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sammy_gw

worst winter ever???

I told a friend that I could not remember a worse winter than this. We moved here in 1979, and this winter is terrible. I have not been able to water for fear of breaking the water pipes. I cannot get outside to work because it is so dreary and cold.

She said that she heard on the news that not only was this not the worse winter, but it does not even rank in the top ten. She said she heard that on the news.

I am not sure that my roses and other plants will make it, it has been so dry. I hate being so cold. The dogs' yard is so nasty with frozen whatever. It is just a terrible year.

Have any of you heard any reports not only if this is one of the worse winters, but will it ever end?

Thank,]
Sammy

Comments (20)

  • mksmth zone 7a Tulsa Oklahoma
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Either in 98 or 99 I remember one winter that we had snow on the ground for over 30 or 40 days. I was working outside and I remember how terrible it was. Not sure how it ranks but that was a bad one for me.

    After tomorrow its gonna warm up and I think stay that way.

    Mike

  • scottokla
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think if you look at average temperature for Dec till now it would be in the top 10 coldest (since about 1900), but by the end of the month it will likely not even be in the 20 coldest based on the forecasts I have seen.

    We have not had very much precip, but it has certainly been as bothersome as could be for the small amount that we have had.

    I think almost half of the last 70 days have had highs below freezing

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  • elkwc
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It would depend on what criteria you used to determine worst ever. 93 was worse here and in many places than this winter. I can remember a few winters in the 70's and early to mid 80's where we had cold stretches and we didn't get above freezing for 2 weeks or longer. Then other winters where we got lots of snow. 83 was one of 2-3 that I remember where we had both. We hit -17 in 83 if memory serves me correctly. The ground froze deep and there was lots of frozen pipes ect. If was hadn't of had the snow cover no telling how bad it would of been. The ground was covered from Thanksgiving until late Feb that year. Never got so tired of wearing insulated boots and layers of clothes. This winter here wouldn't rank in the top five for sure and I doubt it would make the top ten.

  • slowpoke_gardener
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I can't remember a winter I liked.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I remember the article that said this wasn't even on the top ten worst winter list. I'll try to find it and link it. Granted, the article is from sometime in January, so we have had a lot more winter weather since then, and six more weeks of winter remain. Who knows what sort of weather the next six weeks will bring us? So, when it all is said and done, maybe this year will make it onto the top ten list, although of course, maybe it won't.

    The winter of 2013-14 certainly seems like a bad one, and I think that's partly because some of us had snow, sleet and/or freezing rain back before Thanksgiving. That premature start to winter makes it feel like we have been cold, cloudy, rainy, sleety, icy, snowy, etc. for ages and ages and ages. However, haven't some of y'all had some nice weather in between the cold spells? Down here, we have see-sawed back and forth from lows in the single digits/highs in the 20s or 30s to lows in the 30s/40s with highs in the 60s/70s. I bet if we averaged together all the pretty, warm sunny days in my county with all the ugly, cold, icy days this year, we'd come up with "average" temperatures that are pretty much the same as the averages from other years. I don't know if the same is true for everyone in Oklahoma though.

    It sure seems like we have had more days with some form of wintery precipitation, but at least in our county, it has been piddly amounts, so if you look at the numbers on a report, we haven't had much precipitation. I'd like to point out, though, that it only takes a few one-hundredths of an inch of ice on roadways to make them hazardous so even piddly amounts of frozen precipitation can make a big mess on the roadways.

    To me, it feels like we have had significantly fewer sunny days this year, though the clouds haven't dropped tons of moisture and that is reflected in how much of the state is below-average in rainfall.

    It does seem to me like our local schools have had to cancel classes a lot more than usual, and I feel sorry for all involved because there's a lot of missed time and schoolwork that has to be made up in some way.

    I have noticed (and I thought it was just me until I discussed it with friends from our neighborhood) that we seem to have static electricity all the time. I cannot touch anything without getting shocked. It just seems constant. Why? As it turns out (we had to do a little research to figure this out), when the relative humidity is really low and the air is really dry, you have more static electricity. In our county we have had so many more of one certain type of fire this winter that I wonder if it is linked to static electricity. The type of fire that seems to be recurring this year is body shops, auto repair facilities, people's garages and shop buildings, RVs/travel trailers, etc. I cannot help wondering if these fires are linked to static electricity causing fires to ignite. It is just weird. It isn't just in our county either. Our local news stations cover a wide area that includes quite a few counties on either side of the river and they were having lots of those types of fires at the same exact time we were....and it is when we all were noticing how bad the static electricity had been recently.

    I know that several factors have combined to give us the wicked winter weather we're all so sick of, and at the same time it has given Alaska (and Sochi, Russia) incredibly warm winter weather. One of them is the PDO. If I can find the article I read that discussed that, I'll come back and link it later.

    There have been some vague hints from our local weather forecasters that some forecast models hint at improving conditions arriving soon. I don't know how iffy or firm that is.

    Dawn

    Here is a link that might be useful: Tulsa World Blog: Ten Worst Winters

  • p_mac
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    JAY!!!! I'm SO happy to see you post! Been wondering about you lately!

    I remember a rough coupla winters in the 80's but I definitely remember that AWFUL winter of '93. I wasn't able to garden much then, but I was a young single mom of two girls. Keeping us all warm (affordably) and no freezing pipes was a chore that year. In fact, I broke an ankle that year climbing over a fence, blocking off a house vent to the pipes. yeh, good times....NOT.

    Remember this region is "Oklahoma" and like Will Rogers said.. if ya don't like the weather - "just wait a minute and it'll turn around"....or something close to that.

  • Lisa_H OK
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We have had a lot of pretty warm weather here in OKC. I call this our bi-polar winter. :-) .

  • Cynthiann
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I moved to Oklahoma in 98 so I wasn't here for some of the dates mentioned but I remember 3-4 years ago we had blizzard-like conditions. Maybe I exaggerate a little but I'm from Florida so it sure felt like it (looking at Dawn's link it must be 2009-2010, it's #8 on that list). Anyways, I wasn't gardening that year but I work in a hospital so I have to work regardless of weather and just driving to work was so nerve wracking. I definitely take this winter of that one.

    Cynthia

  • MiaOKC
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Dawn, in my office I am the resident static electricity gatherer. Everyone in the office can hear when I sit down at my computer and touch the mouse, because they hear the *ZAP* "OW" refrain a dozen times a day. During one of the snows last week, I was working from home and got up to bump the thermostat up a few degrees. We have a digital thermostat, and when my finger touched the button, *ZAP* and the dang thing blinked off! Luckily it turned back on within a few seconds.

    My mother-in-law bought my father-in-law some special shoes for Christmas that are supposed to keep you from building up static electricity. I've wondered if I need some!

    And Sammy, I'm pretty sure I heard that same thing on the news last night, that this seems like a bad winter but this isn't one of the worst. I was only listening with half an ear so didn't catch the details.

  • helenh
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I haven't noticed more static electricity this winter. I have embarrassed my friend many times by my little scream when I get shocked. I touch doorknobs with my sleeve pulled down over my hand. You can hear the sparks when I touch things and more than once I have shocked the cat.

    I remember bad winters when I was younger but I had cattle then and had to break the ice on the pond and worry about them knocking me over. Now I am in the house by the wood stove so it is hard to compare. It seems to me like it used to be colder and that the last years have been unusually warm and mild.

  • chickencoupe
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Cynthia;
    It was a blizzard. Brief, but a blizzard. I remember going out late one night to do a quick chore. It was windy and snowing. Oddly, I couldn't breath! I thot that was so very strange. I couldn't breath.

    Then I check the local weather. It was a blizzard and dastardly cold. Didn't last but a day.

    bon

  • sammy zone 7 Tulsa
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    My husband said that today should be a turning point in the weather, and from now on, it should be nicer out.

    I hope this is true. After a few days of warm weather without freezes at night, I hope to try out the hoses. The last thing I need right now are broken pipes, but soon I should be able to water. I am not sure how much true water my roses have gotten this winter.

    My roses are own root, and may have died to the ground. They should burst back quickly, but if I do not prune correctly, then many long strong branches will begin to die in the middle of the summer.

    I am trying to presume that they are all alive, but some of those canes are really dead.

    I have not gotten the grass and weeds, and have not cut the crape myrtle branches back.

    As you can tell I am quite anxious to get back out there.

    Good luck to all of you. I hope we can get out very soon now.

    Sammy

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I hope the improving weather lasts a while. I'm ready to enjoy having a few days with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. It wouldn't offend me if we had highs in the 70s either.

    Sammy, I hope your roses are okay. Our temperatures here have not been the lowest ones we have had since moving here, but some of the wind chills have been the lowest I remember since moving here. Still, some of the usual winter/early spring wildflowers have bloomed in January and February even in the midst of all the cold, so maybe the cold weather hasn't affected the plants as much as we think.

    If we are going to warm up, I hope we stay warm. The worst thing in the world for my fruit trees is for warm temperatures to arrive in February. They've already had enough chilling hours to meet their chilling requirement, so just a few days of warm temperatures are likely to push them into bloom. Usually if they go nuts and bloom in February we lose the fruit to late freezing weather or frost in March and April. So, from the viewpoint of someone who wants to have a decent peach and plum harvest this year, I hope the weather isn't warm enough long enough to encourage the trees to bloom too early---unless it is going to stay warm.

    Y'all, remember this.....we were having widespread grass fires, brush fires and wild fires across a large portion of the state before the really cold temperatures and winter precipitation arrived. Now that the precipitation is gone, with warmer and windier weather returning, fire danger will increase over the next few weeks so be prepared and be watchful.

    Let's think some positive thoughts for all the folks in Georgia and other southeastern states whose weather forecast is calling for ice storms of epic proportions. It sounds like they could have a good old-fashioned Oklahoma-style ice storm that brings down lots of trees and power lines. Let's hope that they get lucky and the trees stay upright and the power stays on. If it has to get icy there, I hope the ice falls more as snow pellets, graupel or sleet and not as freezing rain that coats everything it hits. We've all "been there, done that" with the freezing rain here in our state in the 2000s and I wouldn't wish that on anybody.

    Finally, if you want to use "highs of 32 degrees or lower" as a measure of how bad this winter has been, I'll link the OK Mesonet map that shows that below. Keep in mind that this map is based off of official temperatures recorded at Mesonet stations and the weather at your house may have differed significantly from the weather at your county's mesonet station or stations.


    Dawn

    Here is a link that might be useful: Map: # of Days With High Temps 32 Or Below

  • scottokla
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Looking at all that data along with my weather station data, this would easily make the top 10 and put my location at about 4th-7th from Dec 1 until now. (Our average temp right now for this winter is just below 33) The problem is warmest temps of the three winter months are usually the last half of Feb and with the next week of spring-like weather here my average temp will get near 35-36 by the end of the time period. The records will show this winter to be around the 25th percentile I am guessing by the time the month is over, which should be around 25 to 30th in the 100+ years of weather data we have.

  • Lisa_H OK
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am ready for some warm weather as well. I need to water. We have been so dry this winter that I am afraid I'm going to lose a lot of my flowers.

  • soonergrandmom
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I understand Helen and have probably experienced most of the same weather since she is very close to Oklahoma and I am very close to Missouri.

    We have had days and days of snow on the ground and ice on neighborhood streets, We haven't had snowfall for a number of days, but we have not had enough warmth to melt the old stuff. We left our house Monday morning and a half block later we were headed in the opposite direction and only inches away from a tree (I wasn't driving). The sunny spots melt and run into the shady spots and just create a glaze of ice.

    I have a raised bed near my backdoor and the snow finally melted two days ago, but the north side of everything still has patches of snow. We have had very few warm days this winter, and it has not been anywhere near normal. We haven't had the heavy snowfall that we get some winters, but our temps have been very cold. We are thrilled to be at 40 today, although the wind chill is still 36. It has been a bad winter for us and my garden still hasn't been cleaned up from last year.

    We have been below freezing every night this month and have been as low as 5. Our high temps have only gone above freezing 3 days this month and one of those was yesterday, so we are happy to have a small warm up even if it is only for a few hours.

    I told Al one day that the temp in the panhandle was double what ours was, and Jay was probably having a picnic while we were hiding inside to stay warm. It has been one crazy winter.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Scott, That certainly makes it one of your colder winters, even if the last couple of weeks of February pull up the averages.

    Lisa, I have watered twice, and one of those two times it was barely above freezing and I am sure I looked like an idiot out there watering. Our relative humidity had been hovering in the teens every afternoon and I didn't feel like there was much, if any, moisture in the soil to speak of, so I watered.

    Carol, Our lowest temperature so far this winter has been 5 degrees also, and it was right near the end of January. We've also had some nights where our low temp was 6, 7 or 8. Still, in other years we've gone down to 0, 1 and 3 degrees, so we didn't hit our absolute lowest cold temperature here. If I remember correctly, Marietta's lowest temperature ever recorded was -8 and it was very long ago.

    The snowdrift alongside the north wall of my greenhouse still is there. It takes forever to melt because the shade cloth prevents any direct sun from hitting it.

    We're at 47 degrees right now but with the wind chill, the weather out there still has felt pretty cool today. It warms up a lot more beginning tomorrow.

    I have watched at times as the cold fronts are still hitting the middle and eastern parts of the state while the next warmer weather is rolling into the OK panhandle. It is an odd thing to observe, and I think I've noticed it many more times than usual this year.

    For a significant portion of this winter, a strong high pressure ridge that the weather folks were calling the ridiculously resilient ridge sat to our west and was exerting strong influence on the weather patterns, which included horrendous drought conditions in California. When parts of Cali got inches and inches of rain a couple of days ago, I was happy for them....and happy for use, too, because their rainfall meant our weather was about to improve as well. Let's hope that ridiculously resilient ridge doesn't return.

  • soonergrandmom
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Dawn, that was just our low for this month and we had some 8 and 9 in there with it. I think our January low was -4. It has just been weird. Not the deep snow we get sometimes, nor the big tree breaking ice storms, just cold.

  • seeker1122
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I grew up in Pawnee county and every winter I would jump in 6' plus snow drifts.
    We had 2 big ponds on my land and I owned a pair of ice skates and spent my winters skating my ponds.
    My Dy and I just talked about this.
    When in summer I would catch 20 pound catfish they were not shallow ponds.
    When we swam in the summer I never touched bottom.
    They at waterline still to this day have not dried up real deep.
    I think is was a different cold and we just old

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Carol, I don't know why, but this cold has felt so much worse this winter....and I'm not complaining about most of the ice missing us even thought it feels weird to have bitterly cold temperatures with only minimal ice or snow. I wouldn't want to be in Georgia, North or South Carolina or Alabama this week! I hope everyone there is able to deal with the ice and snow in a safe way.

    Tim has had to deal with a lot more ice and sleet down in Texas on days he is at work than we have had up here, so I guess we are lucky in that regard because the ice, sleet, freezing rain and snow forecast for us has just brushed by us and has hit that part of Texas every time. He has had to pack a suitcase and stay at work several times this winter because the roads between there and here were just too bad....he likely has spent as many snowy nights down at work in 2013-14 as he did in all our previous years here combined. He is fortunate to have a wonderful best friend down there (who used to live just a little bit up the road from us here) who always tells him "just come stay in our guest room", which is such a lovely gesture. Sometimes, though, the roads are so bad that Tim stays at work and sleeps in an extra crew bedroom at one of the fire stations instead of driving to his friend's house.

    I'm looking forward to the warm weather expected for the next week or so, but am pretty sure it will push the fruit trees into blooming too early. I looked at the limbs this morning, and the buds are swelling and they are ready to pop.

    Tree, You have such wonderful winter memories! My DH grew up in Pennsylvania and he has great winter memories too. I grew up in zone 8 Texas, and for us snow was very rare, so my winter memories are mostly of sleet. We did have snow in 1964 and again in 1977 or 1978 but in between those two big storms that I remember, it was mostly just sleet. It is hard to make fun memories with sleet that makes you slip and slide and fall on the ground.

    I do agree that as we get older the cold seems to bother us more. Lately, winter is just a boring season to survive and get through so we can get back outside and do what we want.

    Dawn

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