Thankfully, here in August we’ve had a summer heat reprieve. While we’re a little cooler, Oklahoma’s plants are still pulling a lot of water out of the soil each day. And for many Oklahoma locations soils are on the dry side. That can put a strain on unirrigated summer crops as they head to maturity.
As July comes to an end in Oklahoma, farmers’ thoughts are jumping ahead to harvest. Farmers that planted corn, cotton and peanuts are thinking about the heat units those crops need to mature. They want their efforts to end in good yields and good quality. To check on crop maturity they can turn to the Oklahoma Mesonet Degree-day Heat Unit Calculator.
We don’t seem to slide into summer heat in Oklahoma. Instead, summer arrives with searing heat, days after it was cool enough to grab a sweatshirt. Now that we’ve recovered from the shock of summer’s arrival, this would be a good time to take notes on how the heat impacted your cattle. Did your animals suffer from the heat? Did you note any times of unusual behavior?
In Oklahoma, you have the Mesonet Cattle Comfort Advisor that charts daytime heat and nighttime cooling. By matching up the Cattle Comfort index values to your cattle’s behavior, you can develop heat stress thresholds unique for your location and animals from your nearest Oklahoma Mesonet site.
One of the weather risks that falls through the cracks of concern is heat stress. Maybe that’s because air conditioning is so prevalent in our homes, cars, and businesses. Maybe folks think Oklahoma’s a hot place and we should just tough it out. But heat can be a real risk, especially if you haven’t acclimated to the heat.
When you go outside are you ready for the heat? Do you know how warm it will be? Can you work or play without risk? Do you have an idea as you grow older of how much heat stress you can take? Do you know when young kids should reduce outdoor activities? Do you let an outdoor task dictate how long you will work or do change your work or play time to the heat conditions? Continue reading
So when you think about air moisture do you think dewpoint or relative humidity? Get a group of meteorologists together and they’ll soon bring up dewpoint temperatures and its role in severe storms. Get a group of farmers together and they’ll fill you in on how they watch relative humidity for baling hay and prescribed burns.
You’re looking out your front door at another storm cloud. You’ve located it on radar. But do those brighter radar colors indicate torrential rain or falling hail. How big is the hail? Can you hit the road or should you wait? Is there any flooding? NOAA National Weather Service text products can help answer your questions.
When we have dry, dead grass, low humidity, and strong, gusty winds, it only takes a spark to setoff a disastrous fire. That’s what we had a week ago on Tuesday, April 5th.
(Image: Oklahoma Highway Patrol/Roy Anderson)
Arcing power lines sparked fires early Tuesday afternoon approximately six miles north of Woodward. Four fires merged into one fire. Firefighters from across the state responded to the call, yet even with the assistance of five aerial tankers by Thursday morning the fire had burned 54,200 acres and was only 10% contained. For this fire, named the 350 Complex, it would be take until the morning of April 11 to reach 80% containment. Continue reading
A couple of common questions we all have are, “When is it going to rain?” and “How much rain will we get?”
There is a tool from the National Weather Service that can give insight into both of those questions. The product is the National Weather Service’s Hourly Weather Forecast Graph. The Hourly Weather Forecast Graph shows forecasts of the chance of rain, amounts over time, and when to expect rain.
One day winter comes calling. The next day you open the door to a warm, blast of air. If you’re a farmer or rancher considering when to pull cattle off of wheat pasture, what are you using to make that decision? Best guess or measure?
(Image: Todd Johnson, OSU DASNR)
There is a way to monitor when to move cattle off of wheat. It combines going to the field to check wheat stems for first hollow stem and the Mesonet First Hollow Stem Advisor. Continue reading
When rainfall data counts, it’s a shock to go to the Oklahoma Mesonet and find ‘NA,’ ‘Not Available.’ Just like you, all of us at the Mesonet hate missing data too. That is why we are so committed, from our field techs to our website wizards, to collect and confirm all the data we can from the Oklahoma Mesonet system. The Mesonet team works continually to make sure that quality assured data keeps flowing from Mesonet’s 120 sites, every five minutes, every day.
(Part of the Oklahoma Mesonet Team at the Ron Elliott Mesonet Site Dedication – 09/11/15)