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Cold snap sets records across Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ This week's cold snap equaled or shattered decades-old records across Oklahoma, officials said.

Record-low temperatures were reported in 43 counties early Friday, and 14 counties saw temperatures dip below zero, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

The lowest temperature was minus-7 degrees at a Mesonet site in Vinita in Craig County, although that only tied the record set on Dec. 9, 1917. The overnight temperature in Bartlesville bottomed out at minus-6.

Other areas reached minus-5 degrees in Nowata County and minus-4 degrees in Mayes, Osage, Rogers and Tulsa counties.

The temperature reached minus-3 degrees in Okmulgee and Creek counties, minus-2 in Cherokee and Muskogee counties, and 1 degree below zero in Haskell, Lincoln, Okfuskee, Payne and Seminole counties.

``This was a pretty dang impressive last couple of days,'' said Derek Arndt, climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

While it is easy to say that a record was broken, the system for tracking temperatures and rainfall is far more complex, Arndt said.

Parts of the state have volunteer observers who have kept track of daily temperatures for a half-century or longer, but others have more sporadic recordkeepers with less longevity. Gaps in the service mean those records aren't as long term.

``A lot of times when records get broken it says more about the existing record,'' Arndt said. ``Coal County has gone through much of its history without an observer (so) we're only comparing that to 40 or 50 years of observations, whereas in Pittsburg County next door we're comparing that to 100 years of history.''

Friday's high temperature reached 40 degrees at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, according to the weather service. The low was 6 degrees, three degrees off the record set in 1919.

In Tulsa, the low of 0 early Friday tied a record set in 1917.

Forecasters said temperatures will warm up for the weekend, with clear skies, light wind and highs in the high 40s and low 50s. Most areas should see 50s on Sunday.
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