It was bound to happen sooner or later.
Weather records were made to be broken. The longer records are kept, the better the chances for them being broken. But don’t delude yourself into thinking that because you’ve lived in “XYZ” for “X” number of years that you’ve come close to experiencing all of the climatological extremes that are possible. You haven’t. It used to crack me up when I’d hear someone say, “I’ve never seen anything like this!” concerning a certain weather event. Well of course you haven’t. If humans lived to the ripe old age of 2,000 years, you might have something worthwhile. Otherwise, it just doesn’t hold up.
Having said that, I will say that, in the time I’ve observed snowfall at my location, the weather events of early February, 2011 were spectacular. Will they be surpassed someday? Yes. Hopefully, I’ll be around to savor them.
So on to the details. Here’s a Public Information Statement issued 17 February 2011 concerning the winter weather of that month and the records that were set.
NOUS44 KTSA 172229
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK
429 PM CST THU FEB 17 2011
429 PM CST THU FEB 17 2011
…ALL TIME OKLAHOMA 24 HOUR SNOWFALL RECORD OFFICIALLY SET…
…ALL TIME OKLAHOMA RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE OFFICIALLY SET…
THE WINTER STORM THAT OCCURRED 8-9 FEBRUARY 2011 BROUGHT A NEW 24
HOUR SNOWFALL RECORD FOR THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA. THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE COOPERATIVE OBSERVER IN SPAVINAW OKLAHOMA MEASURED
27 INCHES OF NEW SNOW FROM THIS STORM. THIS NEW RECORD HAS BEEN
OFFICIALLY VERIFIED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE…THE NATIONAL
CLIMATIC DATA CENTER…AND THE OKLAHOMA CLIMATOLOGICAL
SURVEY. THIS NEW RECORD BREAKS THE PREVIOUS 24 HOUR SNOWFALL RECORD OF
26 INCHES THAT OCCURRED IN WOODWARD AND FREEDOM ON 28 MARCH 2009.
EXTREMELY COLD TEMPERATURES FOLLOWED THE WINTER STORM AND A NEW
RECORD MINIMUM TEMPERATURE WAS ALSO SET FOR THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA. THE
OKLAHOMA MESONET SITE IN NOWATA /WHICH IS MAINTAINED BY THE
OKLAHOMA CLIMATOLOGICAL SURVEY/ RECORDED A MINIMUM TEMPERATURE OF -31
DEGREES FAHRENHEIT ON THE MORNING OF 10 FEBRUARY 2011. THIS NEW
RECORD HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY VERIFIED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE…THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER…AND THE OKLAHOMA
CLIMATOLOGICAL SURVEY. THIS NEW RECORD BREAKS THE PREVIOUS RECORD
OF -27 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT SET IN VINITA ON 13 FEBRUARY
1905…WATTS ON 18 JANUARY 1930…AND GUTHRIE ON 4 JANUARY 1947.
What makes the candy even sweeter for this scenario is the scientific scrutiny that these records were subject to as a result of rational analysis and critical thinking. The records were verified by the National Weather Service, the National Climactic Data Center, and the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Trust me, these folks aren’t going to take just any measurement from Bubba-Six-Pack with a hermit-like existence in the middle of the Ozarks who happened to see a -31F reading while he was slopping the hogs. If the (preliminary) records that were set are to have any scientific validity, they must be subject to extremes in scrutiny.
Congratulations Oklahoma! You’ve gotten yourself some new records. Now, let’s see what you can do this spring with the severe weather season!