It’s Freezing!

With clear skies and light winds… temperatures fell off nicely overnight and for the first time this season – reached freezing in Okarche.  The temperature hit the magic number at 6:28 a.m.  This seasonal hurdle came just 2 hours and 37 minutes later than the first freeze of 2008 which occurred at 3:51 a.m. – also on the 27th of October.

The first freeze of 2009 comes six days earlier than the average of November 2nd.  In 17 years of record keeping… nine of the first freezes have occurred in October and eight in November.  From 1993 to 2008:

-         It is 47 days between the earliest and latest freeze

-         The earliest: October 8, 2000

-         The latest: One year earlier on November 23, 1999

What kind of winter are we going to have?  It is doubtful that the date of the first freeze has any bearing on the type of winter we will have.  However, it’s interesting to note that after the earliest freeze in 2000 – we had the earliest one inch or greater snowfall of record on November 8th (3.2 inches).  Also… December came in with three snow events which totaled 11.0 inches.  After the latest freeze of record… the winter of 1999/2000 saw only one significant winter weather event – a snowfall of 10.2 inches which occurred on January 26/27th.

Based on this years first freeze… I have a pretty good idea on what kind of winter we will have this year.  I will release my outlook on April 1st, 2010.

Cool Temperatures and a Hurricane Named Rick…

The weather in Okarche remains cool.  All of the first 17 days of the month have seen below normal temperatures.  In fact… 15 of the 17 days have been at least 10 degrees below normal.  You have to go back to September 27th to find a day with an average temperature above normal.  Prior to that… you have to go back to September 21st.  Other than the cool temperatures… there hasn’t been a lot of interesting weather to talk about.  So….

Yes, hurricane is listed in the subject.  Admittedly, hurricanes are not my shtick.  I don’t have a good feel for forecasting them… I don’t have any desire to chase one… and I really can’t understand why people DO chase them.  I’ve always said that you can get the same experience by driving down to the car wash and having someone spray you with the wand.  Having said that… someday I would like to chase a weakening tropical cyclone after it is well inland for the tornado possibilities.  Still, some do catch my interest.  One that has is Hurricane Rick which is roaming in the eastern Pacific at this time.  This is one heck of a storm.  The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center says that Rick has sustained winds of 180 M.P.H. and a central pressure of 906 MB.  This would be about 26.75 inches.  Putting that pressure in perspective and one VERY pretty satellite image of Rick:



On the weather front… many interesting events are on the horizon.  A strong upper storm system in the southwest U.S. is forecast to move eastward through the southern Plains.  Another storm in Canada will dive southeastward toward the Great Lakes.  These two storms will be responsible for several weather changes during the next four to five days.


Scattered showers and thunderstorms are already organizing in southern Oklahoma this morning as moisture increases in advance of the southwest U.S. storm.  Precipitation should become more widespread by this evening and continue through Thursday.  Before it ends Friday morning, some places in the state could see over four inches of rain.  While it does look like the heavier rainfall will be in eastern Oklahoma… Okarche stands to see a couple of inches.


The first of a couple of fronts will clear the state Friday morning and we will be left with a fairly nice and cool evening.  A much stronger cold front will surge into the state Saturday morning.  Behind this front… winds will become quite strong out of the north and temperatures should fall to the lowest levels so far in this early Fall.  The low temperature Sunday night should make it well below 40 degrees with the first frost possible.


On the astro front… a couple of events will be taking place this month.  A close conjunction on October 13: Around 5:30 a.m. Venus and Saturn will pop up in the eastern sky – separated by less than ½ degree.  Venus on the right will be a bright -3.67 magnitude… Saturn on the left will be around 1.39 magnitude.  Mercury makes its appearance about an hour later at -0.95 mag.


The Orionids Meteor Shower will run from October 17 to 25.  While this shower typically produces only about 20 meteors per hour during its peak… viewing this year will be nice as a waxing crescent moon will set early.  Any clear nights should be well dark providing an excellent opportunity for viewing and photography.


Finally, Fall foliage.  We are not that far away from color change here inIn southeast Oklahoma / 2-Nov-2008 Oklahoma.  It’s actually already started… but should kick into high gear soon.  Last year I took a trip to southeast Oklahoma.  This year, I think I will be spending a couple of days at four spots west of Highway 81.  If all goes well… a day will be spent south of I-40 in the Wichita Wildlife Refuge and around Red Rock Canyon State Park.  Another day will be set aside for areas around Roman Nose State Park and Great Salt Plains State Park to the north of I-40.