Oklahoma's unusually cool, rainy summer brings out snakes

Labor Day ends the summer season, one that has been “really odd,” according to a state climatologist, because of cooler temperatures and more rain than usual in many areas of the state.
By KEN MILLER Published: September 3, 2013
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Labor Day brings what many consider the official end of the summer season, one that has been “really odd,” according to a state climatologist, because of cooler temperatures and more rain than usual in many areas of the state.

The weather is also considered by some experts to, indirectly, have resulted in more snakebites thus far in 2013.

“Compared to the last couple of years it's been extremely unusual,” said associate state climatologist Gary McManus. “It's really odd.”

McManus noted that high temperatures topped out in the mid-80s during early July, instead of near or above 100 degrees and consistent rainfall that normally ends in June continued through mid-August, easing drought conditions in all but far southwestern Oklahoma and the Panhandle.

“That rain in mid-July to mid-August really saved us from a disaster,” McManus said. “If we hadn't gotten that rainfall we'd be in a flash drought situation,” a condition in which intense drought develops quickly, much like a flash flood.

Summer's sting

Dr. Bill Battle, medical director of the Oklahoma Poison Control Center, and entomologist Rick Grantham at Oklahoma State University both believe the milder weather has resulted in more people being bitten by snakes.

The cooler weather leads to more insects, which brings out more frogs that eat the insects, and in turn there are more snakes, which enjoy dining on frogs. The cooler weather has also brought more people to spend time outdoors.

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