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. . . Ticker for March 16, 2000 . . .
March 16, 2000 March 16, 2000 March 16, 2000 March 16, 2000

Freezing Rain Hits Western Oklahoma

Freezing rain can be one of Mother Nature's costliest short-term events,
in terms of interrupting services and isolating persons from each other.

The winter weather system Oklahoma is experiencing today has already
produced dramatic changes in temperature (for example, the Woodward
Mesonet station temperature dropped 51 degrees in 24 hours
http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20000316/delta.tair24.gif ),
but is also dropping significant freezing rain on a large area of
western Oklahoma.

While the Mesonet isn't specifically equipped to measure frozen
precipitation, its effects are undeniable. Take a look at the wind
speeds from 3:00 pm the afternoon:

The unusually light winds in much of western and northwestern Oklahoma
aren't really light winds at all. Those are frozen (or freezing) wind
monitors on top of Mesonet stations. You can watch the entire ugly
process unfold on today's meteograms:
Arnett: http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20000316/ARNE.met.gif
Cheyenne: http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20000316/CHEY.met.gif
Medford: http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20000316/MEDF.met.gif
Seiling: http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20000316/SEIL.met.gif

Notice that, on all of these meteograms, the wind speeds started to
"die down" at each site at some time today. But why would the wind
speeds fall at 4:00 am at Arnett, but 7:00 am at Cheyenne, 8:00 am at
Seiling and 11:00 at Medford? Because this wasn't due to calming winds.
Notice that the wind speeds began to slow just as the temperature fell
below 32 F at each station. This is the effect of freezing precipitation
sticking on the prop-vane on top of the Mesonet stations and drastically
reducing observed wind speeds.

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