NORMAN — New Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts had one of the most prolific days in Sooners history, amassing more than 500 yards of offense and six touchdowns, as OU knocked off Houston 49-31 on Sunday in both teams’ season opener.
Hurts, a transfer from Alabama, started at quarterback with the difficult task of following back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners and NFL first-round picks in Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield.
He likely put himself immediately in this year’s Heisman conversation by completing 20-of-23 passes for 332 yards and rushing for 176 yards on 16 carries.
It was the best total yardage debut for an OU player in school history, beating Mayfield’s 396 against Akron in 2015.
The OU defense was under the direction of first-year coordinator Alex Grinch, who was brought in to bring life to a unit that was historically bad in 2018. The Sooners held Houston to 24 yards on its first four series, but allowed back-to-back 75-yard plus touchdown drives in the second half to come back to Earth.
McLEAN’S TOWN CAY, Bahamas — Hurricane Dorian struck the northern Bahamas as a catastrophic Category 5 storm Sunday, its record 185 mph winds ripping off roofs, overturning cars and tearing down power lines as hundreds hunkered down in schools, churches and shelters.
Dorian slammed into Elbow Cay in Abaco island at 12:40 p.m., and then made a second landfall near Marsh Harbour at 2 p.m., after authorities made last-minute pleas for those in low-lying areas to evacuate.
“It’s devastating,” said Joy Jibrilu, director general of the Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism and Aviation. “There has been huge damage to property and infrastructure. Luckily, no loss of life reported.”
The hurricane was approaching the eastern end of Grand Bahama island in the evening, forecasters said.
With its maximum sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts up to 220 mph, Dorian tied the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever to come ashore, equaling the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, before the storms were named.
There were indications that the slow-moving Dorian would veer sharply northeastward after passing the Bahamas and track up the U.S. Southeastern seaboard. But authorities warned that even if its core did not make U.S. landfall, the potent storm would likely hammer the coast with powerful winds and heavy surf.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation of the entire coast of the state amid Dorian’s threat. The order, which covers about 830,000 people, goes into effect at noon Monday, when state troopers will begin reversing lanes so they all head inland on major coastal highways.
“We can’t make everybody happy,” McMaster said. “But we believe we can keep everyone alive.”
Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, later ordered mandatory evacuations of that state’s Atlantic coast, also starting at midday Monday.
Authorities in Florida also ordered mandatory evacuations in some vulnerable coastal areas.
More than 600 Labor Day flights in the U.S. had been canceled as of Sunday afternoon, many of them in Florida as Dorian barreled toward the state’s coast.
The only recorded storm that was more powerful was Hurricane Allen in 1980, with 190 mph winds. That storm did not make landfall at that strength.
“Catastrophic conditions” were reported in Abaco, with a storm surge of 18-23 feet, and Dorian was expected to cross Grand Bahama later in the day “with all its fury,” the center said. The hurricane was moving to the west at 5 mph.
In the northern stretches of the archipelago, hotels closed, residents boarded up homes and officials hired boats to move people to bigger islands.
Video that Jibrilu and government spokesman Kevin Harris said was sent by Abaco residents showed homes missing parts of their roofs, downed power lines and smashed and overturned cars. One showed floodwaters rushing through the streets of an unidentified town at nearly the height of a car roof.
In some parts of Abaco, “you cannot tell the difference as to the beginning of the street versus where the ocean begins,” said Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.
According to the Nassau Guardian, he called it “probably the most sad and worst day of my life to address the Bahamian people.”
Earlier, Minnis had warned that anyone who did not evacuate was “in extreme danger and can expect a catastrophic consequence.”
The government opened 14 shelters across the Bahamas. Dozens ignored evacuation orders, officials said.
“The end could be fatal,” said Samuel Butler, assistant police commissioner. “We ask you, we beg you, we plead with you to get to a place of safety.”
Bahamas radio station ZNS Bahamas reported a mother and child in Grand Bahama called to say they were sheltering in a closet and seeking help from police.
Silbert Mills, owner of the Bahamas Christian Network, said trees and power lines were torn down in Abaco.
“The winds are howling like we’ve never, ever experienced before,” said Mills, 59, who planned to ride out the hurricane with his family in the concrete home he built 41 years ago in central Abaco.
Earlier Saturday, skiffs shuttled between outlying fishing villages and McLean’s Town, a settlement of a few dozen homes at the eastern end of Grand Bahama island, about 150 miles from Florida’s Atlantic coast. Most came from Sweetings Cay.
“They said evacuate, you have to evacuate,” said Margaret Bassett, a ferry boat driver for the Deep Water Cay resort.
But Jack Pittard, a 76-year-old American who has visited the Bahamas for 40 years, decided to ride out the storm — his first hurricane — in Abaco.
He said he battened down his house to spend the storm in a nearby duplex. He noted the ocean is quite deep near where he was staying, and there is a cay that provides protection.
A short video from Pittard about 2:30 p.m. showed winds shaking his home and ripping off its siding.
Over two or three days, the hurricane could dump as much as 4 feet of rain, in addition to the winds and storm surge, said private meteorologist Ryan Maue.
Harris, the government spokesman, said Dorian could affect 73,000 residents and 21,000 homes. Authorities closed airports for Abaco, Grand Bahama and Bimini, but Lynden Pindling International Airport in the capital of Nassau stayed open.
The archipelago is no stranger to hurricanes. Homes are required to have metal reinforcements for roof beams to withstand winds into the upper limits of a Category 4 hurricane, and compliance is generally tight for those who can afford it. Risks are higher in poorer neighborhoods, with wooden homes in low-lying areas.
After the Bahamas, the slow-crawling storm was forecast to turn sharply and skirt toward the U.S. coast, staying just off Florida and Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday and then buffeting South Carolina and North Carolina on Thursday.
The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for Florida’s East Coast from Deerfield Beach north to the Volusia and Brevard county line. The same area was put under a storm surge watch. Lake Okeechobee was under a tropical storm watch.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned the state’s densely populated Atlantic coast: “We’re not out of the woods yet.”
He suspended tolls on the Florida Turnpike and other roads, including Alligator Alley, from Fort Lauderdale to Naples, to keep traffic flowing for evacuees.
DeSantis noted some forecast models still bring Dorian close to or even onto the Florida peninsula.
“That could produce life-threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds,” DeSantis said. “That cone of uncertainty still includes a lot of areas on the east coast of Florida and even into central and north Florida, so we are staying prepared and remaining vigilant.”
Mandatory evacuation orders for low-lying and flood-prone areas and mobile homes were in effect starting either Sunday or Monday from Palm Beach County north to at least the Daytona Beach area, and some counties to the north issued voluntary evacuation notices. Weekend traffic was light in Florida despite those orders, unlike during the chaotic run-up to Hurricane Irma in 2017 when the unusually broad storm menaced the entire state.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Dorian is forecast to be 40 to 50 miles off the Florida with hurricane-force wind speeds extending about 35 miles to the west.
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham urged residents not to bet on safety just because the specific forecast track has the storm just a bit offshore. Don’t focus on the track, he said, but the larger cone of possibility that includes landfall.
Complicating matters is that with every new forecast, “we keep nudging (Dorian’s track) a little bit to the left” which is closer to the Florida coast, Graham said.
Dorian is a powerful but small storm with hurricane force winds Sunday only extending 29 miles to the west, but they are expected to grow a bit. That makes forecasting its path delicate and difficult. President Donald Trump already declared a state of emergency and was briefed about what he called a “monstrous” storm.
“We don’t know where it’s going to hit but we have an idea, probably a little bit different than the original course,” Trump said. “But it can change its course again and it can go back more toward Florida.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the state could see heavy rain, winds and floods.
The hurricane upended some Labor Day holiday weekend plans in the U.S.: Major airlines allowed travelers to change reservations without fees, big cruise lines rerouted their ships and Cumberland Island National Seashore off Georgia closed to visitors. Disney World and Orlando’s other resorts held off announcing any closings.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Tulsa’s Great Raft Race will commandeer the Arkansas River with its flotilla of oddball vessels Monday. Here are some things you need to know if you’re heading out to join the fun.
The annual float trip down the Arkansas River begins with put in at 7 a.m. Monday at Sand Springs Case Community Park, 2500 S. River City Park Road. Waves will be launched every 30 minutes starting at 8 a.m.
The race ends at the River West Festival Park, 2105 S. Jackson Ave.
Float time down the river can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours.
Case Community Park, River West Festival Park or anywhere along the River Parks trails. Parking is free at Case Community Park and $10 in the lot across from River West.
Open 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at River West Festival Park. It features kids inflatables, a cardboard regatta, sand castle exhibition, food trucks and award presentations.
For more information, visit tulsaraftrace.com.
When forecasters talk about severe weather season in Oklahoma, most people know they’re talking about spring.
But is there a second severe weather season in the fall?
The short answer, according to experts: Sometimes.
“There is definitely a secondary peak in severe storm occurrence in the fall, though there typically is considerable year-to-year variability that makes identifying trends difficult,” said Bill Bunting, chief of forecast operations for the Storm Prediction Center in Norman.
The center issues tornado and severe thunderstorm watches for the entire country and also issues severe weather outlooks several times a day.
“I think there is something to this quote ‘secondary’ season even though it doesn’t pop out in the numbers,” said Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman.
“Anytime you have a transition between seasons ... the potential is there,” he said.
According to the weather service’s Oklahoma tornado statistics dating from 1950 to 2018, the highest number of tornadoes by far occur in April, May and June.
While the numbers vary each year, more tornadoes have occurred in September and October between 1950 and 2018 in Oklahoma than any other month except for March, April, May and June.
Last year, there were 12 tornadoes in October, nearly half as many as the highest total of 23 in May.
In 1998, there were 27 tornadoes in the state in October, the most of any month that year and the most ever recorded in that month.
But in many years, there have been no tornadoes in the state in September and/or October, according to the records.
Of the state’s top 10 deadliest tornadoes, only one did not occur in April, May or June. That storm on Nov. 19, 1930, was rated an F4 and killed 23 people while injuring 150, tearing through the Oklahoma City suburb of Bethany.
Steve Piltz, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Tulsa, said an uptick in severe weather in the fall is due to the return of cold fronts moving through the region.
He also said the secondary fall severe weather season is more evident by looking at hail and wind damage events, rather than just tornadoes.
Smith said fall severe weather events have the same dynamics as spring severe weather.
“Some of the extremes may not be there, but all you need is four ingredients to come together,” he said: Moisture, instability, lift and wind shear — a difference in wind speed or direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere.
“Our message is always, ‘It doesn’t matter the time of year. Storms don’t have a calendar, they don’t have a clock.’ ”
Piltz said the yearly difference of a severe to mild secondary severe weather season in the fall depends on global conditions, such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation and other factors.
“If (conditions) line up over your area, that makes the odds better,” he said.
Last Monday, a severe weather outbreak resulted in at least two reports of tornadoes, and dozens of reports of hail and wind damage.
The outbreak included a tornado with a preliminary rating of EF1 that touched down near Seward in Logan County, the weather service in Norman said.
“I hope August is not an indication of what October might be,” Smith said.
Meanwhile, with Hurricane Dorian forecast to buzz the east coast of Florida and the Carolinas within the coming days, September also marks the peak of hurricanes and tropical storms striking the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
August and October rank second and third in the number of hurricanes and tropical storms hitting the U.S., respectively.
Smith said that such systems usually do not affect severe weather patterns in Oklahoma and the south-central U.S., unless they move directly over the area.
“For it to have an appreciable impact on Oklahoma weather, it has to come over us,” he said.
Take a peek inside the National Weather Center in Norman.