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So Chicago Thinks IT is a Windy City? Welcome to Lawton

A Windy Lawton City Hall
Courtesy of the impatient driver behind me waiting to get this shot.

Growing up in Oklahoma, I’d always heard about Chicago being the so called ‘Windy City’. Walking the half mile to school everyday in the Sooner State, I thought Chicagoans must be some of the toughest people on the planet. The national media seems to always talk about, and show the world how brutal the winter wind can be up there. Showing pictures and videos of people walking down the streets, papers swirling around the corners of buildings, and snow piling up into huge drifts.

As I grow older, I can’t help but think “Well isn’t that cute.”

I can still remember the first time I ever watched a national weather report and called ‘shenanigans’ on a very young Al Roker talking about the brutal winds in Illinois. There was a 15-mile-an-hour sustained wind, gusting to almost 30. A wind pandemic across the Mid-West according to everyone not located in Oklahoma. Hell, that’s a beautiful day in any town West of I-35. We live in some of the worst weather conditions in the lower 48. Now, before you hop off on your tangent of “Well if you lived somewhere other than Oklahoma, you wouldn’t think that…” I’ve had the privilege to live in just about every ecoregion system in the US. The only thing I’m lacking on the ‘Places Kelso’s Lived’ list is tropical, and that’ll happen one day, but Oklahoma is home for now.

Our weather is something of a dramatic docudrama, all too often caught on tape. Tornadoes, earthquakes, extreme hail and rain, flooding, extreme snow and ice storms, brutal summers, brutal winters, and both in the same week… Together in Lawton alone, you and I have driven in 119-degree weather. We’ve had to scrape the windshield when it was -8 (with a -26 degree wind chill)… I’d say Oklahoma definitely holds its own in the extreme weather department. Particularly when it comes to our blowing wind…

At a risk of sounding a little like Forrest Gump, there are a few different types of wind in this state. The average winds that we’ve learned to live with, like today’s sustained 25MPH, gusting to 45MPH.  The epic Spring time “straight-line sinds” that roar in ahead of a cold front, sweeping across the plains in excess of 100MPH. And who can forget our once world record 301MPH May 3rd EF5 that swept through Moore in 1999. And we work, live, and play in this unbelievable stuff. This morning, I honestly saw a brave soul riding his green Kawasaki crotch-rocket (leaning sideways to counterbalance the wind) down Rogers Lane trying to hit the light at 52nd Gate. There’s just about nothing we can’t handle, and that speaks out on the resilience of native and adopted Okies.

The point is, Oklahoma is by far “officially” the USA’s “windiest” state… and it’s just about time someone finally pointed that out to those wonderful crooks in Chi-Town.

Honestly, when every flag can fly perfectly straight from the mast in a sustained wind, I’ll call shenanigans and declare us the winner.

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