Weather 2011 Part 3: End-Of-Year Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Blizzard!
OKLAHOMA CITY - The year 2011 has been one of the most active and record-setting years in this state's young history.
While continuing my blog on this incredible weather year, I will get a running start by heading back to late October. The headlines got very volatile in the state the last couple of weeks of October into the first couple of weeks of November. On October 22, hail storms developed and hail the size of grapefruit hit Union City. This shook the ground and damaged property, but nothing like what was felt the first weekend of November!
To feel the jolt of a large, record-setting earthquake is not something most Oklahomans are used to, but this rare event encapsulated what has been a strange year weather-wise in the heart of tornado alley! Actually, from Saturday before the sun came up, then late before the clock struck midnight, two of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded rattled the state. The earthquakes were centered in Lincoln county just east of Oklahoma City near the town of Prague. The first quake, which hit when most people were sleeping, was a 4.7 magnitude. The second earthquake when most were just going to sleep, but very much awake(!), was a record setting 5.6 magnitude!!
That one rattled teeth, nerves and sent a massive barrage of posts to Facebook and Twitter and an overload of calls to News 9! Near the epicenter there were reports of roads buckled, damaged houses and houses littered with things shaken off of walls and out of cabinets, but for most it was more of a phenomenon than a realistic scare. Those that were near the center, this was like a bomb going off and I still have people contacting me frightened when a weaker earthquake occurs near that area. I can only imagine that power near the epicenter!
For me in Edmond, 45 miles away, the first one felt more like a wave going from one side of the house to the other and it happened fast. I felt vertigo and kind of nauseous afterwards. The bigger one that evening felt more like a thumping and continuous vibrations for what seemed like a minute. I thought my dog was thumping his tail against my chair! A very weird experience!
Can you believe we were not done?! Sure enough, the state had storms & tornadoes that Monday and a tornado watch on going when the last big one hit. Late that evening, the last 'big' earthquake hit (also a 4.7 magnitude) and by this time everyone's nerves were shot. Everything by that time felt like an earthquake, from the booms of thunder to gusts of wind buffeting the house. People's senses were perked and fatigued! This event of earthquakes was very surreal and odd to the year of what felt like "plagues" hitting the state!
Regarding the tornadoes that day, we did have a very large tornado develop in southwest part of the state near Tipton. We had incredible pictures of this from SkyNews 9 as it passed through the Wichita Mountains. After dancing over mainly open landscape, it finally lifted near Fort Cobb. When the day was done, this tornado left EF 4 damage and winds to just under 200 mph near Tipton and has been documented as the largest tornado ever for the month of November.
The year of 2011 ended with a threatening blizzard during the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas. Fortunately, it stayed in the panhandle and did not venture much into the state. This storm did create 15 inches of snow near New Mexico and purported 10 foot drifts!
So, essentially we started in the state with a blizzard and ended with a blizzard.
What a wild year to remember! Again, thank you for staying with News 9 during this last year! We will keep you advised with whatever 2012 brings! May it be much less eventful!