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.

IndiaWaterPortal.org / Flickr Creative Commons

The anti-fluoride movement is gaining steam in the U.S. And with celebrities like Ed Begley Jr. and Rob Schneider on board, how could it fail? 

But the debate over whether fluoridation benefits communities’ dental health or amounts to the forced medication of the masses isn’t why Oklahoma towns like Lawton, Purcell, and Fairview stopped adding the chemical to their water.

Colder Temperatures Coming

Nov 8, 2014
Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

After a mild weekend, much colder temperatures appear on tap for next week according to the Norman Forecast Office of the National Weather Service.

The initial cold front will move through late Monday, with much colder air flowing into Oklahoma/north Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday. High temperatures in the 30s and 40s appear possible by Wednesday and Thursday, with lows in the 20s.

No precipitation is expected in Oklahoma through Wednesday, with an icreasing chance of snow Thursday and Friday.

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Jack Barrett, owner of the BDC Gun Room in Shawnee, Okla., shows off a new shotgun model popular with hunters.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Nearly a quarter of a million hunters are set to grab their guns and stalk through Oklahoma’s woods when deer gun season opens the week before Thanksgiving, according to Micah Holmes with the state Department of Wildlife Conservation.

“There’s more deer hunters out in the woods on opening day of deer gun season than there is at Lewis Field, at the OU football stadium, and at the Tulsa football stadium combined,” Holmes says.

Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department

The board that oversees the water distribution of Waurika Lake says drought conditions continue to affect the lake, which is used as a water source in southwest Oklahoma.

Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District Director David Taylor says the Waurika Lake watershed has received just 14.7 inches of rain this year. According to the Lawton Constitution, Taylor estimates that the lake has enough usable water to last until March 2016.

Taylor says rehabilitation and maintenance work to the lake could increase that time to January 2017.

University of Oklahoma president David Boren leads a ribbon cutting October 22, 2014 to formally open the Radar Innovations Laboratory on OU's Research Campus.
University of Oklahoma / Twitter

The University of Oklahoma formally dedicated a new, 35,000 square foot Radar Innovations Laboratory Wednesday afternoon.

OU President David Boren says the goal of the facility is to spark innovation of the next generation of radar and microwave electronics.

“As academia works with the private sector, works with government to make things happen, to make the resources to be here, to be possible, what a partnership that can be," Boren said. "What a powerful partnership that can be for the future of our state, and the future of our country."

Tall Chief Cove at Skiatook Lake.
Wikimedia Commons

A lake in northeastern Oklahoma has dipped to its shallowest level since its impoundment 30 years ago.

Sara Goodeyon of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tells the Tulsa World that Skiatook Lake had a level of about 698 feet on Friday. Despite recent rains, it's more than 15 feet below normal. The last time it was above the normal level of 714 feet was more than four years ago.

Kevin Lallier / Flickr.com

Oklahoma wheat farmers want the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement now a policy that's scheduled to start in 2016 that farmers say would help ease the financial pain of ongoing drought.

The policy is part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

The amount of crop insurance a farmer is eligible for depends on actual production history. Farmers who lose crops to drought several years in a row have to report lower yields, meaning their insurance coverage decreases each year.

Duncan Public Works Director Scott Vaughn
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Duncan’s water supplies are already in bad shape because of the drought. Lake Waurika — Duncan’s main water source — is only about 32 percent full, and city officials are beginning to look toward groundwater as a lake levels continue to drop.

And if it weren’t enough for water supplies to be stretched to their limits, now the water itself is contaminated.

After four years of drought, municipal water storage in in Altus-Lugert lake has dropped to about 10 percent.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A drier than normal September has diminished drought recovery in Oklahoma, and weather experts say the dry pattern will continue through October.

Preliminary figures from the Oklahoma Mesonet show the statewide average rainfall total was 2.6 inches — 1.3 inches below normal and the 46th driest September since record-keeping began in 1895.

August and September combined for a statewide average of 3.9 inches — 2.6 inches below normal and the 22nd driest August-September period on record.

David Slane and Danni Legg (center) ask the public for petition signatures as a "last ditch effort" to get a school safe room issue on a future ballot.
Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Tornado Project

A group that wants storm shelters in every Oklahoma school has spent the last 90 days gathering signatures to get its initiative petition on the ballot. Take Shelter Oklahoma is still tens of thousands of signatures short of the required amount, but proponents now have more time than they originally thought. 

Ben and Kristen Jones stand on their empty lot that Rebuilding Together OKC is building using United Way tornado donations.
Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Tornado Project

In the wake of last year’s devastating tornadoes, millions of dollars in donations went to The United Way of Central Oklahoma. The non-profit organization also agreed to administer Governor Mary Fallin’s Oklahoma Strong tornado relief campaign. Together, the funds raised a total of $20 million. 

One week after the tornado hit the city of Moore in May of 2013, country singer Blake Shelton showed up to host a benefit concert called Healing in the Heartland.

The City of Moore's Shane Speegle inspects one home that is subject to the city's newer, more stringent building code.
Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Tornado Project

This March, Moore, Oklahoma became the first city in the nation to adopt a tornado-specific building code. City officials wanted homes to be able to withstand an EF-2 or EF-3 tornado.

But six months after the new regulations took effect, it turns out not all new homes built in the tornado’s path will have these upgrades.

Last week, on a block near Moore’s rebuilt Plaza Towers Elementary School, city official Shane Speegle walked through one house that had just been framed to check the progress.

Vicki / Flickr.com

Oklahoma officials say $1.5 million in drought grants is available for projects that highlight the responsible use of water.

The grants are capped at $500,000 each, and the deadline for application is Nov. 26. Gov. Mary Fallin says the responsible use of water is the most effective and immediate way to prevent future water shortages in Oklahoma.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, about 85 percent of Oklahoma is experiencing some form of drought, with the driest conditions occurring in the southwest and the Panhandle.

After four years of drought, municipal water storage in in Altus-Lugert lake has dropped to about 10 percent.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Water supplies in southwest Oklahoma are in danger of drying up as four years of drought drag lake levels to record lows. Some communities are scrambling to supplement their current water sources, while others look for new sources — in Texas.

Estimates say Duncan’s main water source — Lake Waurika — could be too low to use by 2016.

StateFarm / Flickr Creative Commons

After a series of severe storms swept through the state in May of last year, insurance carriers paid out over $1 billion in claims, making it the nation’s most costly disaster of 2013.

Most insurance issues have now been settled, but many homeowners are looking at higher rates than they were paying before the storm.

Kurt Gwartney / Eastern Oklahoma Region American Red Cross

Classes are canceled in Bartlesville after severe storms swept through the area, knocking out electricity to many areas of the northern Oklahoma city.

The Monday storms also downed tree limbs and power lines in Craig, Osage and Nowata counties. No injuries have been reported.

Bartlesville Public Schools officials say classes are canceled Tuesday at all campuses because of the power outages.

Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Tornado Project

With threats ranging from ice storms to tornadoes, Oklahoma ranks first in the nation in the number of presidentially declared disasters over the past 14 years.

That’s why the state says it's important for local officials to maintain hazard mitigation plans, explaining the steps they're taking to reduce or eliminate their risks. But keeping things up-to-date has proven tough. 

Welcome to Duncan, Okla. sign.
J. STEPHEN CONN / Flickr Creative Commons

Duncan will move to a higher water conservation status that will take effect later this fall.

The Duncan Banner reports the Stage 4 rationing won't be enforced until October to give residents time to adjust their water usage.

The city revised that status, which previously prohibited all outdoor water usage, to allow residents to use water outside one day each week.

Residents living north of Elk Avenue will be allowed to water their lawns for nine hours on Wednesday. Those living south of Elk Avenue can do so on Saturdays.

Students Return To New Schools After 2013 Moore Tornado

Aug 18, 2014
Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Tornado Project

This week marks 15 months since a deadly tornado swept through Moore, Oklahoma, leveling two schools and taking the lives of seven children inside Plaza Towers Elementary. It’s been a long journey, but the schools finally reopen Tuesday, and the kids are excited to be back.

10-year-old Marissa Miley was finishing up third grade at Moore’s Briarwood Elementary last year when an EF-5 tornado destroyed her school.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr.com

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $112,000 to the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma to use to administer the tribe's environmental program and to help develop multimedia programs to address environmental issues.

The funds may also be used for attending environmental training and conducting community outreach.

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