Monday, May 5, 2014

Oklahoma Wildfires Kill 1 Person, Cause Chaos

This time of year, we associate Oklahoma with tornadoes, as it's pretty much the peak of the twister season out there.  
Flames consume homes and buildings near
Guthrie, Oklahoma Sunday, in a photo
from TornadoTitans. 

Yesterday, another type of weather disaster struck, a symptom of the heat and drought that have been affected the West for so long now.

Record heat, incredibly dry weather and strong winds fanned wildfires, especially near the town of Guthrie. One man who did not want to evacuate ahead of the fire died in the blaze, according to television station WOCO.

At least five or six occupied houses burned, as did other structures and outbuildings, WOCO reported.

The fire started as a controlled burn, which tells me somebody is in big trouble. Forecasts ahead of the blaze warned of extreme fire dangers.

Record heat hit the southern Plains yesterday, sending temperatures above 100 degrees, which is awfully early in the year for that. Wichita, Kansas got all the way up to 102 degrees on Sunday.

It was the earliest reading above 100 degrees on record.

An out of control wildfire near Guthrie, OK
Sunday, in this image from TornadoTitans.
Readings that hot in Kansas are fairly impressive for July, never mind early May.

The record heat, strong winds and desert dryness should continue during the first part of this week in the southern Plains, likely fanning more wildfires.

Rain and cooler temperatures should arrive toward the end of the week. That's the good news.

The bad news is parts of the wildfire area could end up with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes with that rain.

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