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    Tulsa District talks severe weather, water safety at local expo

    Tulsa District talks severe weather, water safety at local expo

    Photo By Brannen Parrish | Tulsa District weather forecaster, Taft Price and Park Rangers Conner Rychlik Audrey...... read more read more



    Story by Brannen Parrish 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District

    A Tulsa District meteorologist and park rangers attended the Severe Weather Expo to talk weather and water safety at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa, April 15.

    Local, state and federal agencies, news companies and businesses provided representatives to engage the public on weather safety and weather-related responses associated with inclement weather.
    Severe weather is a reality that significantly impacts the people of Oklahoma directly or indirectly.

    According to data from the National Weather Service, the Sooner State experienced 58 tornados in 2022 with at least one tornado each month in seven of the 12 months.

    According to the same data, May was the worst month for tornadoes in Oklahoma with 28.

    A tornado helped set the course for the career of forecaster Taft Price of the Tulsa District’s Hyrdraulics and Hydrology Section.

    “When I was in high school, a tornado hit the house, I had just made it back from a baseball tournament about 30 minutes before. A tornado hit our house in the middle of the night,” said Price, who went on to attend the University of Oklahoma’s School of Meteorology. “And it wasn’t really that strong of a storm, so I said to my dad after our roof blew off ‘why did that storm produce a tornado when other big storms I’ve seen didn’t?”

    Price went on to spend the next 25 years as a television meteorologist in Oklahoma before joining the Tulsa District.

    While tornadoes are probably the most closely related weather phenomena associated with Oklahoma, the Sooner State has a long history of flooding and flood fighting.

    Knowing how much water on the ground helps USACE water managers make decisions about opening and closing tainter gates at the dams. Forecasters like Price help model potential weather patterns for planning.

    “Forecasting is such a challenge because there’s so much that goes into it, and for us it’s the same thing. We can see five inches of rain is coming in three days but two days out, now it’s down to three inches and that’s where, it’s always changing, the bullseye is always moving around and just a small change of a half mile or a mile of where that’s at can make a huge difference in whether we should release or not release and that’s why we wait until the water is on the ground.”

    In fact, flood risk reduction is the Tulsa District’s primary mission and the primary reason most of its lakes were constructed or authorized for construction during the era of flood control acts from the 1930s to 1960s.
    These flood control reservoirs enabled recreation.

    As water-based recreation became more commonplace, Water Safety became a USACE mission. Ultimately the USACE became a leading provider of water-based recreation in the United States with more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states and 250 million visits annually.
    Park rangers like Audrey White of the Lake Texoma Project Office became the tip of the USACE’s spear in visitor engagement and water safety education.

    While handing out water safety schwag and talking to the public, White, who has been a ranger for about two years, explained how working around recreation changed her perspective on life jacket wear.

    “It didn’t really cross my mind how often accidents can happen and also easily be prevented by wearing a life jackets,” said White. “Accidents happen and people don’t think it can happen to them, but we want to ensure that people understand it can happen to you. It’s important to wear your life jacket even if you can swim.”



    Date Taken: 04.15.2023
    Date Posted: 04.19.2023 11:05
    Story ID: 442901
    Location: TULSA, OK, US 

    Web Views: 74
    Downloads: 0