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.

The December 30, 2014 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor for Oklahoma.
U.S. Drought Monitor

The drought in southwest Oklahoma has lingered for more than four years now, and it will take more than a wet end to 2014 to stop it — a lot more.

Despite receiving above average December precipitation, the City of Duncan will ban all outdoor watering beginning next week. That’s because water levels in Waurika Lake, Duncan’s only current drinking water source, continue to drop.

2014 Weather In Review

Jan 5, 2015
Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Winter was noticeably absent through much of December, a deceptively warm month that ended more than 2 degrees above normal to rank as the 38th warmest since records began in 1895.

The season finally lived up to its name during the month's final week, however, with a swath of 3-5 inches of snow along the I-44 corridor in southwestern Oklahoma, along with another icy plunge to ring in the New Year. New Year's Eve was celebrated with patches of freezing drizzle, snow, sleet and below-zero wind chills.

Lisa Davis (right) with the advocacy group Save Lake Texoma near the Rooster Creek Bridge at Lake Texoma State Park.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

It's a new year in Oklahoma, but the same old drought is still here.

The U.S. Drought Monitor says Oklahoma's lingering drought barely budged for the second consecutive week.

The report says about 62 percent of the state remains in drought. The Oklahoman reports that nearly 22 percent of Oklahoma was listed in extreme or exceptional drought.

The drought's worst effects are in southwestern and western Oklahoma. Many of those areas have been in drought since October 2010.

National Weather Service / Norman Forecast Office

The National Weather Service has issued an Ice Storm Warning for much of southwestern and central Oklahoma through 6 a.m. Saturday.

Norman Forecast Office meteorologist Doug Spehager says temperatures will linger right around freezing across much of the area today, and figuring out just where that freeze line will be has made predicting this winter storm tricky.

Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

After a cold front brought sleet and snow to parts of Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas over the weekend, National Weather Service forecasters say we’re in for another Arctic blast and wintry precipitation.

Starting Monday evening temperatures will fall into the teens and 20s, and breezes from the north will drop wind chills into the teens, to as low as 5 degrees below zero early Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Vicki / Flickr.com

The U.S. Drought Monitor says almost 1.5 million Oklahomans are being affected by drought.

In the past month, the percentage of Oklahoma classified as being in exceptional drought has increased slightly from about 5 percent to almost 6 percent. Most of the areas experiencing exceptional drought are in the southwest corner of the state with a small area in northern Ellis County.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the terms of a plan to further study the Upper Red River Basin as part of the Water SMART Basin Studies Program.

The study, which has an estimated cost of approximately $1.4 million, will help Oklahoma’s southwest corner find ways to best conserve and manage the water they draw from the Upper Red River Basin. Southwest Oklahoma, Planning and Management Division Chief Julie Cunningham said, has been the region most affected by recent drought conditions in the state.

Saturated thickness map of Ogallala Aquifer with Keystone XL route layered.
Kbh3rd / Wikipedia Commons

The U.S. Geological Survey says groundwater levels are declining in an aquifer that serves parts of Oklahoma and seven other states.

The USGS has released a report on changes in groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala Aquifer.

USGS scientist Virginia McGuire says measurements between 2011 and 2013 represent a large decline in groundwater levels and are likely due to increased groundwater pumping.

cows
SoonerPA / Flickr Creative Commons

The ongoing drought in Oklahoma affects everyone in the country. Well, everyone who likes to eat beef, that is. Beef and veal prices will have risen by about 11.5 percent in 2014, and, as Reuters reports, “will increase significantly again in 2015″ because of drought in the Southern Plains.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Oklahoma Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe vowed that legislation for building the Keystone XL Pipeline "will see the light of day" in a new Congress, moments after the Democrat-controlled Senate narrowly defeated a bill to approve the project. 

Tuesday's final vote was 59-41. The bill needed 60 votes to reach the White House. The House passed it overwhelmingly last week.

Update: Winter Weather in Oklahoma

Nov 16, 2014
November 16 2014
National Weather Service

The snow has ended for northern OK and is expected to end this evening across parts of central and southern OK, and western north TX. However, despite the snow ending, slick roadways, bridges, overpasses, and sidewalks will remain likely overnight into at least Monday morning. So take it easy, slow down, and allow extra time to get to your destination tonight into tomorrow, including during the morning commute.

Wind chills will also remain cold overnight into Monday morning with values ranging from around zero into the low teens.

Weather And Road Conditions For Sunday

Nov 16, 2014
November 16 2014
National Weather Service

Snow bands will develop behind a strong cold front and spread south today and this evening. Snow accumulations of 1-4 inches will be possible over much of the northern half of Oklahoma, with the heaviest amounts across parts of northern OK. A few places may receive more than 4 inches. The snow will create slick spots on roads, bridges, overpasses and sidewalks. REMEMBER: Exact locations of snowfall amounts can and will likely vary or change.

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.

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