Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lunar Eclipse: KJRH viewer pics from December 21, 2010

NOTE: Click on all these pictures for larger, higher resolution images. The moon looks cool!

(ABOVE: Wow, just wow! Click on the picture for the high resolution details. Gerald Miller from Muskogee generously shared this picture of the moon during the lunar eclipse.)

My wife and I woke up at 2am on December 21 to view the lunar eclipse from our front yard. Looking straight up, the moon appeared as an orange dot nearly overhead. This was the first lunar eclipse on the Winter solstice in 456 years! A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth is perfectly aligned between the sun and the moon causing Earth to cast a shadow on the moon.

These pictures from KJRH viewers are what you missed if you slept.

(ABOVE: The beautiful mosaic was compiled by Mr. Miller. He took pictures every 10 minutes from 11:34pm to 4:01am)

(BELOW: Lonnie Iannazzo shows the stages of the eclipse. The orange tint on the moon is thought to be from the reflection of the sun's rays off of Earth.)

(BELOW: The full moon returned to "normal" as shown in this beautiful picture from Alison Stone of Bixby.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Images

Enjoy these pictures from our viewers and KJRH from November 2010. Enjoy!

The Sandhill Cranes against the November 9 sunset at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge in north central Oklahoma.

Paul Orosco grabbed his camera after hearing of a bald eagle enjoying a fall morning near Okmulgee.

The Sutton kids think that the background tree looks like a turkey! (or maybe a squirrel?) Credit the 2007 ice storm for the tree's unusual shape.

The Smith family says that their 6 year old Wesley the Bullmastiff patiently enjoys the Fall weather.

Virginia Craig from Jay took this picture of the pelicans at Grand Lake. The water ripples add a nice effect.

From KJRH. Safaris Sanctuary in Broken Arrow brought a joey for the 11am Midday news! Julie Chin and I pet the baby kangaroo.

That's me driving StormChaser 2 in the Claremore Veterans Day parade.

This was fun! The school children literally line the streets of downtown Claremore to honor Veterans Day.

Deana Silk, my KJRH 2NEWS Weekend Morning co-anchor is popular with the kids!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snake in our house... so grab the blower?!

(ABOVE: A huge rat snake climbs the gutter of our house. Where is Mr. Snake going?! )


It's not in my heart to kill a snake, but I also don't care for one to slither near our house!

I was quite surprised this past Sunday to find a huge snake sunning itself on the back porch. Snakes enjoy warmer weather, and the late afternoon sunshine provided cozy warmth-- up against our door! The dogs immediately spotted the creature and barked like crazy. Mr. Snake retreated and coiled behind the grill. I quickly got the dogs inside then wondered what to do next!

(BELOW: Josie and my leg. Our Westies alerted us of the snake in the backyard.)

After the dogs disappeared inside, Mr. Snake didn't waste time making a getaway. He quickly uncoiled from behind the barbecue grill and slithered along the side of the house.

(BELOW: The snake retreats behind the grill. Time to put on my snake catching boots!)

The snake unraveled to more than 3 feet long! I thought my new friend was leaving the yard when he changed directions and went straight up the house!

Mr. Snake curled around the rain gutter and slithered toward the roof. He found a small crack in the foundation, poked his head in and entered the house. The snake got in!!! Mr. Snake squeezed in between the top of the bricks and the roof. Wifey wasn't pleased!

(BELOW: The snake slithers up the rain gutter and disappeared into the house. A thin crack exists between bricks and roof. Apparently the small crack is big enough for a snake to live!)

The snake couldn't go anywhere from there as he trapped himself between the drywall and bricks. Unless he burrowed through drywall and wood he was trapped and couldn't get into the bedrooms. But we still wanted him gone!

(BELOW: John used a hair drier! He tried heating up the snake's hidey hole to force him out.)

Not knowing what to do next, Wifey called our friend John the snake expert. John rushed over with his snake catching tools. He tried several methods to get the the critter out, but Mr. Snake was too far back. We called it a night. Wifey didn't sleep to well that night!

(BELOW: Sure, why not try a leaf blower too! Not sure how to react if the snake blew out of the house...)

The next day temperatures warmed into the upper 70s. I frequently checked the backyard, but I couldn't find any signs of the snake. Maybe and hopefully he slithered away. Either way I sealed the crack in the bricks. The snake will never get back inside-- or he's trapped inside the bricks forever!

(BELOW: I sealed the crack above the bricks. If we smell dead snake soon then we know where he is...)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oops.... Bad Parking

(ABOVE: someone parked their Chevy in a bad spot. The tire is sitting on cables from a Channel 2 news truck.)

Long and weird hours are the norm working in TV. And sometimes our work days get longer due to the unexpected. On Election Day, Channel 2 photographer John Guthery parked the news truck as normal, and he stretched cables across the parking lot from the truck to the TV camera for a live shot.

Someone parked their SUV on the cables! John had to remain late after the live shot until the owner showed up to drive away. (I bet that was a fun chat!) You can't exactly leave a hundred thousand dollar live truck behind or cut the cables. John politely waited it out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Catching up... April 21, 2010 Storm Chase

(ABOVE: We didn't run into any memorable storms on 4/21/2010, but a pheasant ran into us.)

I haven't posted on as much since I've been using Facebook , so I'm getting caught up writing up chase days.

Here are a few pics from April 21, 2010. The storms which formed that day developed away from our chase target, so a poor pheasant became the most memorable part of the trip.

While driving highway speeds, the bird flew across the road and directly into the front of our vehicle. :(

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Forecast: Brown Grass

(ABOVE: My view walking through Ray Harrell park. Our Fall leaves aren't quite as vivid this year due to the prolonged dry weather.)

Your backyard usually turns brown this time of year as the daylight gradually disappears. But the lack of rain isn't helping. Some of our viewers are telling us of big cracks in their yards!

Our yearly rainfall is 15-25% below average across eastern Oklahoma. This Fall has been especially dry. Widespread heavy rain is not expected anytime soon.

The long range outlook appears drier than norm for the rest of the Fall.

(BELOW: This is a drought map. The soil moisture is quite low, especially in southeastern OK. Each windy, low humidity day will bring the entire state a high fire danger. )

(BELOW: Precipitation outlook for Fall through early Winter. More dry weather is expected from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Awesome and fun pics from KJRH viewers

(ABOVE: Beautiful! Here's the view of downtown Tulsa on a foggy morning as photographed by Stephanie Farris from St. John Medical Center.)

We receive lots of awesome pictures from our viewers. Our weather staff looks at all of them, and we show a bunch of them on the news. In addition to beautiful landscapes and weather pics as seen above I like to show pics that make you smile! See below.... Here's a few from the past week:

(BELOW:Lana says that this fox is a "frequent visitor" in Claremore!)

(BELOW: Paul Orosco wonders if Tiger Woods has this same problem?)

(ABOVE: Karla Fitzgerald took a picture of a cute little tree frog when....)
(BELOW: ... the frog wanted to meet Karla!!)

Thanks for watching and keep 'em coming! Send your pictures to

Monday, September 6, 2010

Zzzzzzz.... at work. Oops!

(Sometimes I sneak in a nap at work in the weather office. Especially during "Employee of the Month" meetings...)

I squirm in meetings-- I skip them when I can get away with it.

KJRH management called a boring meeting last Thursday morning, but I had more important things to do: sleep at work. So I avoided the meeting and turned out the lights in the weather office for a nap. I wanted to sleep between the morning and midday news. As I got to work that day at 3am while going to bed the night before at midnight, I thought I could splat on the couch for about 30 minutes.

My boss called my cell phone. I pretended to be awake when I answered. He needed me to attend the stupid meeting. So wearing the street clothes which I had changed in to for my nap: shirt, shorts and no socks or shoes, I walked into the meeting barefoot.

The meeting? Julie Chin and I won for August as voted on by our co-workers. Here is my "Employee of the Month" trophy.

So-- I basically was trying to sleep through my own meeting...makes for a good story! :)

(BELOW: My mother will make a bigger deal about the EOM award than I ever will. So Mom, this pic is for you!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Remembering Kyle Foulks 1935-2010

(ABOVE: From 2008. Julie Chin, Kyle Foulks and myself at Cleveland HS. Mr. Foulks lobbied for KJRH to present a Weather Safety Tour show in his hometown. It worked! This pic was taken after a live broadcast. )

The KJRH weather team recently lost a weather photographer. I lost a friend.

75 year old Kyle Foulks died this month in Cleveland, OK. You might remember his name as we showed his weather pictures on TV.

I well remember one of his last images from this past Winter: an icy river flow of the Arkansas River where the water actually froze near Cleveland!

Kyle and I got to know each other over the years. I discovered that we both loved bicycling.

After his career in the US Navy he worked with cycling race teams and Cannondale bicycles in California. He also spoke of the joy of simply riding his bike to work-- I can imagine him cruising the beach in style!

His death was a shock to us at KJRH. Personally, I felt guilty that I didn't know he was in poor health.

After his military funeral, his widow and son John invited me to dinner and her house. I actually hadn't met her before, but she treated me like I was family. 

She hugged me and told me that I was one of Kyle's favorite meteorologists. I was beyond flattered!

She also added that the family wanted to give me something of his. My eyes filled with water.

I followed his wife to their home after the funeral and lunch. Their home is beautiful house overlooking the country side on the edge of town. An American flag hung on a pole in the front yard.

I walked up the drive way. Kyle's widow and John stood in front of the garage. They told me that Kyle had a wish, something he wanted to give me.

I certainly wasn't expecting anything-- maybe some of his favorite weather pictures if I had to guess!

I was speechless when they opened the garage door.

(ABOVE: At the family's request, I followed them to their home after the funeral. They presented me Kyle's custom bicycle.)

Kyle's top-of-the-line Cannondale cruiser bicycle was parked in front of me. (The original registration decals from California are still on the bike!)

John said that his father wanted to "fix up his bike and present it to George!" before he died.

Kyle planned on bringing the bike to KJRH, but his health denied him the chance. So the family honored his wish and presented me with it.

This is the probably the most emotional moment I've had in my 15 year TV career. Thank you Kyle. I hear your voice. I miss you, friend.

Friday, July 9, 2010

West Tulsa: Home of World's Largest Cactus

Ok, so it may not be the world's largest, but this Agave Cactus is probably the tallest in this part of the country!

Here's the story: The Applebee family of West Tulsa bought a small cactus about 20 years ago.

They were travelling through Arizona, and wanted a small, desert plant. They purchased a tiny cactus, and the salesmen told them it would be a nice plant for the back porch.

But the cactus had other ideas! It outgrew all the pots and finally needed to be replanted in the backyard. Mr. George Applebee kept the cactus alive during the Winter by installing heaters around it.

(LEFT: The cactus leaves are about 8 feet tall. The single stalk really does resemble asparagus!)

For years the cactus looked simply like a thorny, leafy garden fern.

Then this Spring, a single stalk sprouted straight upward. It grew at a rate of one foot per day for 3 weeks!

Legend has it that the asparagus-like looking stalk grows once every 100 years. This stalk then blooms. The leafy blooms contain the seedlings for future generations of new plants. The parent cactus then dies.

The Applebee family contacted KJRH to tell us their story. This wouldn't make the headlines of the evening news, but I thought it worthy of TV time. So I grabbed the video camera myself and shot a one minute story.

One month after the story aired on KJRH, I rode my bicycle to their home. The plant is now blooming as the cactus leaves slowly wither.

Mrs. Applebee (who told me she is 82 years old) chuckled to me, "At our age, we're glad to see it's blooming now!"

(RIGHT: a 6 foot tall Weatherman bicycled out to visit the 30 foot tall bloom. This picture was taken one month after the top two pictures.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Small town sarcasm in Hectorville

(ABOVE: Small town humor. Apparently, the county tore up the paved road and never rebuilt it. The locals aren't amused...)

Hectorville is a tiny town about 20 miles south of Tulsa. Most Oklahomans haven't visited or vacationed there. In fact you may never have heard of it as the state feels that Hectorville isn't worthy of a highway.

Apparently it isn't worthy of paved county roads either. The unofficial Hectorville sign pictured above was erected by frustrated local residents. Okmulgee county officials tore up the old paved road so that an improved road could be built.

But it hasn't happened. A dusty, gravel and dirt road replaced the asphalt surface on the Okmulgee county side of the community. Cyclists normally ride into Hectorville from the north, usually from the Bixby/Jenks/South Tulsa area. Those roads are paved.

For us, the sign provides a chuckle and smile!

(ABOVE: I stole this map from the KJRH Vipir 2 database... Can you find Hectorville?)

(BELOW: The bicycling community appreciates Hectorville. Its air conditioned country store provides a popular stop during the heat.

Friday, July 2, 2010

from Grove, OK: a "League of Their Own"

(ABOVE: Local resident Gina "Chirpey" Casey and her sister Alice played professional baseball in the 1940s.)

Grove, OK is probably best known for being a home for Grand Lake and the Cherokee Queen. It's also the home of Gina "Chirpey" Casey. I met her when I recently spoke to the Hospital Auxiliary at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College.

"Chirpey" and her sister played professional women's baseball during the 1940s and early 1950s. The well-known movie, "A League of their Own" starring Gena Davis and Rosie O'Donnell was based on their story.

"Chirpey" was quite chirpy! She easily spoke about her interesting baseball career. Today, she remains an associate member of the All-American Girls Pro Baseball League. She also gave me the baseball cards you see here. They are autographed!

(BELOW: Here's the back of the baseball cards. Hometown of Grove, OK is listed.)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cheapest Fill Up?

(ABOVE: I took this picture today. It appears someone really did purchase only enough gasoline to mow part of their patio yard.)

Cash or Credit?!

I gassed up the car today, and this is what I saw when I stopped to refuel. This transaction was on the pump from the customer before me.

I know we've all put in just a few dollars worth before, but only 35 cents of gas? Really? Is that worth stopping?

Let's see, basic math here: if the driver gets 20mpg, then he can now drive 2.72 miles from the purchase of 0.136 gallons of gasoline. That should be good enough to make it to the next gas station up the street.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Looking good for TV

(ABOVE: This is what I saw looking straight down as I got ready for the Sunday 10pm news.)

Hey, they match my black suit pants! Funny thing: our Sunday news anchor guy, Jason Grubbs, was also wearing flip flops! There's a reason you only see us from the waist up...