Rumblings of the apocalypse: Oklahoma’s bout of extremes dismays residents

Saturday, November 12, 2011
By Paul Martin

The Extinction Protocol
November 12, 2011

OKLAHOMA – After one of the strangest local weather days in memory, an Oklahoma woman with a sense of humor asked on Twitter earlier this week: “Wanna experience the apocalypse before it happens? Visit Oklahoma!” She posted that on Monday night shortly after a 4.7-magnitude aftershock earthquake shook the state. The temblor occurred not long after six tornadoes ripped through southwest Oklahoma, which was preceded by flash-flooding in an area that’s been plagued by a historic drought. “Seriously, WHAT’S GOING ON?” someone else tweeted that night. The answers vary. Global warning? Coincidence? Bad luck? Bad timing? End of time? There’s agreement on only one thing: It’s been weird all year. “Even for Oklahoma, this is crazy,” said Rick Smith, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Norman. “Since January, we’ve been setting records. People are just kind of amazed and shocked.” State records set this year have ranged from the lowest temperature (31 degrees below zero in Nowata in northeast Oklahoma) to snowfall in a 24-hour period (27 inches, also in Nowata) to the largest hail stone (a spiky, six-inch piece recovered in Gotebo, in southwest Oklahoma). This year also produced the state’s highest-ever-recorded surface wind speed (151 miles per hour near El Reno, outside of Oklahoma City) and biggest known earthquake (5.6 magnitude, breaking the 1956 record). On Wednesday, Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 20 counties because of earthquakes, tornadoes and severe storms.

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