KENTON — The actual temperature at Kenton, located in the far western Oklahoma Panhandle, plummeted to minus 19 degrees late Wednesday, setting a record low for Oklahoma Mesonet weather stations.
Bob and Jane Apple, who live on a ranch 3 miles east of the community and operate a bed-and-breakfast in Kenton, have their own numbers. With about 200 head of cattle, they are breaking ice about 8 inches deep. They said they are wearing four to five layers of clothing to stay warm outside.
Many people know the area because of Black Mesa, where the altitude is 4,973 feet, the highest elevation in the state. The Apples reside about 6 miles from New Mexico and 4 miles south of Colorado.
The Apples live in a trailer at the ranch, Jane Apple said. But since Monday, they have moved into the house next door, which is occupied by Jane Apple’s 98-year-old mother, Ina K. Labrier. They only have about 3 inches of snow, she said, but the temperatures are the biggest challenge.
In terms of work, one of the biggest challenges is keeping water available for cattle. And that’s a challenge throughout much of the state.
Jane Apple said the tanks, ponds, creeks and the Cimarron River in their area are frozen.
The temperature at Kenton hasn’t been above freezing since 8 p.m. Sunday, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.
Bob Apple has to make frequent trips out with an ax to break the ice to get to the water.
But that’s just one of the issues.
“One of our neighbors said last night that one of their pipes broke,” Jane Apple said of another problem being experienced in many areas of the state.