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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.

House of Representatives Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline

keystone xl pipelineThe House has voted 252 to 161 to approve a bill that would direct the federal government to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline. The Senate is scheduled to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 18th, that vote could send the measure to President Obama’s desk.

This is the ninth time that the House has voted for a measure to force the approval of the pipeline. And there is thought to be little change that this vote will matter. The Democrats have a majority in the Senate until the Republican take over in January, and it’s unlikely that the bill will attract 60 votes, enough to avoid a filibuster. President Obama has also signaled he will possibly veto the bill if it does reach his desk.

“While the White House has not issued a formal veto threat, it has indicated it is prepared to reject the House bill; press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday it has recommended vetoes against similar bills in the past. And barring an extraordinary legislative maneuver forcing his hand next Congress, according to individuals familiar with the administration’s thinking, Obama is likely to reject a final permit when the matter comes before him.” – Washington Post


While the status of the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is still in the air, the southern leg that runs from Cushing, Oklahoma to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, is already up and running. Though many are still fighting it in Oklahoma and Texas.

Due to many environmental and property rights concerns the Keystone XL has faced many delays. TransCanada Corp. of Calgary, Alberta, the pipeline owner, first submitted the application more than six years ago to the State Department.

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.

Photo credit: shannonpatrick17

8 Reasons to Shop Locally for the Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching. This holiday season you can help support your community by shopping locally. Here are eight reasons why it’s important to shop locally.shop locally

  • Create Jobs – “If every American spent $64 on something made in America, we could create 200,000 jobs right now.” [source]
  • Keep Money Local – Sales taxes help fund vital services in our communities. Also, local businesses are also more likely to spend money locally, keeping more money in the community.
  • Creates a Diverse Community –  Shopping locally encourages people to businesses that are unique and an alternative to chain stores.
  • Better for the Environment – Many locally owned businesses also offer local products which require far less transportation.
  • Better Customer Service – Local businesses owners are passionate about their businesses and connected to the community. This often contributes to better and more personal customer service.
  • Helps Your Community Grow – Keeping tax dollars in your community and creating demand will help encourage new businesses and help your city grow.
  • More Support for Nonprofits – Studies show that nonprofits receive 250 percent more support from small businesses than larger businesses.
  • Connect with your Community – Shopping locally helps you connect with people in your community and learn about more things going on around you.

Encourage your friends and family to shop locally this year by sharing this post and this graphic. And post your favorite local shops in the comments below!

shop local


Easy Ways to Winterize your Home

With just a few easy steps you can get your home ready for winter and save on your heating bill. 

With just a few easy steps you can get your home ready for winter and save on your heating bill. This post contains affiliate links.

After a mild start to fall, Oklahoma is starting to see cooler temperatures. This means it’s time to think about ways to winterize your home. We want to keep the energy we use to heat our homes in our homes and reduce the overall amount needed.

Winterizing you home can help you save money on your heating bill and stay warmer this winter. It’s important to do this each year to keep your home in good shape for the winter.

8 Steps to Winterizing Your Home


 

  • Stop the draft. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. You can use a rolled up old bath towel, buy draft stoppers, or make your own out of scrap fabric.
  • Hang heavy curtains or shades to help insulate windows and keep heat in.
  • Change your furnace filter. A dirty filter restricts air flow and increases energy use.
  • Also be sure to have your heating system serviced, so you know it’s running as efficiently as possible and is safe.
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning to help prevent heat loss.
  • Turn your ceiling fans around. Having your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction helps push hot air from the ceiling towards the floor.
  • Insulate your water heater with an insulating blanket. This is especially important if your hot water heater is in your garage. Check out this video for more information.
  • Get out the sweaters and blankets. The cheapest way to save money this winter is to use less heat by dressing warmly. Keep nice warm blankets around the home and be sure family members have comfortable warm clothing to wear at home.

 

field peas and ham soup
Bonus Tip- Cook up some of this yummy field peas with ham soup, it’s sure to keep you warm!