Archive for December, 2006

Winter storm is finally over
December 31, 2006

After producing as much as 5 feet of snow over northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado, the second winter storm of the year is finally gone. Roads are still closed out west and will be so through New Year’s Day. We even saw a little bit of snow this morning in the metro and across northern Oklahoma. The snow came down heavy enough to blanket the ground white before quickly melting. Get ready, because computer models are starting to hint at a major arctic outbreak around the 10th of January!!!
AT

Some good rains for the state
December 31, 2006

Hugo Oklahoma ended up with the most rain at 4.44 inches, but other areas between there and McAlester ended up close to 4 inches as well. We saw about an inch over central Oklahoma and up to 3 inches in the eastern panhandle. Of course, it’s not only the rain they saw, but also freezing rain/drizzle/and snow!
AT

Tornadoes rip through Texas
December 30, 2006

As I type this, there have been over 3 dozen tornado warnings in the past few hours over Texas. They stretch from the Dallas area down to coast. Aggieland was hit today as a tornado ripped through College Station. It did damage to 2 apartment buildings and a strip mall. I’m pretty sure it’s total chaos down there right now. I started my television career at KBTX in Bryan/College Station in the mid 90s. My old boss, Bob French is still there and is no doubt up to his ears in severe weather coverage. I’ll be keeping an eye on these storms as they approach Oklahoma, but for now, it’s been just rain…
AT

Winter Storm Number 2
December 28, 2006

It’s on the way! Look for as much as 1 to 2 feet of snow in the Oklahoma panhandle by the time this system leaves the state. Otherwise we will be seeing a lot of rain. Flash flooding could actually become a problem if the rain falls at too heavy of a rate. This winter storm will cause a travel nightmare if you are heading west or north of the metro this weekend. Make sure you make alternate plans if roads start to close.
AT

Who will replace Frank?
December 27, 2006

It will be hard for us to replace Frank. He’s been a great member of the weather team and of the station. The person we look to take his place in the mornings will have to have a nice demeanor and that lighthearted smile. Frank was a good forecaster and worked hard during the Oklahoma weather events. While we continue our search of giving you a reason to tune to KOCO in the mornings, Steve and I will be filling in. It wasn’t long ago I was on the morning shift, but for health reasons couldn’t stay there. I just signed a contract extension, so I won’t be going anywhere for a couple of years. My wife and I like it here and are finally getting settled with the new house and all. Like Frank, I’ve done a lot to my home the first year or so and would like some time to enjoy that hard work!

As far as the forecast goes, get ready. Another winter storm is cranking up and heading this way. Details at 5, 6, and 10pm!

AT

Goodbye!
December 27, 2006

Tomorrow is my last day at KOCO-TV. I have had a happy and fulfilling six and a half years in Oklahoma, and I am leaving with many good memories. Arriving with my wife in 2000, we have doubled the size of our family, and will be leaving with two beautiful Okie children. We bought our first house in Oklahoma City, and I have developed a new hobby in home improvement. I am leaving a house that I have put gallons of sweat into, but also looking forward to the next project.

Wild Oklahoma weather was the reason we came to the Sooner state, and I was not disappointed. The Christmas storm in 2000 was a big snow producer, and a good welcome to the state. During the ice storm in 2002, I was out live in Bethany and Warr Acres, and I remember how thick the ice was, and the strong pine smell from all the trees downed. May 8 and 9 in 2003 were the big tornadoes that hit the Metro on back to back days. The rotation from the second storm went right over my neighborhood and headed toward the station. My wife and 4 month old were huddled in the closet. The storm produced a tornado about a mile southwest of my home. It lifted and then touched down again about 5 miles to the northeast. Not a tree limb down in the neighborhood. This second touchdown was just a quarter mile from the station, and it destroyed KOCO’s neighbors to the east. We had panicked travelers take refuge at our station, had to get all station employees into the tornado shelter, all while staying on the air. Other weather events still fresh in my mind are this year’s El Reno tornado and the snowstorm last month.

During severe weather events, I often rode my motorcycle to work. I would keep my car at home in the garage to protect it from hail. As long as it was not raining on the way to work, I would be on my bike. I did not care about getting wet on the way home, and if the storms hit the metro hard enough, I would get the pine smell of downed trees on the way home, something I would have missed if in my car. This was also an early warning to other employees coming into work. If they saw my bike in the parking lot, they knew bad weather was on the way.

While I will miss Oklahoma during tornado season (not because I like the destruction, but I enjoy the challenge of forecasting the worst of what Mother Nature sends our way), I will most miss the friends my family has made during the past six years. I have moved frequently in my life, and have had to say goodbye many times, but it really pains me to watch my girls with their little friends and know that they will not grow up together. Oklahoma is a great place to raise a family. I grew up in a small town that was a community, and have not experienced that until moving to Oklahoma…. even though I am in the big city here, it still feels like that small town community. I really hope I can find people as nice as Oklahomans in my new home.

Tomorrow is my last day. I turn in my station key, employee handbook and KOCO jacket in the morning, do the noon show, and then say goodbye for now. We are moving to South Carolina, where I will be the evening meteorologist at the CBS station in Myrtle Beach. I am looking forward to the challenge of tropical storms, and about double the average rainfall of Oklahoma City. The new location will make it possible for The Johnsons to hop into the car to visit family in either Massachusetts or Florida. From Oklahoma, both these locations are a two day drive, or an expensive plane trip. I look forward to seeing my nieces and nephews grow up, and I am excited that my girls will see their grandparents more often.

We will miss Oklahoma, but am sure we will be back to visit.

Frank

Back from vacation
December 26, 2006

Hope you had a Merry Christmas! I know that my wife and I did. We’ve got a couple of things to return to the store, dreading those crazy crowds! As I get settled into work I come back to a very challenging forecast. A slow moving storm system will approach the state bringing rain with it. Like Rick mentioned earlier, the potential is there for a messy situation around the plains once that system leaves the Rockies. If you are making New Year’s plans, it looks to be dry but cold.
AT

Another Storm This Week
December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas! It’s a cold, windy day but there’s plenty of sunshine. Our weather looks quiet through Wednesday, but Thursday through Saturday will be unsettled with rain and perhaps some snow in the state.

The next storm looks quite complicated and will likely result in all kinds of headaches for forecasters, in fact I feel one coming on right now. It appears that rain will break out on Thursday as temperatures will be well above freezing. Rain and even thunderstorms will be likely in the state Friday. There could be an outbreak of severe storms in states just east of Oklahoma. As colder air comes into the state, the rain could change to snow Friday night into Saturday, especially in the northwest.

It’s only Monday so the details of of how this storm is going to evolve are still unclear. I do believe that a significant snowstorm is possible somewhere in the Plains Friday into Saturday. The most likely area appears to be north of Oklahoma, perhaps Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. Some folks could even end up with a full fledged blizzard!

If you will be travelling anywhere in the southern and central Plains later this week, make sure you stay up to date with the latest forecasts regarding this storm.

I hope you have a great Christmas. I’ll have more on this storm coming up tonight at 5,6 and 10 pm. See you then.

Rick

Christmas Snow Flurries
December 22, 2006

There will be a couple of storm systems that will affect the southern Plains from Saturday through Christmas Day. The first one is going to pass south of Oklahoma, bringing rain to Texas from Saturday afternoon into Sunday. There is a small chance that some of the rain could make it into far southeast Oklahoma, but chances are much of the state will be dry.

The second storm system will drop in from the north by early Christmas morning. It will track right across Oklahoma. Now, the computer models are not in agreement as to whether this system will produce any precipitation for the state. At times they show some light snow or flurries, while other times they are dry. In any case, a small chance of a few flurries exists for Christmas Day. Even if they do occur, moisture will be limited so no travel problems are expected.

Whether it snows or not, Christmas will be rather cold with highs in the low 40s and a gusty north wind making it feel like the 20s and 30s.

Rick

A Bitterly Cold Christmas
December 21, 2006

Since this is the first day of winter, and with the Denver blizzard dumping huge amounts of snow, I’m in a winter frame of mind. This lead to remembering back to 1983 when the days leading up to and including Christmas were some of the coldest on record.

I was a sophmore in college living in Nebraska at the time. It was during the end of finals week and I remember driving my mom’s car to campus to take a final. The problem was that it was so cold, the lever that determines whether the air in the car is hot or cold was frozen in the cold position. I drove the car for a few blocks before my windows started fog up from my hot breath. The only solution was to roll down the windows so I could see. The problem was that the temperature was below zero! So there I was, in sub zero cold, driving my mom’s car with the windows down on the interstate. I can only imagine what the wind chill was inside that car. Needless to say I didn’t do very well on the final exam.

That cold snap affected Oklahomans as well. From December 21 through Christmas Day in 1983, several temperature records were set across the state. In OKC, records were set for the lowest high temperature:

12/21 11
12/23 10
12/24 3
12/25 13

Here are the OKC record lows that were set during that time:

12/21 -2
12/24 0
12/25 -1

Christmas 2006 promises to be not nearly as cold as 1983. Right now the next several days look dry with weekend and Christmas Day highs mostly in the 40s.

Rick