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Record Maximum 109 F GRA2 2008
Record Minimum 47 F MANG 2005
Record Rainfall 3.50" ALV2 2002

* Mesonet History = since 1994

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July 25, 2014      July 25, 2014      July 25, 2014      July 25, 2014       

Dr. Ken Crawford, Father of the Oklahoma Mesonet (1943-2014) 

Some 20+ years ago, I took a Hydrometeorology course from Dr. Crawford, the new
Director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, OU Dept. of Meteorology professor
and State Climatologist. Sixteen years ago, I marched into his office unannounced
and said "I want to work for the Climate Survey." Fifteen years ago, after near
weekly visits (I learned to get an appointment after that first one) to his 
office, he actually hired me. There are many things I admired about Dr. Crawford,
whom I would later get enough courage to call "Ken" as one colleague to another.
The first and foremost of which is that he would hire an Panhandle-bred Okie 
from amongst some of the best and brightest students the world has to offer to 
the atmospheric sciences. I'd like to think it was my persistence, but I suspect
it was because I would talk Big 12 football with him (Ken was a lifelong and
notorious Texas Longhorn fan, notorious in that there are few Texas Longhorn fans
employed by OU). Here he is in his Texas regalia during one of the many "Red 
River Battles" he endured within his own office in early October each year.

But without a doubt, his greatest professional achievement was the creation and
implementation of the Oklahoma Mesonet. Many of you probably don't know the 
back-story of how the Mesonet came to be, or that it was actually a spark of an 
idea from within Ken's brain after the deadly Tulsa Memorial Day flood of 
1984. You can read a bit more about that in this Tulsa World story marking the 
20th Anniversary of the Oklahoma Mesonet.

So when you see a Mesonet map, or one of your Emergency Managers sounds an 
alert based off Mesonet data and the training the Mesonet provides, or  if
one of your children learns about the weather from one of the many Mesonet
trained Oklahoma science teachers, remember ... it all started as a spark within
one man's intellect 30 years ago in the midst of a tragedy. A Texas transplant 
that became the architect of arguably the most recognized and renowned 
meteorological observing network of its kind in the world. 

A great man, scientist, colleague, mentor and teacher, and an honorary "Texas 
Okie," Dr. Ken Crawford. 

Gary McManus
State Climatologist
Oklahoma Mesonet
Oklahoma Climatological Survey
(405) 325-2253


"Dr. Ken Crawford was the Director at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey from 
1989 through 2009. While at OCS, he also served as the State Climatologist and
Regents? Professor of Meteorology. Ken considered his most important 
accomplishment of his 20 years at OCS to be the development and implementation 
of the Oklahoma Mesonet, a joint program with Oklahoma State University. Ken 
was also an outstanding mentor for young scientists. He led the M.S. thesis
and Ph. D. dissertation research of 37 students? more than any other 
meteorology faculty at OU. Through Ken?s research efforts, he was awarded over 
$40 Million in grants during his professional career.  

Before coming to OU, Ken had a 30-year career with the National Weather 
Service, culminating with his role as Meteorologist in Charge for Oklahoma 
between 1982 and 1989.  After retiring from OU, Ken went on to be the Vice 
Administrator for the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA). In his 3 years
with the KMA, he improved training and tools for KMA forecasters and upgraded
Korea to the world?s most advanced weather radar network.

Ken touched the lives of countless staff and students, as well as K-12 
teachers, emergency managers, and growers and producers across Oklahoma.  He 
will be greatly missed."