Tulsa: January 2010 Archives

Ice storm photos

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David Schuttler has posted some pretty pictures of Tulsa's January 2010 ice and snow storm.

As the weather gets worse, it's less likely I'll be able to post here at BatesLine, but as long as I have a cellphone connection, I can post brief updates on Twitter. You can follow my "tweets" (Twitter updates) by clicking this link: @BatesLine.

By consensus, tweets about the Oklahoma ice storm will be marked with "#okice". To see the latest tweets with this tag, click this link: #okice.

Several Oklahoma bloggers have set up a "crowdsourced" Google map at okicemap.com to show Oklahoma weather, road, and power conditions. Follow @okicemap on Twitter. (The moderator could use some help in keeping the map up to date. If you have time and some experience working with Google Maps, click the link and drop him a line.)

For northeastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas, visit the website of the National Weather Service in Tulsa. For central and western Oklahoma, visit the website of the National Weather Service in Norman.

MORE: Because this is a complex weather system, and the amounts and types of precipitation are hard to predect, The National Weather Service in Tulsa would like you to submit precipitation reports via their website.

I realize there are other things in the news tonight -- the FOP turning down the City of Tulsa's alternative to layoffs, the State of the Union show -- but my mind has been focused on getting my family ready for what could be a week or so without power.

In 2007, many homes lost their connection to the grid, and the need for electricians to make repairs delayed restoration of power for many Tulsans for more than a week. Even without that kind of damage at our house, we were without power for half a week. Thankfully, we've had plenty of warning, and there are reports that PSO is already mobilizing repair crews in preparation for storm damage.

We've stocked up on food, particularly calorie-dense, non-perishable stuff. We've almost finished getting all the laundry done. (Thanks, Tasha, for that excellent suggestion.) We're about done arranging the living room as sleeping quarters, close to the gas fireplace. One thing I didn't find that would be useful -- D batteries. Every store I was in today was completely out of them.

The latest (as of about 10 pm) ice forecast from the National Weather Service office in Tulsa is looking a little better -- still about a half-inch of ice, but wind speeds are projected to be about half what was previously forecast. Tulsa County is still in the 3 to 4 range for the SPIA Index -- likely power outages lasting anywhere from 1 to 10 days.

The Tulsa National Weather Service office website has a very helpful feature -- the Decision Support Page. There's a grid showing at a glance what kinds of hazardous weather are projected over the next seven days, and what the projected intensity is. Click on a button in the grid and it will take you to a page with more detail. The Decision Support Page also has a link to the latest multimedia briefing from the NWS. (As far as I could find, the Norman NWS website didn't have anything quite like this.)

Here are the latest ice accumulation maps from the NWS:



An inch of ice in Tulsa?

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The latest update from the NWS has the freezing rain zone shifted northward, with Tulsa County in the 4 and 5 zone. Nearly everything north of I-40 would be either SPIA 4 or 5, with little to no ice south of I-40.

The latest forecast also drops the forecast snowfall for Tulsa from nearly a foot down to 4".

It would be really nice if either the cold front or the Pacific Ocean storm would get here well ahead of the other. It's their simultaneous arrival that threatens to mess things up badly.



The National Weather Service office in Tulsa posted another informative ice storm forecast briefing at 5 pm on Tuesday. This one is twice as long, shows the two weather systems that are on course to collide right over Oklahoma, explains some of the uncertainties in the timing of the storm, and goes into detail of the forecast timing of the arrival of rain, then freezing rain, then sleet, then snow around our region.

The local NWS office deserves praise for putting together an in-depth presentation in such a useful format. It's basically a Powerpoint slideshow with audio narration, using a software product called Articulate Presenter 6.0.1. You can easily skip back and forth between slides -- you don't have to sit through the entire 16 minutes to get the info you need.

(If you're clicking that link on Wednesday mid-morning or later, the briefing will have been replaced by an updated forecast.) (I enjoy using the future perfect tense when I have the opportunity.)

If the latest forecast holds, it's good news for Tulsa, terrible news for southern Okmulgee, Okfuskee, and Muskogee counties.


The black zones are level 5 on the 5 point Sperry Piltz Ice Accumulation index:

"Catastrophic damage to entire exposed utility systems, including both distribution and transmission networks. Outages could last several weeks in some areas. Shelters needed."

The latest briefing made the point repeatedly that the line between minimal ice and catastrophic ice could easily move a couple of counties north or south. It all depends on the movement of the storm, still off the California coast, and the timing of the arrival of the cold front.

GET READY: To help with your preparations, Tasha Does Tulsa has a list of what to have on hand during an Oklahoma ice storm. Tasha links to all the official sources and the standard lists (water, batteries, candles, non-perishable food) and adds several excellent suggestions drawn from her experience during Tulsa's last major ice storm in December 2007.

It's gonna be bad. Ice -- enough, with the forecast wind speeds, to cause significant power outages of the sort we had in December 2007 -- followed by lots of snow and single-digit temperatures. At least, that's what our local weatherfolk are predicting.

Click the link to view a 7-minute weather briefing from the National Weather Service Tulsa office, from this morning (Jan 26, 2010) at 9 a.m.

Here's that ice accumulation map from the briefing.


The storm that is expected to cause this mess is still over the Pacific Ocean, and how it moves once it hits land, and the timing of its arrival with respect to the timing of a cold front, will determine how bad the results are. This morning's National Weather Service briefing predicts about a half inch of ice and 7.5" of snow for Tulsa. The worst of the ice (but not as much snow) will be further southeast, following a line cutting through the heart of Okfuskee and Okmulgee Counties, northwestern Muskogee County, southern and eastern Wagoner County, western and northern Cherokee County, northern Adair County, and Arkansas' Washington County. Winds throughout the region are forecast to be about 25 MPH.

The ice and wind would combine to result in a Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index of 3 or more for all of northeastern Oklahoma (except for northern Osage, northern Washington, Nowata, Craig, Ottawa, Pushmataha, and LeFlore counties). That value is defined as, "Numerous utility interruptions with some damage to main feeder lines and equipment expected. Tree limb damage is excessive. Outages lasting 1-5 days."

For the band of the worst ice I mentioned above, their SPIA index is 4: "Prolonged & widespread utility interruptions awith extensive damage to main distribution feeder lines & some high voltage transmission lines/structures. Outages lasting 5-10 days."

Here's a map showing SPIA index values projected for Thursday/Thursday night:


Alan Crone of KOTV News on 6 explains the storm and its likely impact.

Crone says right now the ice and sleet portion of the storm will most likely occur south of the I-44 corridor.

Freezing rain will eventually transition into sleet Thursday afternoon and then to snow Thursday afternoon and evening before ending Friday morning.

Crone says there are areas of northern Oklahoma which could see 12+ inches of snow. Snowfall near Tulsa could be from 8 inches to more than a foot.

Areas south and east of Tulsa will have lesser amounts of snow.

Other forecasts vary.

Weather Channel forecast for Tulsa shows an overnight low of 34 on Wednesday night / Thursday morning, but the temp dropping to 32 by 9 a.m. Thursday with rain becoming freezing rain.

Accuweather expects freezing rain off and on between noon and 6 pm Thursday, followed by snow -- possibly 9".

Here's what Intellicast says:

Details for Thursday, January 28: Mix of rain and freezing rain. Highs in the mid 30s and lows in the low 20s.
Details for Friday, January 29: Cloudy. Highs in the low 30s and lows in the upper single digits.

Will this be worse than 2007? Last time around, when our power went out, I sent my wife and kids off to the in-laws in Arkansas, where they never lost power. My recollection is that the roads were not that bad; it was just that the ice and wind were bad enough to take down powerlines. I hunkered down at home in front of the gas fireplace and took hot showers by battery-powered lantern. My office had power, and so did many stores and restaurants, so there were places to escape during the day. When my sister got power, I stayed one night (Wednesday) with them and planned to stay a second, but the power came on as I was stopping back by the house to pick up a couple of things. As bad as it was, it could have been worse. Hopefully it won't be that bad this time around.

But given that Tulsa is in that meteorological sweet spot between cold northern air and warm, moist southern air, and thus prone to ice storms, shouldn't we be thinking harder about burying those power lines?

On GetRightOK, Jason Carini reports on a bill from Sapulpa State Sen. Brian Bingman to authorize a toll road connecting I-44 near 49th West Ave to the L. L. Tisdale Expressway. The bill is SB 1764, and it adds the incomplete Gilcrease Expressway route, first sketched in 1956 (and then known as the Sequoyah Loop), to the list, in Title 69, Section 1705, of 34 routes and exits which the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is authorized to build. The OTA is required to fund any new routes or exits from its own funds, generated by the tolls it charges.

Of those 34 projects, most have already been built, some are duplicates, and others are unlikely to be feasible anytime soon. OTA wouldn't exercise its authority to build a new turnpike unless sufficient revenues would be generated to pay back the bonds and maintain its bond rating.

I suspect the main purpose of this bill it to permit the use of tolls to finance the most expensive part of completing the Gilcrease route, the bridge over the Arkansas River. Most of the Gilcrease route west of the airport has been funded by Tulsa citizens through the 3rd Penny sales tax.

The route is designated Oklahoma Highway 11 from I-244 near Memorial west to US 75, where it joins 75 north to 36th St. North, then jogs west to Peoria Ave. on its way to Sperry and Skiatook. (Long term, I think the intention was to route Highway 11 on the Gilcrease to the L. L. Tisdale (née;e Osage) Expressway, and then north on that route to Skiatook. I'm not aware of plans to give the unfinished western segment of the loop a highway number. I suspect the city would create a sign for the road similar to that used for the L. L. Tisdale Expressway. (But if the OTA funds it, they'd probably follow the pattern of the barely-legible-at-highway-speeds signs used on the Creek, Muskogee, and Kirkpatrick Turnpikes.)

Carless in Tulsa

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A young couple, friends of ours from church, decided to mark their fifth anniversary* in an unusual way. Feeling the need for more exercise but not wanting to pay for a gym membership, they took the batteries out of their cars and began a 30-day experiment in getting everywhere by bike.

[Planetizen] sent me an article titled "The Absurdity of Stationary Bikes." It was making fun of all those people with gym memberships who drive around the parking lot four times to find the closest spot to the gym and then go in and ride on a stationary bike....

...I asked my wife if she would be up for taking the batteries out of our cars and learning how to get by without the car for 30 days starting on January 8th - the day of our fifth anniversary. She said okay but that she would be much more agreeable to the idea if it were in April.

January and February are probably Tulsa's worst months to be biking outside. They are Tulsa's coldest months when ice storms and snow are expected

That is why January 8 was so appealing to me. Is it possible for a couple to have no car during the worst months of the year in Tulsa without totally changing their lifestyle? If it is possible, what do you have to give up in order to do it? What are the challenges and obstacles to living life without the car in Tulsa? What are the benefits?

Nathan works downtown, Kristin works near Utica Square, and they live in Brady Heights, so the daily commute is manageable, but they're brave souls to try this in the middle of winter. The two are writing about their experiences and the practicalities of commuting by bike on a blog called Carless in Tulsa.

The month-long experiment began on January 9. They've made it to work each day, even in the sleet and cold temps of last Tuesday morning. They've even made a couple of small grocery trips, bringing home a dozen eggs from Blue Jackalope without breaking a single one. The one lapse (if you can call it that) was hitching a ride with neighbors instead of riding seven miles to church last Sunday in the bitter cold and wind.

It will be interesting to see what other obstacles they encounter and how they overcome them. Tulsa has a great collection of bike trails, but the layout is designed for recreation, not getting where you have to go. By the end of the month, Nathan and Kristin should have some interesting insights on what can be done to make the bicycle a practical means of transportation for more Tulsans.

(*What's especially stunning to me about Nathan and Kristin celebrating their fifth anniversary -- my daughter was a flower girl at their wedding when she was a wee four year old. Her age has doubled since then.)

Alumni of American Airlines' Sabre reservation system will gather Friday, January 22, 2010, at Mulligan's, in the Radisson Hotel on 41st St, between US 169 and Garnett Rd.

Here's the text of the invitation that's going around by e-mail:

30 Years??? Seems like yesterday!!!

Come celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NY to TUL migration!

All are invited...
old friends & new friends,
transplants & native Oklahomans,
current & past employees of
AA, HP, EDS, and Sabre...
to an informal gathering
at Mulligan's located inside the
Radisson Hotel on
41st St. just east of Hwy 169
(between Mingo and Garnett)
Friday, January 22 nd, 2010

Richardson on Roberts

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The latest episode of Goodbye Tulsa is an unusual one: Gary Richardson talks about meeting with Oral Roberts, in which Roberts asked Richardson to explain the legal problems of fellow televangelist Robert Tilton. At the end of the meeting, Richardson, in turn, asked Roberts for the opportunity to talk to one person who had been unable to walk but was healed instantly after Roberts or one of his colleagues prayed for him. Roberts' answer is interesting.

It's been too long since I've done this, and here I'm going to try to do it on three hours sleep. My day is just about to end as yours is getting started. Here are some posts of interest from blogs in Tulsa and around Oklahoma:

Tasha Does Tulsa has a list of things to do around town now that your kids are off school because of the bitterly cold temperatures for Thursday and Friday. I'm intrigued by the Sand Springs Museum's exhibit of classic toys.

Mad Okie wonders about the "mother" depicted in a frequently-seen internet ad.

Mike McCarville has the latest on Army Lt. Michael Behenna of Edmond, who was sentenced to 20 years for killing an al-Qaeda operative in Iraq. Behenna is seeking clemency and also appealing the verdict on the grounds that the prosecution withheld expert testimony that would have exonerated Behenna.

Pollster extraordinaire Chris Wilson links to news that portable electronic signature gathering equipment is being developed by a Silicon Valley firm called Verafirma. The idea is to make it easier to solicit signatures using social media and gather signatures using smartphone apps. Wilson asks, "Are we ready for this?"

At Choice Remarks, Brandon Dutcher links to a quote from Lt. Gov. Jari Askins about the fiscal wisdom of the HOPE initiative, on the ballot in November, given the current economic realities. The initiative would peg Oklahoma education expenditures to those of surrounding states. According to a story in the Edmond Sun, a study by the Oklahoma House of Representatives indicates HOPE's passage would require a 40% tax increase or a 20% across-the-board cut of non-educational spending.

On his personal blog, Brandon says his daughter's avid interest in Sports Illustrated is "another reason to come courtin'."

Laurel Kane, owner of the Route 66 landmark Afton Station, traveled down Admiral Pl. in Tulsa, a Route 66 alignment from 1926-1932, looking for roadside history and snapped a few photos in the process. (Admiral was also the alignment for State Highway 33 and -- at various times -- US 75 and US 169, so it continued to attract roadside development long after 66 was shifted to 11th St.)

Emily, the Red Fork Hippie Chick, is looking for activist songs as part of a unit for her class. She knows a lot of left-leaning songs, but she wants to be balanced, so she's looking for songs from a conservative perspective (and not just -- Irritated Tulsa will be pleased to know -- "Toby Keith bleat[ing] about putting a boot up somebody's arse"). She's also looking for items people are willing to loan to create a hippie decor for her classroom.

Speaking of Irritated Tulsan, he has a list of Tulsa's top 10 places not to wake up dead. And his weekly Tulsa Tuesday post at The Lost Ogle reports "Downtown YMCA Moves, Creates Really-Homeless People."

Tyson Wynn gloats about the Corporation Commission's decision to use an overlay instead of a split to handle the 918's lack of available phone numbers. (My friend Dana Murphy was the only commissioner to vote the sensible way -- for a split. Area codes should indicate area.)

Lots of interesting articles on all manner of topics by Lynn Sislo over at Violins and Starships and by Charles G. Hill at Dustbury. But you knew that already, or should have. Lynn has a list of 12 things that every woman needs, including a "lifetime supply of drama repellent." Charles reports that he has written over 2 million words, and that's just since the start of his second decade of blogging.

Straight Shooter shares her two New Year's resolutions.

Yogi, lucky fellow, got to hear Hot Club of Cowtown at Cain's Ballroom last Saturday night.

Finally, The Pioneer Woman turns 41 today and has posted a gallery of old photos (with old hairstyles) to mark the occasion.

Congratulations to my friend Erin Conrad, who will be holding a photography open house at Joe Momma's Pizza, 1st & Elgin, downtown Tulsa, this coming Wednesday, January 6, 2010, from 5 to 8 pm. The Rock Bottom Ramblers will be performing. The open house will mark the launch of a month-long exhibition of Erin's work at Joe Momma's. Erin writes:

I'm working on my show this entire week. And it is FUN! So you should definitely come see me on January 6th at Joe Momma's, downtown Tulsa. I mean come on, a band, a little wine tasting, some cheesecake tasting and I definitely have something for you to take home with you if you come. Yep. It's true. It will be the best time you have in 2010. At least to that point ;)

Erin does some wonderful portrait photography. You can see samples of her work at her blog, http://erinconrad.blogspot.com.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from January 2010.

Tulsa: December 2009 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: March 2010 is the next archive.

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