Archive for October, 2011

From Green to Red and Then…
October 31, 2011

It’s that time of the year…when the leaves start to show their true colors as the cold air begins to impact the leafs around Oklahoma. So, why do leafs change color? Earth science time! As the Earth travels around the sun, the days begin to get shorter and shorter here in Oklahoma. When the days get shorter, the trees respond by producing less and less chlorophyll, the key element that gives the leafs the green color. As this happens, the green pigment vansishes and what is left is the real color of the leaf.

Sadly, the intense summer heat and drought has left many trees damaged and will play a big role in how the trees look this year. So, appreciate the trees that are showing color and remember, pine trees are meant to be green all year long, I heard an interesting comment this past week about how you could see the trees, including the pines changing color. Evergreens that change color are otherwise known as…dead.

-Damon

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Attention Warm Things….
October 27, 2011

Calling all fireplaces, car heaters and winter jackets….tonight/tomorrow morning is your time to shine! I ran the predictor temperature model and this is what it’s looking like for Friday morning…. brrrr. Oklahoma City has yet to hit the freezing mark and likely won’t until November. Frost could be an issue tomorrow morning.

-Damon

Not Done Counting…
October 27, 2011

Who knew!?!? Rain and lots of it for October is making this the 2nd wettest month so far this year. As of this morning, Will Rogers Airport had recorded 4.82″ of rain, and by the end of the day, I expect this number to be in the 5.75″ range. Yes, you may see the grass a tad greener for now, but did you know that the rain we’re seeing now will have HUGE implications come next Spring? How? I am so glad you asked. You see, this past spring, the Oklahoma wildflowers weren’t exactly the best..actually, they hardly bloomed at all. And one of the main reasons is because the rains didn’t come when they were suppose to. In order for a good wildflower season, you need the fall rains to get the seeds to sprout a good root system. So, this rain won’t only benefit us now, but come next spring, if the rain returns around March, then we should see quite a bit of color. Not to bad Oklahoma…

-Damon

It’s About Time!
October 24, 2011

I hear it all the time, if you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, give it a few mintues..it’ll change. That saying didn’t mean anything to me during the summer season as it was a constant hot and dry. But, perhaps it holds true for October as our weather has been all over the place. Fortunately, the crazy temperature ride has brought the rainfall in with it, which we all know we needed more than anything else.

Counting this past weekends rain, OKC now stands at 4.81″ of rain for the month. How awesome is that? Well, it’s more rain in 3 weeks than the last 3 months…COMBINED! And, we’re not done yet… with this Wednesday/Thursday rain maker rolling in, we could see that monthly rainfall report exceed 5 inches. How great would that be? 5 inches of rain in a month before we head into the driest time of the year… I’LL TAKE IT!

-Damon

Sooner Chill…
October 24, 2011

Get ready for a wild temperature ride for the last week of October as we track in a strong cold front that will throw our numbers all over the place.

Expect a cold front to roll in during the midday hours on Wednesday dropping our highs from the mid 80s tomorrow, to the mid 60s for Wednesday and mid 50s for Thursday. How big of a drop is this? Considering that our average high is 70 degrees this week, we could see some areas about 15-20 degrees below normal for Thursday. Fortunataly, it’s a quick moving airmass which means it won’t last long, maybe 48-60 hours or so. Yes, I know the cold air may not be what you are asking for, but I come with good news… and that’s RAIN!

Post cold front, there will likely be a system that rolls across The Southern Plains that could throw out some more rain for us. If the models are right, a good quarter to perhaps half inch of rain could fall starting Wednesday and outta here by midday THursday with the best chance for rain early Thursday. Rain, I’ll take…cold temperatures…meh…not yet.

-Damon

From Hot to Cold…
October 19, 2011

Just a few months ago, we were all sweating to the 100’s, now, we’re about to hit our first freeze. And, it may be earlier than you expect if you’re looking at history’s take on things.

We all know it’s been chilly, and while these temperatures we’re expecting would be deemed “warm” for the winter, for the fall, they are well below average. And while we’re not officially expecting a freeze for OKC, we will be getting close. Just how close? Right now we’re expecting a low of about 34 degrees or so. But, if we do fall 2 degrees, then we’ll be doing something we haven’t done in over a decade!

That’s right! If we hit 32 degrees, this will be the earliest we have hit the freezing mark in OKC in over a decade! Not since the year 2000 have we had a freezing temperature in OKC this early in the season. In 2000, we hit 32 on October 9th, since then every 1st freeze of the fall season has arrived in November except 2008 when we reached it near Halloween. But, don’t let this get you thinking that an early freeze means a cold winter. It has no bearing whatsoever…

-Damon

It’s Cold Front Season!
October 18, 2011

Fall brings an old friend back to Oklahoma–the cold front.  Sure, the cold front in January is not looked upon as a good thing, but the October cold front is kind of like a savior bringing relief from the lingering summer heat.  This past weekend through yesterday, high temps in Oklahoma were in the 80s and well above normal.  Last evening’s cold front brought an end to that heat.  As I type this, temps across the state are mostly in the 50s with a gusty northwest wind.  Here are the highest gusts recorded by the Oklahoma Mesonet since midnight:

The winds will stay frisky the rest of today.  Tomorrow will stilly be quite breezy, but Thursday will be a nice day with light winds.  As those winds decrease, the likelihood of frost increases.  There will be some frost in northern Oklahoma tonight, and across a larger part of the state, including the OKC metro area tomorrow night into Thursday morning.

As I look ahead to next week, the GFS computer model shows another strong cold front arriving next Wednesday or Thursday.  This one may even be colder than yesterday’s.  This is a map of predicted temperatures for a week from Friday:

It shows below freezing temps extending all the way to the Red River.  Again, this is still along way away, but it does show that the trend is for stronger and stronger cold fronts as we go deeper into fall.  That’s what usually happens.  Unfortunately, I don’t see much in the way of rainfall in the coming days.  Here’s the 8-14 day forecast for rainfall for October 25 – 31:

Sadly, all that brown equates to drier than normal conditions.  Speaking of dry, here’s a recap of rainfall in Oklahoma over the last year.  Thanks to the Oklahoma Mesonet for providing these.  This one is actual rainfall over the last 365 days:

And this one is how far above or below normal the rainfall has been for the last 365 days:

Plenty of yellows, oranges and reds mean that everyone is hurting for rain.  The forecast for the coming months will continue the trend of dryer than normal weather, so plan on the drought continuing.

Rick

The Most Amazing Stat of All!
October 12, 2011

These past few days have been “heaven” for Oklahoma. The rain has been just what we needed. And, if you don’t believe me, check out this stat above. 4.45 inches of rain not only makes this the wettest month since May when we had over 9 inches of rain, but the 4.45″ in the past 5 days is more rain than Will Rogers World Airport has had in the past 3 months COMBINED! And sadly, 4.45″ isn’t a lot of rain, but for us, it’s just what we needed. Let’s keep it coming!

-Damon

Ending The Drought
October 11, 2011

We all know just how awesome it was to see the rain falling for days this past weekend. It was the kind of rain that you could stare at all day. And now that it has ended, the moisture is soaking into the ground and filling the area lakes. This was te type of rain that likely helped the ground more than the lakes. Given the constant rate it fell, the ground was able to absorb a good amount of it. But, one storm won’t cure this drought… and neither will two..or 3! For the year, this is where we stand:

Looking at this deficit doesn’t appear too shabby. Yes, almost 6 inches. But, it’s not about how much rain you get, it’s how often you get it. We went way to long without getting rain. For the month, we’ll likely finish with above normal rainfall. Not bad! But, not even close enough to get us out of the drought.

The above graphic shows how much rain we need to get out of the drought. This map was actually composed by The NWS in Norman which is why Eastern Oklahoma is excluded. (This area belongs to the NWS in Tulsa). SO, according to The Palmer Drought Index, which takes into account the drought, temperatures and evaporation, we still need about a good foot of rain within the next few months to help us out. In other words, we need to finish the year off about 9 inches above normal to see the drought end completely. Sadly, I don’t see that happening.

-Damon

Time for a Quiz
October 6, 2011

Many of our loyal blog post followers have a thirst for weather knowledge. Some are “amateur meteorologists”, storm chasers, or just weathernuts. Most of our blog posts are either forecast driven or on a topic which we think would be interesting to you, but we wouldn’t have time to discuss on-air. This post is neither of those.

How bout a good ole fashioned weather quiz. Let’s get a barometer (ha!) on your weather knowledge. Some of the questions will be easy, some more difficult. Yes, you could look them up, but hey, you’re not really being graded so why spoiled the fun.

I’ll post the answers sometime Saturday afternoon. Feel free to leave your answers as a comment. Questions are courtesy of my brain.

#1  Relative Humidity is:

a)  a term used to describe the amount of moisture in the air compared to what the air could hold at the current temperature.

b)  the temperature at which the moisture in the air will saturate the air.

c)  a rapid change in moisture with height

d)  your sweaty Uncle Bob

#2  A pillow-like cloud that forms beneath the anvil of a thunderstorms. They are dragged downward by cold air sinking.

a)  wall cloud

b)  mammatus

c)  cumulonimbus

d)  lenticular

#3  The latest day in the year Oklahoma City has ever seen a 100-degree day is:

a)  August 30th

b)  September 30th

c)  October 30th

d)  None of the above

#4  The best weather chart to analyze warm and cold air advection is:

a)  Surface chart

b)  850 millibar chart

c)  700 millibar chart

d)  500 millibar chart

#5  Wind from a direction of 235 degrees is from the:

a)  Northeast

b)  Northwest

c)  Southeast

d)  Southwest

#6  The precipitation type (known as a hydrometeor in radar jargon) that will have the highest reflectivity return on Advantage Doppler HD is:

a)  rain

b)  hail

c)  sleet

d)  snow

#7  The wettest year in Oklahoma City history was 2007. How much rain did we get?

a)  56.95″

b)  59.43″

c)  62.18″

d)  66.79″

#8  When we refer to a hailstone the size of a tennis ball, how big a puppy are we talking about?

a)  1.75″ in diameter

b)  2.50″ in diameter

c)  4.00″ in diameter

d)  teacup poodle in diameter

#9  What percentage of mesocyclones produce tornadoes?

a)  10%

b)  25%

c)  40%

d)  50%

#10  ***Bonus 2 point question***  Rick leaves a train station at 3:00pm travelling east at 25mph. There are two stops along the way totaling 15 minutes, the second twice as long as the first. Damon leaves a train station on the same track heading west at 30mph, he only has one stop of five minutes, and his train can accelerate twice has fast where a= 30(x+9.8)^2….if they started 88 miles apart…..can the dewpoint ever be lower than zero degrees fahrenheit?

a)  yes

b)  no

Good luck, no cheating!……Rusty

Congratulations to Russ. He was the person who responded who got the most answers right. Russ, you get autographed pictures of Rick, Damon and myself. I will contact you via email to get your contact information.

**SPOILER ALERT – ANSWER KEY BELOW**

1) A  2) B  3)  B  4) B  5)  D  6) B  7) A  8 ) B  9) B  10) A