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Oklahoma Impacted by Tornadoes, Flooding, an Earthquake and Exotic Animals

Oklahoma Impacted by Tornadoes, Flooding, an Earthquake and Exotic Animals

May is prime tornado season for Oklahoma but last night’s storms were one for the record books. Storms started firing in western Oklahoma early afternoon with a brief tornado touchdown in Caddo County at around 2:50 p.m.

Several tornadoes ended up touching down throughout the day. At least 52 people were injured and this morning it was reported that one woman was found dead in a storm shelter, it’s believed that she drowned.


In addition to the damaging tornadoes, the Oklahoma City metro area experienced historic flooding. Will Rogers World Airport received 7.10 inches of rainfall yesterday. The National Weather Service declared a flash flood emergency Wednesday night, the first in Oklahoma City’s history.  There was also a magnitude 2.9 earthquake reported in Luther.

The strangest story to come out of the storm happened when a tornado hit Tiger Safari in Tuttle. Exotic animals were briefly thought to be on the loose and people were told to stay indoors. Thankfully, all of the animals were okay and had not escaped.

The flooding has made clean up more difficult and there is a risk of more severe weather today. And a moderate risk weather alert has been issued for Saturday. It’s rare to see these alerts so far in advance. Oklahomans are urged to have an emergency plan ready and to be prepared for the next several days of severe weather.

If you would like to help the recovery efforts in Oklahoma, please donate to the American Red Cross.

Earth Day 2015 in Oklahoma

Earth Day in Oklahoma

Earth Day is April 22nd and all month there are great eco-friendly events going on around the state to celebrate. Here are some of the fun events going on around Oklahoma.

Green Week at OU
OU has green events all this week, April 13th-17th. Click here for more information.


Household Hazardous Waste Collection
Dispose of your hazardous waste reasonability on April 18th at the Choctaw Nation Event Center in Durant. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for more information.

Tulsa Zoo’s Party for the Planet
Join Tulsa Zoo for family fun to celebrate Earth Day. There will be a self-guided nature tour, a rainwater workshop and more! The event will take place on April 18th. Click here for more information.

Free Shred Day
Bring financial and personal documents for free shredding and recycling on April 18th from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The event will take place at 5519 NW 4th in Oklahoma City.

Martin Park Natural Center Earth Fest
Enjoy seminars on earth-friendly topics and family friendly games, crafts, and more. The event takes place at Martin Park Natural Center in OKC on April 18th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Norman Earth Day Festival
This free event will have something for the whole family. It will include music, hands-on art projects, pet adoptions, and much more. It will take place at Reaves Park in Norman on April 19th from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for more information.

OSU-OKC Earth Day Fair
Celebrate Earth Day with music, food, prizes and more. The event will take place on April 21st at the OSU-OKC campus from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

Earth Matters- People Matter Film Series
On April 21st at 7:30 p.m. in Norman at Westwind Unitarian, there will be a screening of Fight For Wild America. Click here for more information.

OKC Earth Day Earth Walk
On April 22nd, at 6 p.m. there will be an Earth Walk on the OCU campus. Everyone is invited to gather at the United Methodist Headquarters parking lot at 1501 N.W. 24th at McKinley. Click here for more information.

Earth Day Events at Science Museum Oklahoma
On April 22nd at 10 a.m. visitors will have the opportunity to make seed bombs at the Science Museum Oklahoma Gardens. The fun will continue on April 23rd and 24th with more fun Earth Day events. All events are included with general admission.

Party for the Planet at ECU
ECU will have live music, booths, food, and fun at the Party for the Planet. Events start at 10 a.m. on April 22nd at the Tiger Fountain at ECU. Click here for more information.

Free Shredding Event
Bring your documents to be shredded at the Chickasaw Reuse Center on 2205 North Broadway in Ada. The event will take place on April 24th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s open to the public. You can also bring useable items to donate to the Reuse Center.

Green Connections at Turtle Rock Farm
Go on a tour, meet animals, enjoy a drum circle, see demonstrations of fiber spinning, toothpaste-making, solar energy, and more! There will also be free food! The event takes place on April 25th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here to RSVP and find more information.

OKC Zoo’s Party for the Planet
Enjoy fun activities for Earth Day at the zoo. The party takes place on April 26th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click here for more information.

Ada Recycling Coalition Annual Earth Day Meeting
Join ARC for lunch, a special speaker, and more on April 29th at ECU in Ada. Click here for more information.

Did we miss an event? Please comment below or email us. And have a wonderful Earth Day!

Photo Credit- Okiefromokla

Bloomberg, Sierra Club Partnership Aims to Close Half of U.S. Coal Plants by 2017

Photo Credit- Matthew D. Wilson (LtPowers)

Photo Credit- Matthew D. Wilson (LtPowers)

The Sierra Club announced this week that Bloomberg Philanthropies will be investing $30 million over three years to the Beyond Coal Campaign. This new round of funding builds on the foundation’s previous commitment of $50 million.

Bloomberg will also lead a coalition of funders, which aims to match up to $30 million in grants. With this new support, the Sierra Club hopes to see the replacement of half of the nation’s coal power plants with clean energy by 2017.

“The coalition of more than a dozen funders includes individual donors, family foundations and major philanthropic organizations recognizing the urgency to fight climate change. Select funders include the Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Yellow Chair Foundation, the Grantham Foundation and the Sandler Family Foundation.  Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune and Michael R. Bloomberg announced the investments at the Sierra Club in Washington DC.” –source


The Bloomberg Philanthropies-Sierra Club partnership has led to 187 coal plants being retired or announcing their retirement. Coal has also dropped from 52% of US electricity generation to under 40%.

“The single biggest reduction in carbon pollution in the U.S. has come by retiring and repurposing coal-fired power plants – and that’s the direct result of our Beyond Coal campaign,” said Michael R. Bloomberg. “Thanks to the community leaders who have spearheaded this work, the U.S. led every industrialized nation in reducing carbon emissions last year. But much more work remains, and today we are doubling down on what has proven to be an incredibly successful strategy for improving public health and fighting climate change.” –source

One of the goals of the campaign is to improve the health of Americans.

The health benefits of our work to date include preventing 5,000 premature deaths,  avoiding 82,600 asthma attacks, and saving $2.3 billion in health care costs – every year. Retiring even one coal plant can  prevent 29 premature deaths, 47 heart attacks and 146 asthma attacks annually. Peer-reviewed research has also shown families living next to mountaintop-removal coal mines have higher risks of cancer, birth defects, and premature death. Replacing half the nation’s coal plants with clean energy will bring real improvements to people’s lives.” –source

The campaign also aims to position the U.S. as a climate leader. Current reductions in coal and increase use of renewable energy has helped the U.S. reach a climate agreement with China. However, the Sierra Club is hoping for even more.

“…the science is clear that we must do more, and the goals announced today by the Sierra Club will put the nation on a path to exceed the U.S. climate targets announced in late March by the Obama Administration.” –source

The coal industry is clearly not a big fan of this effort by the Sierra Club and Bloomberg.

“Instead of trying to make headlines, environmentalists could be partnering with industry to make headway in providing cleaner, reliable energy to Americans across the country and around the world,” said Laura Sheehan, senior vice president for communications at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which represents coal interests, in a statement.”- source

However, the Sierra Club and Bloomberg say the partnership is helping transition the economy from coal to clean energy. Bloomberg has pointed out the increase in number of jobs in solar and other renewable energy.

“Saying we’re destroying the coal industry isn’t as true as people would want you to believe, said Bloomberg. We should be making investments in helping find jobs and careers in industries that will continue growing,” – source

You can find out more at the Bloomberg Beyond Coal and Beyond Coal websites.

Despite Spring Storms, Oklahoma Drought Continues

Despite Spring Storms, Oklahoma Drought Continues

Oklahoma has experience some spring storms lately but it hasn’t been enough to pull the state out of the drought. Drought conditions have actually worsened slightly for the state. Thankfully we are doing better than a year ago but not by much.

Wheat crops are starting to green up and they will require rain over the next few months for a healthy crop. Last year was Oklahoma’s worse wheat crop since 1957 so farmers are anxiously watching the weather and hoping for rain.


Many parts of the state are experiencing water supply issues. Due to lakes levels throughout the state being below normal. The following are currently the lowest.

  • Lugert-Altus Lake: 31 feet below normal
  • Foss Lake: 20 feet below normal
  • Waurika Lake: 19 feet below normal
  • Tom Steed Lake: 17 feet below normal
  • Skiatook Late: 17 feet below normal

Oklahoma also has been experiencing abnormal heat. It was 96 degrees in Alva on Monday, April 6th. That ties for the 17th highest recorded temperature for all April 6s dating back to the late 1880’s.

This is due to a dry line that has been in place. The dry line and lots of moisture is also expected to bring us storms over the next couple of days. Tornadoes and other severe weather will be possible.

According to the latest weather briefing from the US National Weather Service in Norman, Wednesday, there is an enhanced risk of severe weather for parts of the state. There is a smaller chance for severe weather on Thursday, mostly in south eastern Oklahoma.

The highest chance of storms is not in the area of the state that is most in need of the rain. This has been a problem for years.

Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Photo credit- The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.

USGS Says Earthquake Increase is Not From Natural Causes

2011 earthquake

Oklahoma has been seeing a sharp increase in earthquake activity. In 2014, Oklahoma beat out California, for the most earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater, with 562 quakes compared to 180 in California.

This increase has Oklahoman’s wanting answers on the cause. In September of last year, Gov. Fallin created a seismic activity council to do just that. However, many fear that the council is bias due to the fact that it’s members are largely connected with the oil and gas industry.


Meanwhile, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been studying this issue and last week said that the “rise in seismic activity, especially in the central United States, is not the result of natural processes.”

Their findings show that the increase is due to a part of the hydraulic fracturing process.

“These modern extraction techniques result in large quantities of wastewater produced along with the oil and gas. The disposal of this wastewater by deep injection occasionally results in earthquakes that are large enough to be felt, and sometimes damaging. Deep injection of wastewater is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in detected earthquakes and the corresponding increase in seismic hazard in the central U.S. ” – U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

These findings are consistent with other studies done around the state.

Map Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Interior/USGS

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles State After Injection Well Shutdown

Oklahoma Earthquakes

Earthquakes in Oklahoma as of 11:00 a.m. on Thursday.

A 4.3 magnitude earthquake was reported near Cherokee at 9:08 a.m. on Thursday. This comes after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission directed SandRidge Energy to shut down an injection well in Alfalfa County on Tuesday.

The well was shut down due to a magnitude 4.1 earthquake recorded in the area on Friday. It’s the second active wastewater injection well to be shut down since 2003, when a new monitoring system was put into place.

Oklahoma’s earthquakes are continuing to increase. In 2011 Oklahoma experienced the largest earthquake in state history, magnitude 5.7. That year there were 63 quakes of magnitude 3 or greater.


2012 was a bit quieter with 34 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater. However, in 2013 earthquakes increased again with 106 of magnitude 3 or greater. And in 2014 the number jumped to 567 quakes of magnitude 3 or greater.

While studies continue to link the increase in earthquakes to injection wells, the state has been slow to address the issue. The oil and gas industry accounts for a third of the state’s economy and one in five jobs, making state officials slow to enact more regulations on the industry.

In September of last year Gov. Fallin created a seismic activity council to study the issue. However, some have criticized the council because they believe the oil and natural gas industry is too heavily represented.

“I applaud the governor for proposing the council, but its membership needs to be expanded to include someone other than just people beholden to the oil and gas industry,” . Sen. Jerry Ellis, D-Valliant said. –read more

How Oklahoma handles the earthquake increase and the oil and natural gas industry could also come from the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The state’s highest court is set to decide if two oil companies can be held liable for injuries a woman received from the 2011 5.7 magnitude earthquake.

Map Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Interior/USGS

Shop Oklahoma for Christmas

Finishing up your Christmas shopping? Be sure to support local stores to help your community while you shop! There are so many great ideas for ways to shop locally this Christmas.

shoplocal2

  • Gift Certificates to Local Shops
  • Keep It Local OK Discount Card
  • Gift Certificates for Local Restaurants
  • Donate in Recipients Name to a Local Charity
  • Shop Locally Owned Stores for Unique Gifts
  • Local Food and Drinks for Host/Hostess Gifts
  • Check Out Local Craft Fairs
  • Oklahoma Food Cooperative Membership
  • Gift Certificates for Local Services

There are so many ways to support local businesses this Christmas. We will be sharing some of our favorite gift ideas on our Facebook page until Christmas. Be sure to like us so you don’t miss any ideas!


Lead Exposure and Christmas Photos

Christmas photos of kids, pets, and families wrapped in lights are cute but they may not be safe.

Every year we see adorable photos of kids, pets, and families wrapped in Christmas lights. There is a hidden danger though.

 


This time of the year you will see photos of kids, pets, and couples wrapped in Christmas lights. Sure these photos are cute but is there a hidden danger?

One big danger is the fact that most Christmas lights contain lead. According to one CNN analysis four common brands of Christmas lights contained lead levels that are considered to be dangerous to children. And many experts say no level is safe.

“There is no level at which lead exposure is safe,” Dr. Trasande said. “Even at one microgram/deciliter — the lowest level in a person’s blood stream that we can detect — that level has been associated with cognitive impairment in children.”- read more

A quick search on Pinterest and you will find hundreds of photos of babies wrapped in lights, some with the lights in their mouths. This is very concerning given the amount of surface lead found in Christmas lights. Also in many of the photos the lights are plugged in, adding an extra danger to the situation.

Protect Yourself from Lead Christmas Lights

  • Don’t let children handle the lights.
  • Wash your hands after handling lights.
  • Wear gloves while handling lights.
  • Choose Made in the USA lights when possible, generally they have lower levels of lead than imported brands.
  • Buy lead-free lights.
  • Vacuum often with a HEPA filter vacuum and/or wet mop.
  • Dust often with a wet rag.
  • And of course, skip the photos with people and animals wrapped in Christmas lights.

Artificial Christmas trees often contain lead as well, so use the same caution with the tree. Also look for trees that use PE tips, it reduces the amount of PVC and lead.

Be sure to share this post to help prevent lead exposure this holiday season.

Keystone XL Pipeline Fails to Pass U.S. Senate

Keystone XL PipelineThe controversial pipeline failed to pass the Senate on Tuesday, by one vote. The vote comes after the House voted to approve the bill last week.

The southern route for the pipeline, which goes from Cushing, Oklahoma to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has already been built and is flowing. TransCanada, the pipeline’s owner, is waiting on approval to build the northern route which crosses the U.S.- Canadian border.

Proponents of the bill say it will create around 42,000 jobs. However, this number includes many indirect jobs and most are temporary. It will only create around 50 permit jobs.


Concerns surrounding the pipeline include many environmental ones. The pipeline will go over the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water for people in eight states, including Oklahoma. It also provides as much as 30% of the nation’s ground water used for irrigation.

Before oil even started flowing in the southern route of the Keystone XL, TransCanada had to repair 125 dents and sags in the pipeline.

Even if the vote had passed, experts believed President Obama would veto the bill. The Obama administration had delayed its review of the pipeline back in April until a lawsuit in Nebraska, addressing questions about a state law dealing with the pipeline’s route in the state, is resolved.

“It certainly is a piece of legislation that the president doesn’t support because the president believes this is something that should be determined through the State Department and the process that is in place to evaluate projects like this,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Photo credit: shannonpatrick17

7 Great Thanksgiving Recipes

 

7 Great Thanksgiving Recipes

 


Thanksgiving is almost here. Still not sure what to make? Check out all of these great recipes.

What’s on your Thanksgiving menu this year? Share in the comments below.