Wind’s Weather Role in NW Oklahoma Complex Fires (part 3 of 3)

The stage was set. The players for a drama of tragic proportions assembled. Two leads waited their cue. Already on stage were fine dead fuels from previous growing seasons, low moisture in February, and super low humidities. The next player in the drama entered, high wind speeds. This article is part 3 of 3 articles exploring weather conditions that set the stage for the Northwest Oklahoma Complex Fires that broke out on Monday, March 6, 2017.

2017-03-16.1Mb.Fire wall behind field and farmer.Terena Burke Bridwell.Barby Ranch.The Oklahoman

(Photo: Terena Burke Bridwell/Barby Ranch Beaver County)

At 11:00 AM March 6th winds across Beaver County were out of the southwest. Wind speed at the Oklahoma Mesonet Beaver site was 37 miles per hour. Continue reading

Relative Humidity’s Weather Role in NW Oklahoma Complex Fires (part 2 of 3)

As relative humidities drop, standing, dead plant stems dry out. Dense, dead, dry grasses were the primary fuel source for the devastating fires that flared up on March 6, 2017 in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. This article is part two of a three part series. It covers the relative humidity conditions in Oklahoma leading into this horrendous fire day.

AgBlog.Fire and dead grass.Kathy Larson and Joe Coffey.The Cayenne Room.Oregon (1)

March kicked off with relative humidities unusually low across Oklahoma. Continue reading

February’s Weather Role in NW Oklahoma Complex Fires (part 1 of 3)

Intense, devastating fires flared up one week ago in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. This article is part one of a three part series. It covers the long-term conditions leading into this horrendous fire day. Part One covers weather factors in February that contributed to extremely dry conditions in Beaver, Harper, and Woodward Counties.

2017-03-07.NW OK Complex Fire.fire and truck line at night.Carmen Fire Dept 2

(Photo: Carmen Fire Department 3/7/17)

Continue reading

2016 Monthly Air Temperature Review

What did you think of 2016? Was it a hot year? A cooler than average year? Would you believe that the summer was close to average?

Where the heat really came in was the spring and fall. Those were the seasons that climbed way above average.

For the year, 2016 was slightly warmer than the long-term 15-year Oklahoma Mesonet average from 2001-2015. Putnam and Minco were the warmest locations at 3 degrees above their average air temperatures. Most of the eastern side of Oklahoma was 2 degrees above average. In the west, most Mesonet sites were 1 degree above average.

2017-01-05.2016 Avg Air Temperature Continue reading

Frigid Oklahoma Cattle Comfort

What a cold weekend we just went through! For Oklahoma, the cold air swept through the state on Saturday, December 17, 2016. The next two mornings, Sunday and Monday, were especially brutal for cattle.

Checking the Mesonet Cattle Comfort Advisor for Saturday, the maximum Cattle Comfort Index values ran from 82 degrees at Broken Bow in the southeast to zero at Boise City and Eva in the Panhandle.

2016-12-17.cattlecomfort.warmest
Continue reading

Cattle Comfort Rollercoaster

Oklahoma’s weather roller coaster has opened for business. And on the farm, the cattle are feeling it. Warm, cold, warm, cold and how about a day of drizzle that turned to freezing rain with a biting wind (Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016).

2016-12-17.Cow in snow.face

Temperature weather variability has two sides. One side is the peak-to peak (amplitude) of the variability, how high or low temperatures go. The mornings of December 17th and 18th are going to be bitter cold with extreme lows. Continue reading

October Warm Temps and Lack of Rain

October followed a warm September with above average temperatures. Unfortunately, what was below average in October were our rainfall totals.

Looking back at October, our average air temperatures for the month were 4 to 7 degrees above average. Northern and central sections of the state, the yellow-orange areas, had the largest departure from the Oklahoma Mesonet Long-term 15-year average (2001-2015).

2016-11-04.Oct 2016.Air Temp Avg departure Continue reading

Fog On the Mesonet

Fog can put a real damper on travel and work plans. Fog slows you down and puts you at greater driving risk. On the farm, fog stops spraying, harvest, and planting. Fog is difficult to forecast. High moisture has to come together with low wind speeds over an extended period of time for radiation fog to set in. The Oklahoma Mesonet recorded those conditions on Thursday morning, October 27, 2016 across Central and Northeastern Oklahoma.

Fog and two trucks Continue reading

Working and Playing in the Heat

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.

2016-06-14.Woman exercise red face
Source: Popsugar.com Health Jenny Sugar, March 17, 2016

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