Texomans Ain't Experiencing Martha and the Vandella's Heat Wave this August 2023

Can you believe Martha Reeves and the Vandellas released that song 60 years ago on the Motown record label in 1963? What a class act these ladies portrayed! Even though Martha’s Heat Wave told a whole different story line than the heat wave we are suffering through now, some of her lyrics ring true about our heat wave this summer. We have to stay safe folks, and the unincorporated areas on Lake Texoma are the most vulnerable. 

Due to copyright restrictions, we can only publish tiny excerpts of copyrighted material limited to a few sentences for educational purposes. I believe you can see what I mean in these lyric excerpts from Martha Reeves' Heat Wave: 

“Just like a heatwave, 

Burning in my heart,

Can’t keep from crying, 

It’s tearing me apart…”

“…I can’t explain it,

Don’t understand it,

I ain’t never felt like this before…”

Well, Martha’s lyrics are true for me and have everything to do with the weather, not infatuation, right now. I heard about the Texas heat wave of 1980, but I was in living in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park, and also in Cat City, California, that year. We had swamp coolers that do not cool in humid climates. I was happy I was not in Texas in 1981 as I talked to my friends back home, and California was still a state that adhered to the U.S. Constitution back then. 

It was SO HOT in the deserts of the Western U.S., but we did not suffer like we do in Texas and Oklahoma in Texomaland when we have to survive a heat wave. Safety is the primary concern for the elderly, young children, and fur babies. Because it is so hot plus humid, why people are so irritable is understandable. Grayson County just added itself to the Texoma county “burn ban” list. 

From the National Weather Service, August 16, 2023: 

“Dangerous heat is expected to shift from the Northwest U.S., to the Central and Southeast U.S. later this week into the weekend. Fire weather concerns, including dry thunderstorm potential, remain in place for parts of the Northwestern U.S. Showers and thunderstorms may produce brief, heavy downpours and flooding in the Southwest.”

So, it is not only Texomaland. We certainly have partners in our suffering all over the U.S. with the weather. On August 8, 2023, the U.S. Drought Center reported that parts of Texomaland entered the D2 stage of drought, and I received an email warning from my water company that we had entered the D2 stage that same day. 

Texomaland Water Shortages and Burn Bans 


The D2 drought stage means we are experiencing a severe drought. As I ran around the western end of Lake Texoma on the Texas and Oklahoma sides today, some people told me that water pressures are low where they live. I received a boil-water-notice last week during that heat wave. Please make sure that you can get notifications from your water company about their boil-water-notices in Texomaland. 

Water is our most vital resource when experiencing extreme heat waves. Humans can drink all the commercial electrolyte drink products they like, and those are fine, but clean drinking water is the best remedy, inside and out of the body, during a heat wave. If you feel thirsty, it is too late. In heat waves, try to drink half of your pounds in weight in ounces of water throughout the day.

For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, try to drink at least 60 ounces of water during the day, but more is much better, etc. Alcohol is dehydrating. If you are imbibing during a heat wave, especially on the beach or in the lake, drink water in between your beers, wine, or liquor. This is so crucial for your health. You will feel better too! 

Burn Bans

If you live in a county with a burn ban, please take it seriously. Our next section comes straight from Texas-Open-Burning-Rules-and-Regulations.pdf from https://agrilife.org/texasaglaw/. Looking at the Texas county burn ban map, it appears that 75% of Texas counties have issued a burn ban to date this summer, give or take a few counties.

Next, we will move on up north for information on burn bans in Oklahoma. Only four Southwestern Oklahoma counties have a current burn ban as of August 14, 2023, but not Oklahoma counties in Texomaland. A burn ban is designed to protect lives and property, and the regulations mean you cannot burn the following materials or anything outside during the burn ban. It is always wise to know the law about what you can legally open burn outside without a burn ban. 

Texas Burn Ban Regulations

“Open burning can be an efficient method of waste disposal. However, burning is also an extremely hazardous practice that should be performed carefully. Texas laws and administrative regulations govern open burning—including open burning for agricultural purposes.”

General Rules – Texas Statutes (abbreviated version)

The Texas Health & Safety Code (§382.018) gives the Texas Commission on Environmental Health and Quality (TCEQ) the authority to promulgate burning rules, within some defined parameters. It directs the commission to authorize the burning of “trees, brush, grass, leaves, branch trimmings, or other plant growth” as waste, provided that this burning occurs on land where the waste was generated, and the burn is done by the owner of the property or someone authorized to do so by the owner (Tex. Health & Safety Code §§382.018(b)(1&2)). This does not mean that only these items may be burned, it just means that the commission cannot prohibit these items from being burned.

Oklahoma Burn Ban Regulations

The following comes straight from https://ag.ok.gov/burn-ban-faq/ (abbreviated version):

What Is the County Commissioners Notification Process? 

Notice of a burn ban resolution shall be submitted to: 

Forestry Division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry via email at [email protected]. Faxed copies will not be accepted. Resolutions received by 4:00 PM will be posted on the Oklahoma Forestry Services website the same day. All notices received after 4:00 will be posted the following day. 

County Commissioners must also notify all local news media, local law enforcement officials, and the state headquarters of the Department of Public Safety, the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department and the Department of Wildlife Conservation on the day of passage of the resolution. 

Who Is Responsible To Enforce Burn Bans?

Any law enforcement officer in the state may enforce both County-issued and/or Governor-issued burn bans.

From: https://www.deq.ok.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/OpenBurningAndYou.pdf

Is open burning prohibited? Open burning of refuse and combustible materials is prohibited unless conducted in accordance with DEQ rules. Open burning of tires is strictly prohibited. Additionally, combustible material may not be transported to, or accepted at, any property for open burning other than where it was generated, except as stated in number nine under “Is open burning permissible…” Examples of prohibited open burning include: 

• Burning your household trash when you have trash collection service available. 

• Burning tires. 

• Burning during a burn ban declared by the Governor or local government official. 

• Burning when an Ozone Alert or Particulate Matter Alert is declared for the county in which the burn is to be conducted. DEQ’s website, www.deq.ok.gov, will display a notification banner near the top of the page on Ozone/PM Alert days. 

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Lake Texoma Weather Forecast



Hi: 101

Tuesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 81


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 92

Wednesday Night

Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 75


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 88

Thursday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 72


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 88

Friday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 72

Lake Texoma Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 7/16: 618.88 (+1.88)

Lake Texoma

Fishing Report from TPWD (Jul. 10)

GOOD. Water stained; 75 degrees; 1.96 feet above pool. Striped bass fishing is great using live bait, slabs or topwaters on the right day. The weather should fire them up this week, watch for birds bouncing around the banks and hovering over schooling fish in deep water along river channels and main lake ledges. Bass fishing is slow using top waters early along the bluffs and using electronics to fish brush piles in coves 10-20 feet of water. Slow and shrink your approach to match the hatch and the heat. Crappie fishing is good jigging brush piles using electronics in the little mineral arm of the lake and near docks. 12-15 feet of water finding structure and roaming fish on chartreuse and black jigs. Catfishing is good seeing channels coming off baited holes and punch bait in 15-25 feet of water. Blue catfish are roaming the deep water in 40-50 feet of water eating cut shad. Fish the rocks and deep flats. Report by Jacob Orr, Guaranteed Guide Service Lake Texoma. Stripers are excellent on topwaters, and the slab bite has really kicked off landing the larger fish. Live bait bite has slowed. Water clarity has improved and the recent flooding has subsided so the summer pattern has resumed. Look for white egrets feeding on fish midlake to direct the way to fish. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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