The National Weather Service forecast office in Norman and the Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center (ABRFC) in Tulsa, will discontinue the river forecast point on the Cimarron River near Okeene, Okla., effective August 20, 2014.
Due to its remote location and lack of funding for a telemetered gage, only sporadic river stage readings are available during flood events for the Okeene forecast point. Tape-down measurements have been made by the Kingfisher County Emergency Manager upon request in the past. The emergency manager must drive about 40 miles one way from the city of Kingfisher to take a measurement from the OK State Highway 51 Bridge near Okeene. Thus, due to the time-consuming nature of this process, very few measurements are made during a flood event.
In addition, a new river forecast point will be established on the Cimarron River near Ames, Okla., effective August 20, 2014. This site is located about 10 miles upstream from the current river forecast point near Okeene. The new Ames gage site provides constant, telemetered river stage data to the forecast office and the ABRFC, and has roughly the same representative reach as the Okeene location. The addition of this telemetered river gage site will help the NWS to provide enhanced warning services for residents living along the Cimarron River in Major and Kingfisher Counties, and thus, the river forecast point near Okeene is no longer needed.
Other river forecast services in the Cimarron River drainage area that are supported by the Norman forecast office and the river forecast center include upstream river stage forecast points near Buffalo and Waynoka, and downstream forecast points near Dover, Guthrie, and Perkins, Okla.
The Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center prepares river stage forecasts for the drainage area of the Arkansas River above Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and the drainage area of the Red River above Fulton, Arkansas. Covering approximately 208,000 square miles, the forecast center's area of responsibility includes all of Oklahoma, and portions of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico.
The Norman office provides all the weather services for 48 counties in the western two-thirds of Oklahoma (excluding the Oklahoma panhandle), and eight counties in western north Texas. The office collects meteorological data, prepares and disseminates weather forecasts, river and flood forecasts and warnings; and, issues severe weather watches and warnings to the public. Additional information is available at http://www.weather.gov/norman or http://www.weather.gov/abrfc.