First Freeze of the Season

At 8:01 A.M. this morning, the low temperature reached 32.2 degrees in Okarche.  It didn’t do it by much, but this marks the first freeze of the season – which is one day later than the average of November 2.

Currently (10:30 P.M.) the temperature is 34 degrees.  With a low dew point, very light winds and clear skies – we should be enroute to another freeze tonight.  Expect the low temperature to reach the upper 20′s.

Strong cold front to blast through the state…

A strong cold front will be blasting into the panhandle at daybreak on Wednesday – clearing the state by nightfall.  This front is just one in a series during this active period – and will be stronger than the last.

A tight pressure gradient will allow winds to increase through the day to speeds of 25 to 35 mph from the north.  Wind gusts will likely approach 50 mph in central Oklahoma and 60 mph in parts of the west.

Precipitation will be limited.  The nature of the fast moving storm combined with limited moisture will prevent widespread / long-lived precipitation.  A few showers and storms may form which will quickly move off to the east.

The exception will be more widespread precipitation forming in Colorado/Kansas and extending northeastward toward southern Wisconsin.  It appears that the air will be cold enough for a few inches of snow from Colorado/northwest Kansas and southern Nebraska.  This combined with strong north winds will create near blizzard conditions for a short time.

The main impact in Oklahoma will be colder weather.  It appears that a freeze will spread across much of the northwest half of the state by Thursday morning.  A freeze in Okarche would be just one day off the average first freeze date of November 2.


2nd Annual Ewoldt House of Horror – great time with friends…

The Ewoldt House of Horror (2nd annual) went off without a hitch.  Despite some weak advertising, and a lot of word of mouth… it just seems like we are having a hard time breaking the 60 visitor barrier which was similar to last year.  It is what it is however, and what it was – was a fun time for all involved.  Make no bones about it, there were a number of people that didn’t come by this year because they said last year was “too scary”.  We did see some new faces that liked the show we put on and expect to see them back next year.  Our set this year was much more elaborate than 2010 and was a blast.

I will eventually get a lot of photos up on a pbase page, but for now will leave you with this one.  It means a lot to me.  You see, we are living in an age when photos like this are a part of our regular society.  I could have had this one on facebook in a matter of minutes.

I’m saddened by this photo as much as I love it.  I could have taken many like it back in the 80′s and 90′s, but the technology wasn’t quite there yet.  No camera phones, no DSLR cameras, no facebook or other instant media source.  You just occasionally shot with film and hoped that you would get something worthwhile.  Usually you didn’t.  I’m saddened by the number of times I missed photos like this while I was racing, working with the fire department, fishing, storm chasing, hanging out, whatever.

In 1986, I went to an Oklahoma/Nebraska football game in Lincoln with my good friend Kenneth.  We were not expected to win the game and found ourselves down 17-10 with not much time left in the 4th quarter.  The first miracle happened when we managed to tie the game at 17, and the second miracle had us kicking a field goal to win 20-17 as time expired.  We ran down to the field, but I wasn’t about to jump the fence because I thought we would get arrested or something.  Kenneth – who was a lot bigger than I – bailed over and grabbed me, lifting me up over the fence.  Not knowing really what to do, we just ran around in the excitement of the win.  Then I turned head first into Anthony Phillips – OU guard – 6’3″ – 280 lbs.  I guess that he was in need of someone to celebrate with as well and grabbed me and threw me around in a complete circle/hug.  How about that for a facebook moment – that didn’t exist.  We jogged off the field with the team until they wouldn’t let us go any farther and the rest was history.

My story jumps to a scene from “Dead Poets Society”.  One of my favorite Robin Williams films.  He takes his first class out into the hallway to point out all the pictures on the walls…. football players, various groups of people that are all in black and white photography and probably date to the early 1900′s.  At first he tells them that they are no different – look into their eyes – full of ambition – ready to change the world.  Then reminds them that they are all worm food.  Pushing up daisies.  Dead.  Gone.

Carpe diem – seize the day he whispers.

My wife said something to me the other day that was both beautiful and sad.  As we were enjoying some time on the couch – she mentioned that she would like to spend forever with me.  After a pause, she added, but their not going to let me do that.   I said no, I don’t think that’s how it works.

So, we come up on our Ewoldt House of Horror – 2nd edition.  It was important to me to catch all the players after the game was finished.  All the smiles, all the hopes, all the ambition – myself, Jocelyn, Mari, Mike, Jackie, Betsy, Andie, Shan, Cody, Jim, Eric, Jake and Billy.  World by the tail.  It would be nice to see the 40th annual Ewoldt House of Horror, but the reality is that someone – sometime – will look at that picture and realize that they are the only one that hasn’t become worm food.

I’m so happy that I caught the picture – one that I might not have 20 years ago.  As our guests left, there was a lot of talk about next year, but there are no guarantees.  Enjoy your friends, play golf, have a few drinks, watch a football game or put together a haunted house.  Carpe diem….


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It’s a go!  The 2nd Annual Ewoldt House of Horror has been under construction since October 1st.  Most of the structural part of the set is completed and we will spend the remaining days working on costumes – lighting – visual and sound – coverings – pumpkin carving – etc… but we have no reason to believe that we won’t be ready to open Halloween evening.  Besides our own fun of putting a little fright into the evening – we want kids to earn their candy.  It comes at the end… no walking up to the door for a handout!

We have 12 people at the various 9 “scare” spots.

Weather was a worry this year.  Last year, we put the entire set inside the barn out back.  This year, we expanded to have about half of it outside.  The drought has created quite a bit of bare ground which would be mud if it rained on us, but the latest guidance points toward a lot of sunshine leading up to the day with temperatures in the 70′s.

The photos included show some of the construction – but I will leave the details out ;)

For reference of the pumpkins – the Golden Retriever (King) laying next to them weighs about 85 pounds!  One of our pumpkins weighed in at 61 pounds.

Plenty of candy for the kids – and the bar will be open for the adults.  Snacks – including Shan’s famous meatballs will be at the ready.

For a rundown of last year:

This year we may shut down the Union Pacific that runs behind the house….

13 12

1 2

11 10

9 8

7 6

5 4


Where is Rina heading?

A lot of eyes are set on the western Caribbean and Hurricane Rina.  Satellite imagery shows the storm becoming better organized this morning and winds are now sustained at over 100 mph.  The pressure has fallen to 971 mb.  A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from north of Punta Gruesa to Cancun.

Rina appears capable of causing a lot of headaches to forecasters over the next few days.  Model guidance is in general agreement that the storm will make an anti-cyclonic loop – skirting the Yucatan by Thursday morning before entering the Gulf of Mexico Friday morning.  The current forecast calls for a landfall in western Cuba on Saturday morning.  At any point along this track… there is the potential for the storm to become very strong with fluctuating up and down strength.

There are sets of guidance that suggest that the storm may miss Cuba and make a landfall in southwest Florida.  This is still several days down the forecast road and the possibility of large error is great.  Either way, this storm looks to pose a significant challenge to forecasters and probably test the patience of those living near its path.



Turning colder in Oklahoma on Wednesday…

Another strong cold front is headed toward the state – but it appears that we are still not going to be seeing our first freeze in the near future.  The front will slide into central Oklahoma around daybreak on Wednesday and by sunset – the winds should be strong out of the north at 20 to 30 mph with gusts near 40.

There have been decent signals of widespread precipitation breaking out along and behind the front which may produce about a ½ inch of rain in Okarche.

Expect the low Friday morning to drop into the 30’s before a warm up takes us back near 70 degrees over the weekend.  We will probably make it well past our average first freeze date of November 2 before the temperature reaches 32 degrees.


Oklahoma Aurora!

Our old friend Aurora Borealis visited Oklahoma on Monday evening (24th).  Sort of… I was able to catch a glimpse of it with the camera, despite not seeing it visually.  From the reports around the country, this appears to have been a spectacular – but short duration event – somewhat mimicking the event I caught in 2003.

Thanks to Doug Speheger who called me when he received reports of it being seen at a latitude far enough south to be observed in Arkansas.  Past experience told me to shoot and let the camera do the work and it indeed picked up on a broad arc of red light associated with the fading event.

This was definitely my least interesting of my three observed Oklahoma aurora events – but good enough to remind me to start paying attention to space weather a bit more as we continue our upswing in solar activity.


Now a record high… update on cold air approaching.

We did it this time.  On the 16th… the high temperature in Okarche reached 90 degrees which broke the old record of 86 degrees set in 2010.

The colder air is still on the way, and it looks a little faster than earlier thought.  It should be into northwest Oklahoma during the daylight hours today (Monday) – making central Oklahoma by around 6 P.M.  It still looks like there will be gusty winds (over 40 mph) as the front passes and there may be an increased chance of showers and thunderstorms – mainly over eastern Oklahoma.

By Wednesday morning – frost will be possible in central Oklahoma and some true freezing temperatures are possible in the northeast.

The average date of the first freeze in Okarche is November 2nd.

Record high temperature today – COLD air on the way!

Whoops… the record high temperature for the date was actually 88 degrees – so we came up a little short.  It was still a warm day, and…

The high temperature so far today in Okarche has been 85 degrees which breaks the old record of 84 degrees set in 2007.  It looks like another few warm days are in store before a strong cold front reaches the state late Monday or very early Tuesday.

By Sunday evening, a large and deep upper low will be located near the southern end of Hudson Bay.  A sharp upper system will be moving through the Pacific Northwest – which will dive southeastward around the southern side of the Hudson Bay low.  As the upper system moves across the central and southern plains on Monday, an associated cold front will surge rapidly across the state.  The northwest to southeast trajectory of the system is not a favorable one for moisture return, and we are unlikely to see significant precipitation.  However, a few showers and a storm or two are possible in the central and eastern portions of Oklahoma.

This will be the first strong cold front of the fall/winter season to visit the state.  Winds by Monday night will become strong out of the north and continue through the day on Tuesday.  Gusts in the 40 to 50 mph range will be possible.  It appears that temperatures will get down into the 30′s in parts of central Oklahoma behind the front and freezing temperatures are not out of the question for the northern part of the state.

Looks like we will be using Sunday to start the seasonal migration of certain plants and trees back into the house.  And, the lovely smell of burning dirt/dust off the heater is not that far away…


It’s not a drought breaker…

…but you’ve got to start somewhere.  The well advertised rainfall did make a visit over the past 48 hours in Okarche – as well as most of the state.  Rainfall totals for the past two days showed a nice south to north swath through the central sections of the state where amounts approached five inches.  Once again on the short side of things, Okarche has come in at 2.54 inches for the two day total.  1.06 fell on the 8th and 1.48 on the 9th.  This is the largest two day total of precipitation since September 12/13, 2009 when 3.73 inches of rain fell.

For the most part, this was a slow steady rain which did it’s job of starting to turn things around.  The first day really didn’t do much except get dirt off the house, yard, cars, trees which had accumulated over the past several months.  In some cases, it looked like mud dripping rather than water.  Today’s rainfall actually soaked the ground enough to allow some puddles and runoff to occur.

Get ready for the big transformation… we are still early enough in fall to have a decent sun angle and there is no cold air in sight.  All of the brown that we have become used to over the summer is likely to rapidly green-up during the next few days.

Our storm total rainfall of 2.54 inches brings our yearly total to 19.78 inches – which is still 10.39 inches below normal.  But again, you have to start somewhere.

The clouds got thin enough this evening just before the rain ended and a purple sky/weak rainbow showed itself to the east.  The past two days have been very pleasant indeed!



Okarche, Oklahoma