The Norman Transcript

State/Region

September 3, 2013

Experts: Cooler weather, more rain has resulted in more snakebites

OKLAHOMA CITY — Labor Day brings what many consider the official end of the summer season, one that has been “really odd,” according to a state climatologist because of cooler temperatures and more rain than usual in many areas of the state.

The weather is also considered by some experts to, indirectly, have resulted in more snakebites thus far in 2013.

“Compared to the last couple of years it’s been extremely unusual,” associate state climatologist Gary McManus said. “It’s really odd.”

McManus noted that high temperatures topped out in the mid-80s during early July, instead of near or above 100 degrees and that consistent rainfall that normally ends in June continued through mid-August, easing drought conditions in all but far southwestern Oklahoma and the Panhandle.

“That rain in mid-July to mid-August really saved us from a disaster,” McManus said. “If we hadn’t gotten that rainfall we’d be in a flash drought situation” a condition in which intense drought develops quickly, much like a flash flood.

Dr. Bill Battle, medical director of the Oklahoma Poison Control Center, and entomologist Rick Grantham at Oklahoma State University both believe the milder weather has resulted in more people being bitten by snakes.

The cooler weather leads to more insects, which brings out more frogs that eat the insects, and in turn there are more snakes, which enjoy dining on frogs, and the weather has also brought more people outdoors.

“People are out more because it’s cooler, it’s wetter, it’s nice outside. When people go out more, they come into more intimate contact with snakes,” Grantham said. “When it’s 110 degrees outside, people stay inside under the air conditioning.”

There were 142 snakebites reported between January and the first week of August, according to the poison control center’s website. Last year, 126 snake bites were reported during the same time period, and there were 122 bites in 2011.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Oklahoma Senate approves limits on abortion drug

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to further restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs in Oklahoma in a bill written in direct response to a recent state Supreme Court decision....

    April 16, 2014

  • March Oklahoma revenue misses mark by 9.1 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s finance secretary says collections by the general revenue fund fell 9.1 percent below the official estimate in March....

    April 16, 2014

  • University of Tulsa researchers find new species

    TULSA — A salamander first discovered by a University of Tulsa doctoral student in 2011 is being hailed as a new species in an international journal for animal taxonomy....

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma House passes state trooper pay raise bill

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could get their first pay raise in seven years under a plan given final legislative approval Tuesday, though it remains unclear whether money will be available in the overall state budget to ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Barresi decries plan to eliminate Okla. tests

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi is raising concern about a bill before the Legislature that would eliminate state testing in social studies and geography....

    April 16, 2014

  • State-mandated minimum wage draws ire across state

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Organizers seeking a higher minimum wage in Oklahoma are upset with Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to sign a bill that prohibits cities in the state from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma’s 8-month streak without tornado falls

    TULSA — After Oklahoma’s eight-month streak without a tornado was snapped this weekend by a pair of suspected twisters, the state’s wild weather jag continued into Monday, with blowing snow from the Panhandle to Tulsa and freezing ...

    April 15, 2014

  • 4 now charged in college player’s death

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A fourth person was charged Monday in the death of an Australian baseball player who was fatally shot as he jogged in a southern Oklahoma neighborhood last summer....

    April 15, 2014

  • Fallin signs minimum wage increase ban

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Cities across Oklahoma are now prohibited from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day requirements under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Mary Fallin....

    April 15, 2014

  • Opponents carve anti-pipeline message

    NELIGH, Neb. — Opponents of a proposed pipeline that would carry oil from Canada south to the Gulf Coast have stamped a massive message of resistance into a Nebraska field that is in the project’s path....

    April 14, 2014