Archive for February, 2010

Earthquakes Strike Oklahoma & Arkansas
February 28, 2010

Another earthquake occurred in central Oklahoma at 4:22pm CST on Saturday. It was the latest quake to hit the area after a string of dozens of earthquakes that began last year. Saturday’s earthquake was the largest out of the bunch recording a preliminary 4.4 magnitude. This was later revised after reviewing the data to a 4.1 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake was large enough to do minor property damage in Oklahoma and it was felt all the way into northwest Arkansas. Three reports were filed with the USGS in our area. The earthquake was felt in Fayetteville, Lowell, and Siloam Springs as light to weak shaking. Here is the map of where the earthquake was observed.

For more information on the earthquake check out the following link.

A second, very small, earthquake occured Sunday at 3:54am about 12 miles north/northeast of Conway, AR. This earthquake was not felt by humans and was only a 1.1 magnitude earthquake.

Ross Ellet

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Chile Earthquake Stats
February 27, 2010

Today’s 8.8 magnitude earthquake was a monster in Chile early today. The earthquake was the 5th largest magnitude earthquake to occur in the world since 1900. The worst earthquake in recorded history was a 9.5 magnitude quake that occurred in Chile as well. That earthquake took place on May 22, 1960 and because of that disaster and the safety precautions that were taken afterwards, thousands of lives may have been saved in today’s quake. Infrastructure greatly improved after 1960.

(Downtown Anchorage, Alaska following the 1964 earthquake, Courtesy USGS)

The second most powerful earthquake in recorded history took place in the United States in the land of the last Frontier. Anchorage and coastal cities in Alaska were rocked by 9.2 magnitude earthquake on Good Friday, March 28, 1964. The resulting tsunami swallowed up entire fishing and port communities along the Prince William Sound. The earthquake altered the elevations by as much as 10 to 25 feet in some spots. One of the largest land shifts took place in downtown Anchorage and near the Turnagain Arm where many houses fell into massive sink holes or even along the icy shores below. This location is named earthquake park today in remembrance of the massive earthquake of 1964.

(A portion of what is today earthquake park in Anchorage Alaska, Courtesy USGS)

You can read more about the worst earthquake to strike US soil at this link

The third worst earthquake in recorded history was the 9.1 magnitude quake that occured along the coast of Sumatra the day after Christmas in 2004. That earthquake is what caused the nightmare tsunami that killed nearly 300,000 people in South Asia and East Africa.

The fourth worst earthquake in recorded history was a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that occured on November 4, 1952 along the Kamchatka peninsula. Incredibly, no lives were lost during that earthquake.

Today’s earthquake was the 5th worst in recorded history and was 63 times bigger than the Haiti earthquake on a seismogram, and released 501 times as much energy. The earthquake in Chili released more energy than was released during the Mount Saint Helen’s volcanic eruption in 1980.

For more information on the world’s top 10 worst earthquakes, check out the following link

For more information on how magnitude is calculated, what it means, and why an increase of 1 magnitude is 10 times as big check out this link

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Friday’s Snow Totals
February 26, 2010

Friday’s precipitation lead to little to no snow accumulation for the majority of the area. However, the higher elevations in the Ouachita Mountains picked up significant accumulation early today. The highest totals were around 3-4″ across southern LeFlore county to central Polk county.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Rain & Snow Moving Out Of The Area
February 26, 2010

Here is the radar image as of 12:42pm. The shield of precipitation continues to move toward the south and east quickly. Moderate to heavy snow has been falling from southern LeFlore county to central Polk county. The snow will come to an end across LeFlore, Scott and Polk counties between 2 and 3pm this afternoon.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

February 26, 2010

We are getting reports of some slick roads in southern LeFlore county this morning.  The sheriff’s department has reported a few accidents with cars sliding off the roads.  Take is slow if you have to do any travelling in the higher elevations as there could be some slick spots.


February 26, 2010

The precipitation has pushed in this morning.  We have had reports of snow in Fort Smith and Figure Five.  The accumulation on the roads has been very minimal with temperatures continuing to stay above freezing.  The wintry mix chances will continue south of I-40 for the rest of the morning.  A few flurries and some light drizzle can be expected this morning in NE OK and NW AR.  The dry air in this part of the area has prevented heavy precipitation development.  Here is a look at the precipitation forecast for the rest of today.





Updated Snow Forecast
February 25, 2010

The forecasted storm track continues to move further to the west and south across the area. This shift in the track is taking the narrow swath of snow further to the south and west as well. As a result the only counties that are under a winter weather advisory in our area are Haskell, Latimer and LeFlore counties. The expected snow totals are below. Most of the viewing area will see little to no accumulation except for the Ouachitas which could see an inch or two of snow.

The precipitation will start off as a rain/snow mix near daybreak tomorrow morning. The rain/snow mix will continue off and on through the afternoon before coming to an end across the Ouachitas. A few sprinkles/flurries are possible through the afternoon north of I-40.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

February 25, 2010


The latest track of the low continues to be further South and West of the viewing area and that is making to snow chances in NE OK and NW even lower.  The southern part of the viewing area will still have the best chance for accumulating snow.  Here is a look at the latest snowfall forecast.

The way temperatures are setting up will allow the major accumulation to be on the grassy surfaces.  If the temperatures fall a few degrees then there will be a possibility for accumulation on the roads.  This is something that will have to be watched very closely and there is a high chance of changing this snow fall estimate later on today, so keep checking the weather blog for the latest updates.


Friday’s Winter Weather Update
February 24, 2010

This is a very tricky forecast; however, the GFS and the NAM have finally come on board with a similar placement with this next storm system.  I have posted the forecasted surface low’s track below.


This track will take the heaviest of the precipitation across the Ouachitas.  This path may change, but now the heaviest snow accumulations would be confined across SE OK and SW AR.  Fort Smith and the River Valley are in a tough location.  There may be spots south of Fort Smith that pick up over an inch of snow.  Northwest Arkansas will likely receive the least amount of snow with this current track.

I would assume a winter weather advisory will be issued along and south of I-40 for this event.  It’s important to note that temperatures at the surface will be warm enough to keep most of the roads clear.  The accumulation would be more for the grassy surfaces.

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Clear Sky Tonight….Take a Look at Space!
February 24, 2010

The Moon entered First Quarter on Sunday, Feb 21st, so it will be waxing gibbous all week, reaching Full Moon by Sunday, Feb 28th. It will be high in the sky by 8:00 PM on Monday evening, and will then be lower in the east each successive evening. Look for the Moon between Castor and Pollux, the twins of Gemini at 8:00 PM on the 24th

 By the 25th, the Moon passes within 5° of Mars, and by the 27th the bright nearly full Moon will be only 4° below Regulus, the front shoulder of Leo. Remember, the width of your index finger held at arm’s length is about 1.5°, so three fingers would be about 4.5°.


Looking East at 8:00 PM Feb 24th

Fiery Mars is past opposition now, so it won’t be as bright as it was last month, but it’s still a great target in a small telescope. Mars rides high in the sky this week, in a line below the twins of Gemini, about halfway between them and M44, the Beehive Cluster. Look for Mars in the eastern sky at 8:00 PM.

 Saturn will be rising in the East just before 8:00 PM on the 27th. You can catch Saturn’s largest moon, Titan at about the 1:30 position in a pair of binoculars or a small telescope anytime after 8:30 PM.  Remember that most telescopes either invert the image or mirror it, so you might have to look at the 7:30 or 10:30 position in your scope, unless you have an erect-image prism in the optical train.


Looking East at 8:00 PM, Feb 27th

The bright asteroid Vesta, is just past opposition and still at magnitude 6.1. Vesa continues its travels across the Sickle of Leo, as shown in the last image. You should be able to spot it in binoculars.

Thanks to Dave Grosvold from the Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society for this information.  You can learn more about the club by going to

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”