In the interest of not dragging this out for a couple more months, which I could probably do, I'll try to wrap up my "These Two Years" installment this week.
The second half of 2010 saw two extremes: wet and dry. The floods in mid June 2010 brought very high rain totals in a short amount of time. Central Oklahoma saw anywhere from 5" to nearly 13" of rain. However, as devastating as this rain was for many Oklahomans, it would be the last significant rain we'd see for a few months, leading to some of the worst drought conditions the state has seen.
The lack of rain following those floods would begin a trend that took place over the course of an entire year … and then some. Only in the last few months of 2011 did we receive enough rain to finally dial back the drought to a point where it's manageable again. Look for an updated report on the drought in the near future.
During the course of the drought, Oklahoma traversed through more big storms. The first of two winter storms arrived at the end of January 2011, bringing flashbacks of the 2009 Christmas Eve blizzard. A second snowstorm blew into the state just a week later. While this storm wasn't as extreme as its earlier counterpart, having two winter storms back-to-back wrought havoc on trying to keep schools and roads open.
Things remained relatively quiet through the late winter and early spring days until mid April, when severe weather reared its ugly head, dropping an EF-3 tornado in the small community of Tushka, Oklahoma. A little over a month later, one of the more significant tornado outbreaks Oklahoma has even seen occurred on May 24. Starting in western and southwestern Oklahoma, these tornadoes roared through the state, bringing destructive winds and causing massive damage for portions of central Oklahoma. After all was said and done, the outbreak produced 2 EF-3s, 2 EF-4s, and even an EF-5 tornado. I haven't been through many tornado events in my lifetime, so this one was quite the eye-opener. We saw this outbreak coming a few days before the event actually happened and once it arrived, it met all expectations. I tried to compare my experience during the May 10 tornadoes to this one, but this event seemed like a much bigger deal. Again, this is a very subjective viewpoint, as I only had one other tornado event to compare it to. Both events had very unique qualities, but May 24 stemmed from a SPC High Risk – something not seen very often.
As if severe weather during Spring wasn't enough, later that year, after one of the hottest and driest summers in Oklahoma history, severe weather showed itself again in early November with tornadoes dropping over the Wichita Mountains. It seems as if Mother Nature knew we had yet to see everything.
My first two years at News 9 were memorable and eventful. I always tell people it seems as if I've literally seen everything Mother Nature has to offer. Heck, I even felt my first earthquake after moving here! I'm not sure what 2012 holds, but if Mother Nature really wants to show everything, I'll be watching the tropics to see if a hurricane holds together to impact Oklahoma this year. Seems to be the only thing left on the checklist. Stay tuned…