Bad news: Triple-digit temperatures have arrived in parts of Oklahoma ahead of schedule, stirring fears of a repeat of the terrible summer of 2011.
Good news: The state is in much better shape going into this summer than it was a year ago, in terms of year-to-date rainfall. Ponds around the state that had no water in September are full or getting there.
Bad news: The most active tornado month in a typical year is May, which hasn't yet arrived. The 6,500 Oklahoma customers of GHS Property and Casualty Co. are looking for another insurance carrier. GHS is at least the second company to leave the market in the past six months because extreme weather led to so many claims.
Mixed news: Extreme weather brings rainfall, lessening the effects of drought but also increasing the number of claims borne by property and casualty companies.
Old news: All of the above.
It's springtime in Oklahoma and the livin' is uneasy. The mild winter, the relaxation of worries about a spring wildfire season, the prospects for the winter wheat crop and the paucity of a state presence on the federal drought monitor map are reasons for optimism. That the thermometer hit 105 in Altus on Wednesday is not.
Forecasters can't really tell us yet how the coming summer will play out. Effects of the hottest summer on record will be seen for years no matter how things go this summer. Trees weakened by drought have little ability to fight disease.
It's the toll on people and their pocketbooks that really matters. “Physically and mentally, it wore you down,” southwestern Oklahoma farmer Terral Tatum told The Oklahoman's Bryan Painter this week. “When this is your profession and you don't raise a crop, it beats you down.”
City folks should remember those words when they complain about their electric bills this summer.