The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

April 10, 2013

Weather still surprises Oklahomans on occasion

“If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma,” native son Will Rogers once remarked, “wait a minute and it’ll change.”

Rogers’ old adage remains just as relevant today, considering this week’s cold snap. It’s early April, or springtime, in other words. Remember, it’s that sunny time when inflatable rafts appear at pharmacies and pool supplies are peddled on TV ads.

When it comes to weather, Oklahomans cut some slack by having an NBA franchise named after a meteorological phenomenon. We’re familiar with the term “thundersleet.” Still, the groundhog should be fired for his failed forecast.

Putting Punxsutawney Phil’s fate aside, here’s the point: Even though Oklahomans are accustomed to changing weather, we still get surprised from time to time.

“You are not going to believe this!!” was the subject line emailed from Mike Honigsberg, certified director for Enid/Garfield County Emergency Management.

TV meteorologists were telling us all hail was going to break loose, literally, before an apocalyptic ice storm. Can you blame them for trying to do their jobs?

Instead of relying on “Old Farmers Almanac,” Roger Don Gribble, northwest area agronomist for Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, anxiously eyed his computer screen Tuesday afternoon, charting the untimely — and sudden — cold snap.

That’s because the critical temperature for wheat is 28 degrees. A quicker drop causes more damage, as plant cell water freezes. The forming ice breaks down cell walls, causing worse problems.

Producers won’t know the damage until a few weeks. Alas, this crop’s fate is as unpredictable as the weather forecast.

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