natural disasters

StateImpact Oklahoma
8:44 am
Thu December 11, 2014

State Water Regulator Works To Reclassify Risks Of Decades-Old Oklahoma Dams

Families and a fisherman along the spillway beneath Broken Bow Dam in southeastern Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma has nearly 5,000 dams, more than most other states. When they were built, they were classified based on the risk their failure would pose to people and property.

But for many dams, it’s been decades since that risk was evaluated, and the potential hazard has changed because Oklahoma has changed. There are houses, roads and people where there weren’t before.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:47 am
Mon May 19, 2014

City Of Duncan Water Rationing Unchanged As Waurika Lake Withers

From the latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor, showing most of western Oklahoma in extreme or exceptional drought, the worst categories.
U.S. Drought Monitor

In October 2013, Waurika Lake, a source of water for Lawton, Duncan, and surrounding communities in southwest Oklahoma, was at 44 percent of its conservation pool. As of Tuesday, the water level was at 39.53 percent, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:40 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Federal Flood Insurance Fix Still Means Higher Premiums For Some Oklahomans

Credit Robert Pos / Flickr Creative Commons

Only about 18,000 of Oklahoma’s 3.8 million residents have flood insurance. And less than half of that many have policies that are subsidized by the federal government. But for those 7,000 or so Oklahomans, flood insurance is getting much more expensive.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:17 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

From Guymon To Poteau And Beyond: The Biggest StateImpact Stories Of 2013

Logan Layden talks with Kiowa historian 'Joe Fish' DuPoint about the potential impact of limestone mining on Longhorn Mountain in August 2013.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The StateImpact team traveled about 10,000 miles in 2013 to interview Oklahomans about how government policy affects their lives.

Our reporting took us to all corners of Oklahoma, across the border into Texas, and to the nation’s capital and the U.S. Supreme Court.


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StateImpact Oklahoma
3:15 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Former Creek County Refinery Site Added To Superfund Priority List

A map from the EPA shows the location of the 125-acre Wilcox Oil Company Superfund site near Bristow, Okla.
Credit Environmental Protection Agency

A site near Bristow, abandoned decades ago by a pair of oil refiners, has been added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of most hazardous national cleanup priorities.

The EPA on Dec. 12 added the Wilcox Oil Company site to the Superfund National Priorities List, a federal program that investigates and directs cleanup efforts at the country’s “most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites.”

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:13 am
Thu December 12, 2013

A Wet Year Doesn’t Mean Any Part of Oklahoma Is Safe From Drought In 2014

The latest update of drought conditions in Oklahoma.
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

Parts of Oklahoma have been suffering from severe and exceptional drought conditions for three straight years. That is a long time, especially for communities in western Oklahoma.

But this drought might be closer to its beginning than its end, and with little warning could encompass the entire state next year.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:01 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Oklahomans Live With Shaking As Researchers Study Earthquake Swarm

Amanda and Keith Erwin, of Edmond, say they're learning to live with near-daily earthquakes. The Erwins have written letters to both of their state lawmakers asking them to investigate.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Keith Erwin says they remind him of the artillery he used to hear growing up near the Fort Sill Army base in Lawton. His wife Amanda says the earthquakes sound like thunder.

“The chandelier was swinging, and the walls were rumbling, the bed was rumbling,” Amanda Erwin says.

That’s when the game starts.

“We just turn and look at each other … what do you think it was? A 2.5? Nah … that had to have been a 3.0,” Keith Erwin says.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:31 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Red Cedars Aren’t As Thirsty As We Thought, But They Still Suck

This 2011 fire in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge was fueled, in part, by red cedars.
Credit Dennis Frank / Flickr Creative Commons

Eastern Red Cedar trees are bad for Oklahoma. The volatile oils they contain can cause the trees to explode during wildfires, spreading embers over hundreds of yards. They crowd out other plants, force wildlife off their habitats, and steal rainfall — which is bad news during a drought.

As The Journal Record‘s Brian Brus reports, it’s been said each red cedar can guzzle dozens of gallons of water each day:

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:33 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

StateImpact On OETA: Oklahoma Wind Farms And Weather Radar

StateImpact Oklahoma's Joe Wertz
Credit Oklahoma Educational Television Authority / YouTube

StateImpact reporter Joe Wertz was a guest on OETA’s Oklahoma News Report last week to discuss his report on how wind farms interfere with weather radar.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:03 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Why The Growth Of Wind Energy Worries Weather Forecasters In Oklahoma

Radar systems engineer Redmond Kelley and Caleb Fulton, an assistant professor of engineering, test an experimental phased-array weather radar in Norman.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is now No. 6 in the nation in wind-generated electricity capacity, and last week the state helped set a wind power record for the entire region.

Wind farms are multiplying and expanding in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and throughout the Great Plains, where the nation’s wind energy potential is concentrated.

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