Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's the End of the World As We Know It

"For a Weekend, Oklahoma is Earthquake Country" -NYTIMES

"Oklahoma battered by tornadoes, hail" - Los Angeles Times


Notably, there was a 92 mph wind gust reported at Burns flat.  The large tornado was on the ground for nearly 20 minutes, lifted, and then continued northeast on the ground for another 30 minutes.  I started Near Frederick and Tillman, Oklahoma and dissipated somewhere near Anadarko. 
I love storm chasing but unfortunately you have to do your fair share as a part of a weather team, so I helped out at the "base."  Mike put on his big show while I helped forecast, update graphics, upload pictures, update the marquee, and contribute to facebook and twitter.  I will just straight up say, I'd rather be in the field chasing ANY DAY over sitting inside staring at the radar.  But like I said, fair is fair and I have to be a good girl and wait for my turn!

Oklahoma has been all over national news for our notable catastrophes this year.  As a meteorologist, it's been thrilling.  Viewers like to think "weather" also covers earthquakes, astronomy, tsunamis, etc.  IT'S NOT WEATHER! But since we are science nuts, it's still very interesting so we will still talk about it.


I felt my very first earthquake Friday night.  I tried to go to bed early to wake up and run with the OKC Landrunners for the first time.  Since I'm used to going to bed around 1am, I had trouble falling asleep.  Ironically enough I was dreaming about tornadoes (not as usual as you'd think) when I felt a gentle rumble.  I knew immediately what it was!  I jumped out of my bed and ran into the living room where my roommate and I hugged in celebration! It was both of our first times experiencing an earthquake!  How thrilling!  So what do I do? Stand under the door frame? Hide under a table? No, I immediately go on twitter and facebook to confirm my hypothesis.  It was a source of entertainment.  Comments like "The tsunami warnings are going off on Lake Hefner" and "Looks like some large ladies in Prague were doing the Cha-Cha" cracked me up!  

The USGS says Friday night's earthquake was a "fore shock" to the "big one" on Saturday night.  I came home from work Saturday night and around 10:50 pm I heard the familiar rumble again.  It sounds like a large truck driving by the house or an old, loud dryer. We shook for about 10 seconds or so and then a stronger, longer quake rattled on for about a minute!  Our chandelier swayed but that was pretty much it.  I was excited and perplexed at the same time.  

Roof collapses in Sparks, OK
Damage at St. Greg's in Shawnee

In all seriousness, the quake damaged numerous homes and buildings in Prague, Sparks, and Shawnee, located near the epicenter. 

4.7 Magnitude quake on Monday, November 7 - the same day as a large tornado & severe storms
After feeling another earthquake on Monday, November 7 around 8:30pm...it makes me ask many questions.  Why is this happening now? Will it continue? Can the earthquakes be stronger? Will we have to get used to them like California?  I'd really like to speak with a geologist.  Many people have asked me if you can predict an earthquake.  The answer is no.  Geologists can pinpoint an area most likely to experience an earthquake but the timing is unknown.  The USGS says Monday's 4.7 quake is an aftershock from Saturday night's big one.  Or is it a "fore shock"? I guess we will find out soon!

"Oklahoma earthquake: just one of state’s several record-setting natural events in 2011" - Washington Post

2011 has been one heck of a year!  Let's go over the list of records shattered:
* Jan 31-Feb 2: 2nd highest snowstorm snowfall total for Oklahoma City at 12.1" (ties with Feb 5-7, 1988)
* Feb 1: Daily snowfall record, all time February snowfall record for Oklahoma City at 11.8"
* Feb 10: Oklahoma's coldest temperature on record at -31 degrees in Nowata
* Feb 10: Oklahoma's heaviest 24-hour snowfall on record with 27" in Spavinaw

* May 23: Oklahoma's largest hailstone on record at 6" diameter in Gotebo
* May 24: Oklahoma's highest wind speed recorded with 151 mph at Mesonet site in El Reno due to a nearby EF-5 Tornado
* May 24: First EF-5 tornado rating in Oklahoma since 1999

* Hottest summer on record with an average temperature of 87.5 degrees beating the previous record of 85.9 degrees set back in 1980 and 1934
* Hottest July on record
*Highest number of 100 degree days at 63 shattering the old record of 50 100 degree days set back in 1980
*Number of 105 degree days or higher...consecutive and annually
*23 new record highs this summer
* Drought conditions similar to the dustbowl with the entire state classified as a "severe drought" or worse for most of August and September.

*The end of August/early September nearly 600 wildfires burned across Oklahoma, damaging more than 20,000 acres of land
*November 5: Strongest Oklahoma earthquake on record with magnitude of 5.6

And this is NOT a record, but I think having a 4.7 magnitude earthquake, large tornado, 
baseball size hail, and flash flooding in the same day should count for something!

What's next?!


It's crazy but in a way I really love it.  Of course, I never want destruction, but from a scientific standpoint...this is a very  interesting time to be living in the state of Oklahoma!

Thanks for reading, friends!  I am still training for the Tulsa Route 66 Half Marathon.  I will write about that in the future.  It's been too long!  Have a great week!