During a seven-month planning phase, meteorologists from WFO Norman developed an exercisable weather scenario that met OEM objectives. The simulated weather needed to mimic plausible real-world conditions. Historic meteorological cases were used to produce a multi-hazard event that included severe convection in eastern Oklahoma, wildfires in southwestern Oklahoma, and an imminent winter storm over the Panhandle and northwestern Oklahoma. During the peak of simulated weather impacts on 17 November, a mock 6.5 magnitude earthquake was exercised to occur near vital oil industry infrastructure at Cushing, Oklahoma. The mock earthquake was exercised to result in a failure of Lake Carl Blackwell Dam, prompting a flood wave at Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Based on the scenario, internal WFO training objectives were developed and put into action during the late summer and early fall. Prior to the exercise, OEM and the WFO conducted numerous planning sessions at the state Emergency Operations Center and a joint “pre-game huddle” prior to the event, as well as a post-exercise hot wash and after action review. Similar to communications with decision makers in advance of real-world high-impact weather events, WFO Norman provided forecast graphics and multimedia briefings via YouTube in the days leading up to the full-scale exercise. Not only were the meteorological events simulated during E,W&F realistic, they seemed to actually foretell real events!