Has spring sprung? The calendar says NO! It’s February 21st. But what does the calendar know? Oklahoma’s plants and weather tell us that spring’s onset has begun. These iris are under a heavy mulch of leaves and in a low light area. That hasn’t slowed their emergence. Picture taken February 21, 2017 in Chickasha, OK.
January was a month of surprises! We froze from some of the coldest temperatures we’ve seen since 2011, then ended the month basking in spring-like, warm weather.
For January, the departure from Oklahoma Mesonet‘s 15-year average air temperatures ranged from 5 degrees above average in the Northeast and Southeast to 1 degree below average at Kenton in the Panhandle. The majority of winter wheat and canola fields were in areas that came in at 1-2 degrees above average.
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.
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).
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 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).
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.
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
Crack – Crash – Shatter
Another limb just broke and fell to the ground with ice shattering like glass from the impact. As I’m trying to find ways to monitor whether the ice is getting worse or melting, I remembered that the Oklahoma Mesonet has air temperature sensors at two heights. The Inversion Map shows both air temperatures. Continue reading
The transition time of fall means we need to be ready for hot or cold, wet or dry. We have to think summer one day and more like winter the next. Sometimes, that transition happens within hours.
Right in the middle of your conversation about how drought has cut hay production someone brings up climate. What pops into your mind? Do you have a picture of climate?
Drought is easy to picture. The empty ponds, low lakes, dried up crops are ready reminders of drought’s devastating impact. Weather is easy to picture. It’s what’s going on as soon as we step outside. Sun, wind, rain, heat, cold all give us an immediate picture in our mind. Pictures of climate? For most of us, it’s hard to picture climate. And if we can’t picture it, how can we get a grasp on the long-term cycles and patterns of climate? How can we know where in the cycle we are? How can we know what to expect?
One way to picture climate is with a graph over time. There is a tool that can be used to create graphs of climate for any of the 48 continental USA states or any of the 344 climate divisions. These graphs use data from NOAA’s National Climate Data Center back to 1895.
The tool is the Historical Climate Trends Tool made available through the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program at www.southernclimate.org.