bridges, and other facilities has already been recorded.

The memorial to the seven children who died May 20, 2013 at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahomans are now finally starting to dry out after May brought as much as two feet of rain to some parts of the state. The tornadoes and flooding that have killed dozens in this state and its southern neighbor last month were a reminder of how cruel May can be when warming temperatures and moist Gulf air collide over the nation's midsection.

30-day rainfall totals from Oklahoma Mesonet stations as of May 31, 2015.
Oklahoma Mesonet

No surprise here - May went down as the wettest month in Oklahoma history.

The final statewide average rainfall for May was 14.4 inches. State climatologist Gary McManus said that's nearly 9.6 inches above normal, and obliterated the 74-year-old previous record of 10.75 inches set in October 1941. The Oklahoma Climatological Survey has kept records since the 1890s.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

U.S Drought Monitor as of May 29, 2015
U.S. Drought Monitor

Given the choice between the crippling drought of the past nearly 5 years and the ongoing threat of flooding Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are currently dealing with, Chris Kirby with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission says she’ll take the rain every time.

“I’ve heard some people say, ‘well, I don’t want to complain about the rain, because the last time I did, it quit raining for six years,” Kirby tells StateImpact.

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