Texoma Saw A Huge Temperature Jump on Tuesday
If you weren't aware, Oklahoma and Texas, along with most of the plains states are known for some pretty wild weather swings. Though these shifts in temperature are most well-known when a spring thunderstorm will roll in, threatening us all with tornadoes and cutting a hot day in the 90s down to a chilly 60 degrees in the course of an hour, it's the winter shifts that make history.
If you were awake and watching tv on Monday evening around 9pm, odds are you noticed the wind at some point sitting in your living room. It literally came sweeping down the plain. I was so loud and so strong at my house, it pulled a vacuum in my attic big enough to make the door on the water heater cabinet in my garage start singing. It only lasted twenty or thirty minutes, but the wind isn't what made this headline... it was the temperature change.
While that wind was holding outside my front door, I kept checking my weather app just to see how high the winds were. Obsessively I kept refreshing the app, but it just kept telling me it was 19mph out of the north and 64 degrees. After it died down, it was gone and forgotten about until I heard this story today...
Every radio state has an engineer. They're the heroes that make that trip out to the transmitter and tower sites during the worst weather conditions to ensure the broadcast stays on. It's a mostly thankless job since if everything works right all the time, it's a wonder why we need an engineer... but if things are always breaking, guess who gets all that blame too?
I'm off-topic already... Back to the weather.
Our engineer Ed lives down towards Wichita Falls, and like most technology aficionados, he has lots of goodies around the house that measure even the weirdest of statistics... in this case, he has one of those super-primo-fancy weather monitoring stations set up around his house... and what it measured Tuesday morning is just impressive.
If you were up late or early and outside on Tuesday morning around 4am, you would have felt the temperature drop some thirty degrees... which isn't that uncommon, but this temperature change happened in about five minutes.
No matter how many times a weather change like this happens, it's never a comforting feeling. It's almost always met with worry of what's to come.
Even more curious, these big winter weather changes aren't that rare to our corner of the country... Three of the five biggest temperature swings in American history have happened our part of the country.
On November 11th, 1911, Oklahoma City set a record for both highest temp ever on that day and lowest temp ever on that day... in the same day. While the mercury climbed to a balmy 83° by that afternoon, the temperature plunged to 17° just before midnight. Both record temperatures stand in the almanac to this day.
If you went out for lunch in the West Texas town of Amarillo on December 19, 1919... You would have started lunch at noon on the patio at a comfortable and cool 67°, but by the time your dessert arrived at the table, you'd be begging for a parka when the temperature plunged to 23° by 1pm... a 44-degree change in one hour.
Nowata, Oklahoma made headlines a decade ago. The Northeastern Oklahoma town experienced both the coldest recorded temperature ever measured in the Sooner State and laid claim to fame with the temp swing. During another mid-February winter storm, it dropped to a staggering -31°... in Oklahoma... That's unheard of, but the real headline came when the weather made a 110° swing to a balmy 79° just seven days later.
There has been at least one bigger temperature change in another part of the country, but nobody lays claim to the records like Oklahoma and Texas.