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Stifling Heat Grips Oklahoma; No Relief In Sight

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Temperatures are expected to stay above 100 degrees for the next several days. Temperatures are expected to stay above 100 degrees for the next several days.
A map of Oklahoma counties currently under a burn ban. A map of Oklahoma counties currently under a burn ban.
The drought has hit Oklahoma farmers hard. The drought has hit Oklahoma farmers hard.
Water jug set up at a Tulsa cooling station [file photo] Water jug set up at a Tulsa cooling station [file photo]

TULSA, Oklahoma -- There appears to be no relief in sight as a major heat wave continues to dominate Oklahoma's weather forecast.

News On 6 meteorologist Alan Crone says a ridge of high pressure is forecasted to build across northern Oklahoma this weekend and he sees little relief in sight.

Read Alan Crone's weather blog.

Our triple digit temperatures and dry conditions are prompting prayers, burn bans and calls for conservation all across our state.

Governor Mary Fallin has called for a statewide day of prayer this Sunday, July 17, 2011, urging Oklahomans to pray for rain.

Ernie Ferreira with Okmulgee County Rural Water District Seven hopes those prayers are answered soon.

"It's hot, it's dry. I mean, the ground is really hard. It's just dry," he said.

The district is now on a growing list of districts statewide urging people to conserve water as Oklahoma faces one of the hottest and driest stretches of weather in decades.

"When Mother Nature is like this, it's up to us now, we've got to help each other, and if we don't help each other, then we're in trouble," Ferreira said.

The problem is with increased usage during the heat wave, it's hard to keep the towers full, hard to keep up water pressure, and hard to get water to all the customers.

"If the weather don't change, we're in trouble," Ferreira said.

Oklahoma could also be in for trouble with wildfires.

The governor has also issued a burn ban in 45 Oklahoma counties; 20 additional counties not included in the statewide proclamation have enacted their own, including Okmulgee County.

7/14/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma Governor Issues 45-County Burn Ban

Chad Bonds is with the Nuyaka volunteer fire department.

"One little spark is all it takes and we're on a grassfire," Bonds said.

With the burn bans in place, firefighters and state and county leaders hope to prevent any more wildfires in a state that has seen 140 already this year.

"With the dry conditions, lack of rain, we're having some problems, even green grass will burn right now," he said.

With conditions so dangerously dry, many compare it to 1980's record setting heat wave. So, it's hoped people conserve, use caution, and connect to a higher power as we all try to get through the blistering conditions.

The Okmulgee County Rural Water District Number Seven is also now charging double to customers for water they use above 12,000 gallons a month as a way to discourage excessive water use.

There are three cooling stations open in Tulsa.

The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center
621 East 4th Street 
Open Noon to 9 p.m. [7 days a week]

Tulsa County Social Services
2401 Charles Page Boulevard
8:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. [7 days a week]

Salvation Army Center of Hope
102 North Denver
Open 24 hours a day [7 days a week]

EMSA is also reminding resident about ways of staying cool in this heat.

  • Plan your outdoor activities wisely such as mowing the yard, washing the car, running bicycling. These activities can be accomplished more safely in the early morning hours or just before the sun sets.
  • Stay out of the heat - stay indoors, if no air conditioning is available, visit a cooling station or public building such as libraries or malls
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids, such as water or sports drinks
  • Wear light colored clothing
  • Never leave a child unattended in a car for any length of time

For more information about dealing with this heat, check out Extreme Heat page.

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