Weather and Climate

Storm Preparedness
9:12 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Scientists, City Officials Say Moore's Warren Theatre Not A Severe Weather Destination

The Warren Theatre in Moore in the days after the May 20, 2013 tornado.
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.”

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Severe Storms
12:17 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

UPDATE: Severe Weather Possible Today, But Watch The Weekend

Credit 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.


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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Millions Of Pounds Worth Of Tornado Debris: Where Does It All Go?

Birds flock over the active portion of Jeff Bedick's Waste Connections landfill.
Credit 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.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:36 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Junior High Kids From Briarwood, Plaza Towers Feel Left Out Of School Support

Rhonda and Jared Swearingen
Credit 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. 

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Severe Storms
3:46 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Large Hail, Damaging Winds Possible This Weekend In Western, Central Oklahoma

Credit 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.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Take Shelter Oklahoma Vs. AG Scott Pruitt Results In "Mixed Bag" Ruling

Credit 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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Severe Storms
9:18 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Severe Storms Forecast For Oklahoma Tuesday

A few severe thunderstorms are possible mainly between 4-10 p.m. Tuesday. Very large hail will be the main hazard, though damaging winds and tornadoes may also occur.
Credit Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Oklahomans are facing their first significant risk for tornadoes of the spring storm season. The National Weather Service says the potential for severe thunderstorms increases Tuesday afternoon. If storms develop they are likely to be severe.

While the storms will be fairly isolated, forecasters say conditions for severe weather will become more favorable through the day. What the weather service calls “significant severe storms” are possible mainly between 4-10 p.m.

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Storm Shelters
11:58 am
Tue April 1, 2014

High Court Upholds Oklahoma School Shelter Ballot

Petitions are completed in December for the Take Shelter Oklahoma organization. The group needs roughly 155,000 signatures to place the state question on the November ballot.
Credit Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

The Oklahoma Supreme Court says a ballot title written by the attorney general's office for an initiative to place storm shelters in Oklahoma public schools is legally correct but gave proponents more time to gather signatures to place the measure on the ballot.

The high court ruled Tuesday that proponents of the initiative petition, State Question 767, have 90 days to collect the signatures needed to get the measure on the election ballot. Supporters need the signatures of about 155,000 registered voters to get on the ballot.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
11:15 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Six Ways To Prepare For Oklahoma’s Tornado Season

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

There’s little doubt Oklahomans will be more sensitive and more concerned than usual as the spring storm season approaches after the devastating events of May 2013. Dozens of people died as three violent tornadoes tore across Pottawatomie, Canadian and Cleveland counties within a two-week span.

Since September, KGOU has been working to prepare for severe weather in 2014 with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. On March 12, we hosted a panel discussion about tornado preparedness and storm safety at the Moore Public Library, just a few hundred yards from where the May 20 twister crossed Interstate 35.

We learned six things you need to know to prepare for the 2014 tornado season:

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

New Severe Weather Warning System Comes To Oklahoma

An example of what the National Weather Service calls a "considerable" tornado.
Credit National Weather Service

Meteorologists are really good at understanding all sorts of complicated weather-related jargon. But when severe storms are in the forecast, it’s important to communicate those threats in a way that people can easily understand. 

The National Weather Service has been testing a new, simpler approach in different parts of the country, and last week, they introduced their system to Oklahoma. 

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