Weather Extremes—Alaska to Oklahoma
November 9, 2011 • 11:34AM

The Pacific Ring of Fire continues its increased activity. Among many lesser Pacific seismic events, two quakes are of note: a 6.9 magnitude, off island of Okinawa, south of Japanese archipelago; and a sizable quake in the Philippines, at Bukidnon. On the northern rim, according to CNN, Alaska is now facing a life-threatening Winter storm. Nearly hurricane- force winds of 74 mph will combine with over a foot of snow, creating seas as high as 25 feet, and possible 10-foot storm surge in restricted areas, such as Norton Sound.

In the lower 48, in the region of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, three significant quakes have struck Oklahoma within as many days, with as many as 20 aftershocks being recorded as of this morning. At 2 a.m. Saturday morning, a 4.7 quake was the first to strike the area. Later that evening, as USGS seismologists were expecting only after-shocks, the big 5.6 quake struck, epicenter 50 miles from the first. On Monday night, another 4.7 struck, almost 48 hours after the original event. Also over the weekend, the area was hit by a huge supercell twister, amidst a generalized tornado upsurge.

This year, Oklahoma, as well as Texas, western Kansas, and the whole area has been the victim of a series of weather extremes. In the state of Oklohoma, these records include:

* HEAT—July average temp. was 88.9 deg. F, which is hottest average for any state, for any month, ever.

* COLD—Feb. 10, 2011, -31 deg F (Nowata) coldest ever in the state.

* HAIL—biggest ever, 6" in diam., in May, 2011

* WIND— strongest ever, 151 mph, in May, 2011