Weather and Climate

Her Animals Hide During Earthquakes
8:48 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Meet 'The Digger:' How One Texas Mom Helps Others Find Answers About Quakes

Barbara Brown says her horse runs into his pen when an earthquake strikes in Reno, Texas.

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:57 am

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Wheat Harvest One Of The Worst In Recent Memory
8:18 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Drought Hammers Winter Wheat Across The Plains

Farmer Jim Haarberg of Imperial, Nebraska compares the heads of wheat from two different stalks to demonstrate the stunting effects of drought.
Credit Ariana Brocious / Harvest Public Media

Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

In Nebraska, a full quarter of the winter wheat crop is rated poor to very poor, and Nebraska farmers are doing comparatively well. More than 40 percent of the wheat acres in Colorado are poor or worse; nearly 60 percent in Kansas and Texas; and an incredible 80 percent in Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:42 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Oklahoma School Shelter Advocates Launch New, Slightly Different Petition

Civil rights icon the Rev. Jesse Jackson told parents and storm shelter supporters Wednesday protecting students from destructive tornados is "a moral obligation."
Kate Carlton Greer The Oklahoma Tornado Project

For the past nine months, school shelter supporters have fought to get a $500 million dollar bond issue to fund safe room construction on a statewide ballot. Attorney General Scott Pruitt revised the original proposal, adding what Take Shelter Oklahoma called “biased” and “unfair” language.

But the advocacy group announced a new version Wednesday.

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Bernice swimming area closed
4:14 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

High Levels Of Bacteria Found At Grand Lake State Park

Credit Kelly / Flickr.com

Officials say the swimming area at Grand Lake State Park in northeastern Oklahoma will remain closed through at least Friday after an unsafe level of E.coli was detected in the water.

Grand River Dam Authority spokesman Justin Alberty says more tests of the Bernice swimming area showed elevated levels of the bacteria. Alberty tells Tulsa television station KJRH that more water samples will be taken Friday.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:07 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Oklahoma Attorney General Ready To Fight EPA Proposal To Cut Carbon Emissions

The OG&E Power Plant In Muskogee.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Environmental Protection agency on Monday announced an ambitious plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at existing coal-fired power plants across the country as part of President Barack Obama’s push to curb climate change.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt blasted the move, saying in a statement the plan “has no legal basis or the force of law.”

“It will undoubtedly lead to higher electricity rates, job losses and increased manufacturing costs as coal-fired power plants, which provide 40 percent of our baseload power, are taken offline,” Pruitt says.

But officials with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Oklahoma says keeping the current rules unchanged will be more costly because communities are already paying to deal with carbon pollution-fueled “climate disruption,” like flooding, wildfires and extreme heat.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
6:30 am
Mon June 2, 2014

2011 Joplin Tornado Served As Wake Up Call For School Officials

Irving Elementary School in Joplin, Mo. is one of several public school buildings damaged or destroyed by a 2011 tornado. Since the storm hit on Sunday, no one was inside the buildings.
Credit Gail Banzet-Ellis

Two years ago, a violent tornado hit Joplin, Mo. at a time when children were not in their classrooms. If the day and time had been different, that community could have become known for students killed by a storm, instead of Moore, Okla.

That near miss caused officials with the Joplin schools to look at storm shelters in a new light.

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many areas remain in drought conditions
6:12 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

State Burn Ban To Expire Next Wednesday, June 4

Credit U.S. Fish And Wildlife / Flickr.com

Gov. Mary Fallin says a state burn ban in 36 counties will be allowed to expire because of rainfall during the past week.

Fallin said Thursday that the ban she issued on May 5 will be allowed to expire next Wednesday.

The governor said in a release she doesn't expect to renew the burn ban for any county — but said county commissioners should issue a ban for their county if they believe it is appropriate.

Many areas remain in extreme drought and all 77 county commissions have authority to declare countywide burn bans should conditions warrant.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:21 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Drought In Southwest Oklahoma Dented But Not Dead After Days Of Rain

Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

The latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor shows some improvement in the hardest hit part of the state — southwest Oklahoma — after a very wet Memorial Day weekend.

Drovers CattleNetwork’s Angela Bowman looked at the impact recent rains have had across the southern plains, and found that while the last week helped, it won’t take long for drought to fully reassert itself, and it’s too late for the state’s wheat crop:

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Red Cross Program Teaches Emergency Preparedness To Kids Affected By 2013 Tornadoes

Red Cross worker Shannon Reed leads a class of Soldier Creek Elementary fifth graders in practicing a tornado drill. The Red Cross is visiting schools throughout the region, including this one in Midwest City, to teach
Jason Colston/American Red Cross

During tornado season, preparedness is key. Phrases like “Don’t be scared, be prepared” populate Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites when there’s a severe weather threat. One organization is now taking steps to ensure kids also know what to do when weather rolls in.

Shannon Reed is a Community Resiliency Specialist with the Red Cross. Last month, she spent a day in a gymnasium at Carney Elementary School, teaching kids about severe weather.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:35 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Oklahoma’s Drought-Withered Wheat Harvest Could Have National Effects

Brothers and business partners Fred and Wayne Schmedt stand in their family's wheat field near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Four years of extreme drought has withered the agricultural economies of southern Great Plains states like Oklahoma, where farmers are bracing for one of worst wheat crops in state history.

And Oklahoma’s withered wheat harvest could have national consequences.

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