Earthquakes and Hurricanes and Heat, Oh My!

Wednesday, August 24th 2011, 2:23 pm
By: News On 6

Mother Nature sure is flexing her muscles this week. Although the worst of this week's weather seems to be focused on the East Coast, Oklahoma isn't entirely out of the mix. But first, let's talk about the extreme events going on.

Earthquakes: Tuesday's earthquake in Virginia was enough to rattle the nerves of folks up and down the East Coast. In my old stomping grounds of Maryland, the earthquake was enough to shake books off shelves. They, like us in Oklahoma, are not used to feeling earthquakes, but they do happen from time to time. This was the largest earthquake on the East Coast since World War II. Colorado also had a 5.3 temblor earlier this week – the largest in that state in more than 40 years. Even Oklahoma had a 3.0 earthquake near Chickasha last Thursday. It just goes to show wild events like these can occur in unexpected places. The timing of two larger ones in less earthquake-prone locations within a week is certainly anomalous, however.

Hurricanes: Mean Irene continues to gain strength as a major hurricane. It is projected that it could reach Category 4 strength as it plows through the northern Bahamas. The latest computer models are showing some consistency in its path, giving us more confidence of where we'll see Irene's impacts. Right now, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are a target location for a landfall or near-miss. Either way, the size and strength of Irene will make its presence felt well inland from there. Given the unusually warm waters along the Gulf Stream further north, Irene could maintain 100+ mph winds as it moves uncomfortably close to the Jersey Shore and into New England. New York City could even take a major beating from Irene late this weekend. Still, there is time for a shifting path, and that could make all the difference in the world in terms of impact.

Heat: This is our weather burden of the week. Extreme heat is back with a vengeance today with temperatures topping out at or above 105. This will push the number of 100-degree days in Tulsa into the 40s for the summer. Yuck. The good news is, a cold front will cool things off a touch by tomorrow and a strong push of cooler air may arrive early next week. In any case, September is just around the corner. Hang in there!