New Publication on Flood Hazard Mitigation in Tulsa, Oklahoma | 6.29.2021

The northeastern Oklahoma city of Tulsa was one of the most flood-prone cities in the nation in the 1970’s. Now, Tulsa is known for its success in mitigating flood hazards. SCIPP researchers have published a study in Natural Hazards Review that examines Tulsa’s progression toward effective flood hazard mitigation. Jazz on Tulsa Time: The Remarkable Story of the Network of Flood Mitigation Champions behind the Tulsa Turnaround addresses two questions: First, does Tulsa’s nationally acclaimed model local hazard mitigation effort fit what the research points to as the standard model of hazard mitigation? Second, how have the characteristics and roles of local champions and the relationships between them shaped Tulsa’s successes?

Using a case study approach, University of Kansas Associate Professor Ward Lyles, University of Kansas Graduate Student Penn Pennel, and SCIPP Deputy Director Rachel Riley, collected primary documents, conducted and transcribed interviews, and made site visits to Tulsa. Their analysis found that Tulsa’s hazard mitigation effort shared many of the principal features of the standard model of hazard mitigation, thus confirming its importance. Additionally, analysis of the second research question gave insight into how local champions shaped the network of mitigation advocates in Tulsa. These findings highlighted the importance of following the standard model for hazard mitigation, as well as promoting a diverse group of stakeholders with regard to their professional roles, personal characteristics, and relationships, in order to cultivate the conditions for local champions of hazard mitigation to succeed.

The study offers four recommendations for practitioners and policy makers who are interested in replicating Tulsa’s successes in other locations: 1) Foster and sustain a team of champions, 2) Make room for multiple models of leadership, 3) Acknowledge the personal sacrifices that can arise for a mitigation champion, and 4) Approach hazard mitigation primarily as a community planning issue, not an emergency management function.

The full manuscript is available here.

Tulsa’s hazard mitigation network and champions over four periods of time.
Tulsa’s hazard mitigation network and champions over four periods of time.

Some Data Tools Have New URLs | 6.23.2021

Due to the ongoing change in IT infrastructure, some tools have new URLs and must be accessed through the new links on the Data Tools page.

The following tools have updated URLs and can be viewed on the Data Tools page or by clicking on the following links:

Southern U.S. Drought Tool

Average Monthly Temperature and Precipitation Tool

Historical Climate Trends Tool

Climograph Tool

SURGEDAT Storm Surge Tools

Water Reservoir Data Visualization Tool

IT Change Causing Tools to Malfunction | 6.1.2021

An unanticipated change in IT infrastructure is causing the SCIPP data tools that are hosted at the Southern Regional Climate Center to malfunction. We are working to resolve this matter as soon as we can. We thank you in advance for your patience.

SCIPP Research Associate Creates Dashboard Presenting Local Historical Temperature Trends in Texas | 5.20.2021

SCIPP Research Associate Simone Speizer, in collaboration with Texas Sea Grant, has created a tool that shows historical trends in temperatures for locations across the state of Texas. The Texas Temperature Trends Dashboard presents trends in extreme heat, extreme cold, warm nights, heating and cooling degree days, seasonal average temperatures, seasonal extreme temperatures, and yearly average temperatures from 1970-2019 for 75 stations (point locations) in Texas. The graphs show both individual data points for each year and overall trend lines, and they can be downloaded as images. The dashboard also includes a link to a fact sheet discussing the temperature indicators shown in the tool and their importance.

While other resources exist that present regional or national trends in temperatures, few tools offer such information on a local level. This dashboard helps to fill that gap by providing location-specific information about changes in temperature in the last 50 years. By incorporating trends in indicators such as extreme heat and warm nights to data of overall temperature trends, the dashboard delivers insight into changes in heat that can bring public health and economic ramifications to communities. Other indicators, such as heating and cooling degree days, are relevant to analyses of energy use and emissions.

Access the dashboard directly here or through the Data Tools page.

Extreme Heat Days Per Year (1970-2019) at the Houston Intercontinental Airport Station.
Extreme Heat Days Per Year (1970-2019) at the Houston Intercontinental Airport Station.

February 2021 Extreme Cold Event Summary | 4.28.2021

SCIPP has produced a summary of the winter weather event from February 2021 that greatly impacted the south central U.S. It was the coldest event to occur in the SCIPP region in over 30 years, and the prolonged extreme cold coupled with wintry precipitation caused numerous waterline breaks, power outages, and nearly 200 fatalities, amongst other impacts. The summary was produced by SCIPP Climate Assessment Specialist Darrian Bertrand and SCIPP Research Associate Simone Speizer.

February 2021: Extreme Cold, Snow, and Ice in the South Central U.S. is a 30-page document that begins with information about the weather pattern and describes records that were broken, the context of the event compared to climatology, and past historic events. The second half of the document describes impacts to various sectors including energy, water, health, infrastructure, the economy, the environment, and society. Examples of hazard mitigation successes in the region are also provided to encourage stakeholders to reduce their vulnerability for future extreme cold events, especially in the energy sector. These distinct sections allow for easy navigation through the document.

To help meet stakeholder needs, this summary was written for a general audience with the goal of helping individuals compare the south central U.S. February 2021 extreme cold event to past events.

Cover page of the document.
Cover page of the document.