Cooler Weather/Increased Rain Chances

elkwc(6b)August 11, 2012

After today which they say will be 100-102 they are predicting the temps will moderate and be in the low 80's by the end of next week. What a change. Some are saying the cool front will arrive sooner than others think and we won't reach 100 today. One long range forecast till the end of August says it is possible we will only see 2-3 more days over the century mark with an increase in days in the 80's and low 90's.And chances of moisture should increase the forecaster felt. I know how uncertain long range forecasts are. But it at least brings some positive outlook to the forecast and for my garden. It won't arrive any too soon for any of us. If this trend does happen it will be over 2 weeks earlier than last year. Which will make a huge difference in the end of season bounty. I expect to see my pole beans start producing. May slow down the okra some. I planted Jade later as they say it will perform better than most in cooler temps. We have a chance of storms this evening. They say any that we see will likely be strong. As you can see this was the info I needed to brighten my weekend. Better head out to get some plumbing supplies and a new mouse for my desk top computer. After today maybe I can cut down on watering. Paid the highest water bill ever yesterday. Just over 100 hundred dollars. The last few weeks I had been deep soaking the older trees trying to give them a drink as they had started shedding some leaves. Hope relief from the drought and heat is soon for all. Jay

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


That's a wonderful forecast. I hope they are right and that y'all get the early break in the heat, and that it lasts, and that rainfall returns as well.

Down at my end of Oklahoma,the forecast is not nearly as lovely, but it was nice and cool this morning (63 degrees overnight, but already 65 degrees by the time I made it outside) and I think I felt a slight hint of autumn in the air. At least our high temps are forecasted to be much lower than they've been the last 2 or 3 weeks. We only hit 100 yesterday and it didn't feel too bad compared to the temperatures from a week ago.

I hope the water did the trees a lot of good. I was giving mine a good soaking yesterday, and have more to do today. They haven't had enough to keep them looking as good as usual, but only a few are dropping leaves so far and that's a good sign.

I hope the strong storms only bring y'all cool air and rain and not anything that is damaging.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:57AM
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Dawn thanks. My desire is no bad stuff along with the storms. They are already warning of extremely high winds. I may drive a few more T posts by the tall plants to anchor the cages some. I don't want to put any restrictions on how moisture can come. If it rains I will be happy. I've survived damage to my garden and house before and will again. I've always been told sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. Jay

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 10:10AM
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I was just thinking the same thing, that maybe the worst is over for this year. I got up early and watered and weeded the garden, pruned the tomatoes way back and fertilized them. Then I came inside and started planning my fall garden in earnest. After checking the weather, I'm wishing that I had planted carrots and beets in the two empty beds. Maybe I can do that tonight. I don't think its going to hit 102 here either, since its only 83 now and the sky is partly overcast.

I hope my tomatoes bounce back, as I pretty much had to cut them to the ground to get rid of all the dead vines. I noticed that Early Girl was putting out some new, green growth from the base, so maybe there's hope for a fall crop. The peppers and basil are doing well, and one lone okra plant that survived the rabbits. For some reason most of the melons are rotting on the vine before they mature - I don't understand why. If they don't pick up soon, I'm going to pull them. Sweet potatoes are doing pretty good, and I saw a blossom on one. I'll let them grow till frost, then replant that bed with garlic and kale.

Now I just need to figure out where to plant the lettuce, peas and spinach... should I just rip out the melons??

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I awakened this morning with a really good attitude because our forecast included a high of 100 (though I knew we likely would go higher than that) and a 30% chance of thunderstorms today and tonight. Cooler temps? Rain? Cool!!!!

Not so fast.

It was cloudy and cool here very early this morning after an overnight low of 73. We enthusiastically began doing yard work. After doing some garden chores, I took the string trimmer out to the pasture west of the barn to cut down an acre or two of 4' tall standing, dormant vegetation that currently poses a high fire risk. Tim had previously cut wide pathways through it and a firebreak around the barn, but I wanted to cut all of the tall stuff down. He mowed the normal lawn around the house while I did that.

By the time we had all we could and the weather we driving us indoors, the cool was gone too. When I came inside, it was 90 degrees with a heat index of 102.

Now? The cool-down must have evaporated when the clouds went away. Our NWS forecast high temp was 100. Our current temp at our house is 109 and when I checked the Mesonet station about 20 minutes ago, it was 107 there. Today's weather is destroying any hope I had of being able to revive and save some plants. It isn't just hot, it is windy, which is a bad combination.

Shelley, Look at your melons and see if they are getting too much sunlight. Mine have been sunburning, and rot sets in wherever the melons burn. In the early stages, sunburn on melon just looks like a spot that is slightly lighter than the rest of the melon, then it gets soft and sometimes, but not always wrinkly, and begins to rot. In this heat, the foliage on my plants has been wilting and dying since I stopped watering them and sunburn is happening to fruit that previously had good leaf cover and now do not. I have seen sunburning on melons in many fields around our neighborhood and in home gardens as well. In the current heat and drought, I don't think anyone is able to water their melons enough here to keep a good canopy of foliage covering the fruit.

If the rotting is occurring at the blossom end while the melons are still small, that's a different issue.

It is hard to say if you should rip out the melons. I'd try to diagnose the problem first. If you think it is sunburn, you either can rip them out if you cannot find a way to protect the fruit, or you can put a bed sheet or sheer curtain or something over the area where the fruit are in order to try to save them. If it is rot on the blossom end, that is similar to BER on tomatoes, and relates to uneven watering and soil moisture levels interfering with the proper operation of the plants' vascular system. More even watering might fix that (but, in this weather, it might not). If it is a bacterial or fungal rot, pulling them may be your best option.

Today's weather is so discouraging. We probably won't get rain either, and if it does rain today, it probably will hail or blow trees down on the garden or something.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Dawn, it looks like you got the compressed heat mass ahead of the front. That air ahead of the front has no place to disperse to. It was nice here but no precip. As of a little while ago it looks like you got the heat ahead of the front, but the rain started just past you also, so you were on the losing end both times.

It still looks promising for later this week. If we can just get 1 or 2 inches of rain to go along with the cool-down, we might be set up nicely for a while.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:54PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Scott, Thanks for the explanation. Boy, was I mad as I watched the thermometer climb. It seems like every time they forecast a break in the weather, it somehow misses us.

We had a fire tonight, and once it was out and we were back at the station, all anyone could talk about was how hot it got and how the cool weather missed us by a mile. lol

At least our fire was in the evening hours when it was only in the 90s instead of in the middle of the afternoon when it was 1,000 degrees.

You're right. The rain missed us, but it did a lot of damage in parts of Texas (story is at so I am glad that the damaging part of the storm missed us.

Guess we are two-time losers in the weather department today and tonight, but tomorrow is a whole new day.

I hope the stuff expected later in the week actually happens!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 11:03PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

This year it seems like the pop-up thunderstorms in late afternoon and at night keep bringing damage with them. Carol's recent storm damage is an example of that.

Last night, both while we were at the fire and when we were at the station later, we kept seeing lightning off to our east. On the news, we later learned that Calera had severe storm damage, including at least a couple of houses that were destroyed, likely by straight-line wind damage. Today the schools are closed, the city hall is closed, the court sessions are cancelled, and some roads remain closed because of the damage. After hearing about all that damage, I am almost glad the storms missed us.

Also, the storm that passed just a little south of Thackerville last night blew a semi tractor-trailer truck over on I-35, toppling it over on top of a pickup truck. That's the storm we'd hoped would hit us, and we could see its dark skies and hear its thunder as it moved from west of us to south of us.

Whatever happened to nice little rain storms that dropped rain, went away, maybe gave you a rainbow and enough humidity that the frogs sat on the lily pads and croaked happily in the higher humidity and nice conditions? Now it seems like every storm does damage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Storm Damage Stories/Photos Here

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 11:20AM
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Oh man, that's just tragic. :(

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 12:36PM
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I still believe that mine was a tornado, but as far as I know it has not been declared as such. One man in the neighborhood said he watched it come across the lake and pick up water as it spun, and that it made two passes through the neighborhood. I remember looking across the street at my neighbors house and the sheet of rain was so hard that it looked like fog and I could see that very clearly. Next, the rain was very, very heavy and appeared to be going sideways, instead of coming down. Then I couldn't see out my windows because the rain was hitting them so hard, it was like looking through bubblewrap. There was noise but it was mixed with heavy rain, walnuts banging on our metal roof, and whipping wind. The storm came in from the west, but my windows are on the east with just a slight angle to the NE. I have sent all of the information to TV6 and it has been forward to the NWS, but I have not heard from them.

It has been an expensive storm for the neighborhood, because many trees that didn't come down, were so damaged that they had to be taken down. I saw about 6 huge trees that came down, and most of those brought the rootball up with them. I saw three that stood, but had big streaks down the sides as if they had been hit by lightening and those had to come down. Some of these trees are probably 60-70 feet tall so it costs hundred of dollars to have them removed. Some people got lucky and the electric company took care of theirs because they came down on power lines. The county came in with heavy equipment and moved two out of the roadway that first night.

One mobile home lost it's roof, and I had been afraid that the heavy rains had damaged the interior, but I learned that the roof and insulation had been added on top of the original roof, so the heavy rains didn't cause interior damage. The owner asked us this morning it his roof had damaged our garden. A sheet of metal was stopped by the fence, and two downspouts from his guttering ended up in the garden, but didn't do any damage. I had some orange plastic construction fencing wrapped around part of my garden so the chickens could run there, and the guttering hit the fencing hard enough that it cut the loops on the top of the fencing for about 6 inches. However, the guttering fell within a few feet of thin row cover that was over hoops covering a crop. I had the bottom of it open, but had left it in place as shade cloth. Empty plastic flower pots setting on the ground were not moved.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Carol, Those empty plastic flower pots that didn't move sure sound like tornado damage--in the way that it tears up lots of things but then leaves some things untouched.

I am watching the 6 pm news and they showed lots of new video of damage from Calera. It was shocking to see this much damage from a thunderstorm. One avid gardener found her entire garden buried underneath the rubble from a neighbor's barn that the storm deposited in her backyard. In Texas, the winds near Krum that did straight line damage were estimated at 80-85 mph.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 7:08PM
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Jay, it seems like there is frequently rain near you or to the west of you this time of year, but you guys almost never get hard, long rains. That seems like it would be frustrating. I have complained about how few rains we have had during the last 2 years that were at least an inch of more from the same storm here, but I would be interested in how many times per year you guys normally get rains from a single system that are over an inch.

For us we had 5 last year and 1 so far this year. that is probably not too far from normal for the panhandle based on watching the radars (and the one heading your way now).

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 7:31PM
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The empty planters eerily remind me of the 1991 tornado in Oologah Oklahoma that destroyed parts of its school. It is very similar to this explosive type of tornado. Etched in my mind is how decidedly and seemingly precise that quick tornado storm wickedly picked up only every other large school bus parked closed to one another. The remaining school buses were intact and untouched. The report via wiki does not describe that much detail. This tornado, I guess, was one of a series of 55 tornado outbreaks culminating from Kansas.

"Though short-lived, this large and violent [f4 - only 4 mile] tornado destroyed several homes and severely damaged a high school in the Oologah area before abruptly dissipating. Multiple school buses were transported 3/4 mile (1.20 km) to Three-Mile Creek.[3] 22 people were injured; however, there were no fatalities. On top of the destruction this tornado caused, a downburst that followed the storm caused further damage."

Wikipedia describes a "downburst" as:

"A downburst is created by an area of significantly rain-cooled air that, after reaching ground level, spreads out in all directions producing strong winds. Unlike winds in a tornado, winds in a downburst are directed outwards from the point where it hits land or water. Dry downbursts are associated with thunderstorms with very little rain, while wet downbursts are created by thunderstorms with high amounts of rainfall. Microbursts and macrobursts are downbursts at very small and larger scales respectively. Another variety, the heat burst, is created by vertical currents on the backside of old outflow boundaries and squall lines where rainfall is lacking. Heat bursts generate significantly higher temperatures due to the lack of rain-cooled air in their formation. Downbursts create vertical wind shear or microburst which is dangerous to aviation."

Crazy stuff. Basically the air "explodes". Maybe it was both such as this one in 1991.

I am even MORE grateful everyone is OK.

"1991 Andover, Kansas Tornadoes"

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 9:25PM
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Scott before this 4 year drought hit we could expect 3-4 over an inch and at least one of those over 1 1/2 inches every year. With at least a few toad stranglers around every year. The last four years there have been very few of them. This year I've had one over an inch, one right at an inch and another of 9 tenths. I've seen a few drought periods similar but not this extreme. The track of the storms the last 3 years especially have been very non typical. The one tonight is more typical. It is raining now. I'm hoping for a good rain but don't expect an inch out of this one. When we finally do start getting the heavier storms I'm sure we will get the bad weather along with them. The problem this year is there has been some heavy rains over 2 inches and one that dumped up to 4 1/2 inches in spots but the coverage has been small and not a large number of them. Just 8 miles as the crow flies from my house there has been two rains in the last 3 weeks an 1 1/4 or more. So I usually base things on what I see at my house. Jay

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 9:56PM
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We received 4 tenths which I'm very appreciative for. We hit 90 for 15 minutes today and then started back down. They say 96-97 tomorrow then 80's or lower through Sunday with a chance of moisture every day. The cooler temps are helping attitudes. Mine and the plants. We may have one day mid 90's next week they say. With the cooler days the smaller amounts of moisture last longer and do more good. Jay

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I was in a really cranky mood by late afternoon yesterday because our high temperature once again over-achieved. Our forecast was for 98 and we hit 106. This constant over-achieving on the part of our high temps is driving me up a wall.

However, rainfall finally arrived accompanied by much lightning, wind, thunder, etc. and we had several little showers run through one after another. We ended up with a tiny bit less than 0.7"....maybe 0.65 or 0.68". It was wonderful to have rainfall again, and the temperature plunged from 106 to 79 before dark. I know that the less than 7/10s of an inch is only a drop in the bucket compared to what we need, but eventually all those drops in the bucket will add up.

Today is supposed to be cooler--only the low to mid 90s, and then 98 again tomorrow (wonder if I should expect 106 again?) before another cool-down arrives.

This morning has remained cloudy and cool, so the house is quiet, quiet, quiet because the AC hasn't been running. The clouds are burning off now, so I guess the AC will kick on in a little while.

Were it not for the near-epidemic levels of West Nile Virus around me, I'd have spent the cool, cloudy morning outside working in the garden. Since the mosquitoes that transmit it are most active in the early morning and early evening hours, I guess I'll go outside at midafternoon and work when the mosquitoes are less likely to be out. I haven't seen many mosquitoes, but I sure don't want to be bitten by one carrying WNV. The news stories of the horrible West Nile Virus aftereffects occurring even to some young people in their teens through their 30s make me wary of taking a chance on being bitten by one of those skeeters. Normally the older you are, the harder the WNV hits you. In recent tests of mosquitoes trapped in the Dallas area, 50% of the mosquitoes tested were carriers of WNV and I don't like those odds.

If we hadn't had rain, the prospect of having mosquitoes around wouldn't bother me as much. But then, if we hadn't had rain, I wouldn't feel like I should be out doing anything in the garden. The rains, skimpy though they may be, are reviving some plants, but others are just too far gone and I might as well yank them and clear those areas for fall planting.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 12:48PM
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We actually received an entire hour of slow steady gentle rain just as everything in the ground would need it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 6:39AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Do you have a rain gauge? Do you know how much rain y'all got?

We have another 2/10s in the rain gauge this morning. It is heavily overcast and I have heard thunder all morning, but it seems like most of the rain is falling south of the Red River instead of north of it. Still, I'm grateful for every drop.

We're still supposed to be about 100 degrees today, so when the clouds burn off it will get really hot really fast.

While 2/10s of an inch is not exactly a large enough amount to get real excited about, when you add it to the rain from the Tuesday night, we have had about 9/10s of an inch of rain so far this week, and have a chance of more. I sure hope these little rain showers are the beginning of the end of the drought.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 11:30AM
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No. I wish I did. I'm inclined to think we have more than that recorded in Stillwater, but it may just be wishful thinking.

I'm glad you did get some rain. When I looked at the radar from Mesonet early this morning it showed missing your area in previous wetness!

But you're under the radar right now. Maybe ...

for the most part we're remaining cool and it's so very very nice!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 12:14PM
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Nothing here. I'm a little worried about today, but it looks like this pattern will stick around for a week so there will be 3 or 4 chances coming up.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Bon, All that stuff on the radar is imaginary.

When I checked my rain gauge this morning, we had right at 2/10s. I just checked it again when I walked down to the mailbox a few minutes ago and we still have 2/10s. Our local TV weather guy said most of the actual moisture is falling in Texas, not in OK. At least we are cloudy and cool.

I did feel some raindrops hitting me as I walked down to the mail box. You know how Jay refers to a six-inch rainfall as one in which the raindrops fall six inches apart? Well, this is about a six-foot rainfall where the raindrops fall about 6' feet apart.

Sometimes when the radar looks like this and it seems like it is raining, all we have is clouds. Other times, they'll tell us we had some virga (rain that evaporates before it reaches the ground).

Unless the sun peeks through the clouds, I think we likely won't reach our forecast high of 98, and I am not complaining about that.

Scott, It has to happen there sooner or later. Every day you get one day closer to the day that rain will fall again.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 3:26PM
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It has to be this week. I have pumped every body of water on my property almost dry except one pond. There is almost no water left and there is no time left. It has to be this week.

It has to.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 4:31PM
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LOL Dawn.. I like Jay's comment. It's very true. hehe

Scott, I hope it's very soon. I look at those dry counties on the map and think "COME ON. End it already." And I hate that it's so cool for some while others are still enduring heat waves.

I was so very relieved with that little bit of rainfall for our two pecan trees. I can only imagine the migraine you're experiencing.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 10:48AM
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