WX History: March 31st

1942: During the month of March, Puu Kukui on Maui, Hawaii received 101 inches of rain, a record for the U.S in one month. The same place also holds the annual rainfall record for the United States with 704.83 inches in 1982. 

Source: Weather Channel.

1962: A tornado struck the town of Milton, Florida killing 17 persons and injuring 100 others. It was the worst tornado disaster in Florida history. 

Source: Storm Data and Kimandmikeontheroad.com

1973: A devastating tornado took a nearly continuous 75-mile path through north central Georgia causing more than 104 million dollars damage.


March 31, 1973 Athens Tornado track
Tornado tracks across Georgia and South Carolina from this event.


Sources: NWS Assessment and Athens Banner – Herald.



WX History: March 30th

1848: On six reported occasions, the water flow over the American Falls has been totally blocked by ice and ceased to fall. But only once has this happened in the much larger Horseshoe Falls. 

Source: The Day Niagara Falls Went Dry – Dr. Keith Heidern.

1899: A storm that buried Ruby, Colorado under 141 inches of snow came to an end. Ruby was an old abandoned mining town on the Elk Mountain Range in the Crested Butte area.

March 30, 1899 Ruby, Co Snowfall
Cooperative Observers’ Meteorological Record for Ruby, CO for March 1899.

1938: Tornadoes crossing Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois, killed 40 and injured 548. The worst damage was in South Pekin, Illinois, where three city blocks were leveled, and 250 homes were damaged or destroyed. This estimated F3 tornado killed 9. A home destroyed near Edwardsville, Il, was also hit by another tornado in 1883. 

March 30, 1938 Missouri Tornadoes
The tornado track map above is courtesy of the Bangladesh and East India Tornado Prediction Site.
March 30, 1938 South Pekin IL Tornado Damage
A wrecked water tank and building in South Pekin, IL. Image from the Chicago Tribune published on April 1st, 1938.

Source: Bangladeshtornadoes.org.

Source: Chicago Tribune on April 1st, 1938.






WX History: March 29th

1886: Rainfall amounts of 6-12 inches occurred over northwest Georgia in a 3-day period from March 29 through April 2. This caused record flooding on the Oostanaula and Etowah Rivers that merge to form the Coosa River. Floodwaters up to 11 feet deep covered portions of Broad Street in Rome, GA with extensive record flooding. The stage height reached 40.3 feet. Flood stage is 25 feet. This record flood and another major flood in 1892 prompted the citizens of Rome to raise the town by 12 feet. This feat was accomplished by bringing in thousands of wagon loads of dirt. An official rainfall amount of 7.36 inches was recorded on this day in Atlanta. The 7.36 inches is the most Atlanta has seen in one day since record keeping began in 1878.

March 29, 1886 Map of Rome Flood 2
The Google Map above is Rome, Georgia. The Etowah River is on the right, and the Oostanaula is in the top center. These two rivers merge to form the Coosa River on the left side. The red Rome in the center of the map is also Broad Street.
March 29, 1886 Map of Rome Flood
Downtown Rome during the Flood of 1886.

Source: RoadsideGeorgia.com

1942: A slow-moving low-pressure system brought 11.5 inches of snow to the nation’s capital on March 29, 1942. It still stands as the highest March snowfall on record in Washington, D.C. on a single calendar day. Also, Baltimore, Maryland recorded a very impressive total of 21.9 inches of snow on the same day. On the flip side, eight days later, the temperature in D.C. soared to 92 degrees on April 6, 1942, and it remains the highest temperature on record for April 6.

Source: The Weather Prediction Center’s Facebook video.


1998: A supercell thunderstorm produced 13 tornadoes across southern Minnesota. The strongest tornado was an F4. Two people died during this tornado event. 

Source: Storm Data.


WX History: March 28th

1920: The Palm Sunday tornado outbreak contained 31 estimated F2 tornadoes. The storms wreaked havoc on the Midwest and the Deep South.  The tornadoes killed between 207-380 people and injured at least 1215. More research will be done on this event. The video below is courtesy of AccuWeather.

1963: A decision was handed down in the case of Whitney Bartie vs. the United States of America. Bartie sued the U.S. Weather Bureau for negligence in failing to provide a warning about Hurricane Audrey in 1957. Bartie’s wife and five children were killed after the 12-foot storm surge struck Cameron Parish, LA on the morning of June 27, 1957. It was ruled that the evidence presented did not establish negligence on the part of the Weather Bureau.

Source: Law.Justia.com


1984: “The largest and most devastating tornado outbreak to affect North and South Carolina during the last century occurred on March 28, 1984. The outbreak produced 22 tornadoes that killed 57 people, including 42 in North Carolina with 15 in South Carolina, and injured another 800.”

March 28, 1984 NC SC Tornadoes

Source: National Weather Service Office in Raleigh, NC.


WX History: March 27th

1890: The middle Mississippi Valley saw a major tornado outbreak on this day with 24, estimated F2 or greater tornadoes impacting the area. At least 146 people were killed by tornadoes. The most notable of the tornadoes was an estimated F4 that carved a path from the Parkland neighborhood to Crescent Hill in Louisville, Kentucky. This tornado destroyed 766 buildings and killed an estimated 76 to 120 people. Most of the deaths occurred when the Falls City Hall collapsed.

Source: The 1890 Louisville Cyclone from The Filson Historical Society.  The University of Louisville.

1931: A blizzard struck western Kansas and adjoining states on March 26-27th was called the “worst since January 1888”. Twenty children, ages seven to fourteen, were stranded in a makeshift school bus for 33 hours during this blizzard.

March 27, 1931 Kansas Blizzard
The clipping above is from the Climatological Data for Kansas in March 1931.
March 28, 1931 Pleasant Hill School Bus Tragedy
The Towner School Bus where five children perished.

Source: Pleasent Hill (Towner) School Bus Tragedy. Rocky Mountain PBS

1946: Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada thawed out as the mercury soared to 74 degrees, their warmest March temperature on record. 

1964: Great Alaskan earthquake left at least 100 dead in Anchorage, Alaska. The magnitude 9.2 quake is the largest in US history and the second strongest worldwide. Waves reached 103 feet above the low – tide mark.

Source: The Great M9.2 Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami of March 27, 1964 – USGS.

1980: “On March 27, 1980, there is an explosion from the summit of Mount St. Helens, the first in 123 years. KGW (radio) has a plane in the air, and reporter Mike Beard gives his report, “the summit is oddly dark. As we draw near I see a crater two hundred feet across—a hole in the ice, black ash around it. It is clearly new.” By the end of the day on March 28, 1980, there are at least 12 additional explosions, with columns of steam and ash (phreatic eruptions) reaching nearly 10,000 feet above the volcano. A second crater forms to the west of the first and is visible on the morning of the 29th. Steam and ash mainly vent from this new crater.” 

 1994: The Southeastern Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak occurred on this date. What began as a peaceful Palm Sunday quickly changed to a historic day in weather history when a powerful tornado ripped through southern Alabama and Georgia. By the time the storm was over, 22 people were dead, and 92 were injured. The F4 tornado cut a 50-mile path from Ragland in St. Clair, County Alabama to the Georgia line. The storm touched down near Ragland at 10:51 am. The storm struck Ohatchee than roared across northeastern Calhoun County, passing near Piedmont and hitting Goshen in Cherokee County. The most disastrous damage occurred at Goshen, where the twister struck the Goshen United Methodist Church at 11:37 am. 20 people were killed at the church, which did not hear the tornado warning issued 10 minutes earlier by the National Weather Service in Birmingham. A tornado watch had been issued at 9:30 am. Following the tornadoes, Vice President Al Gore pledged to extend NOAA Weatheradio coverage into the areas affected by the twisters, which had previously been unable to receive the alarm signals.

March 27, 1994 Palm Sunday Tornado
On the left is the tornado that struck the Goshen United Methodist Chuch. On the right is an aerial view of the church.

Source: Natural Disaster Survey Report for the Southeastern United States Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak of March 27, 1994.

2017: Satellite loop of Cyclone Debbie closing in on landfall in Queensland, Australia.


WX History: March 26th

1948: Good Friday tornadoes moved from Terre Haute to Redkey, Indiana killing 20 people. About 80% of the town of Coatesville was destroyed, and 16 people were killed. The Coatesville Carnegie Library was a total loss. The path was a half mile wide.

March 26, 1948 Coatesville Tornado Damage
Coatesville, Indiana tornado damage. The image is courtesy of the Indiana State Police.

Source: Coatesville-Clay Township Public Library.

2009: The proof is in the pudding – A NOAA Weather Radio can save your life. Near Belk, AL, a family was alerted to a tornado by their weather radio; they went to their storm cellar. They heard the “jet roar” of the EF1 tornado as it damaged their home; they were unhurt.

March 26, 2009 Weather Radio in AL
The clipping above is from the March 2009 Storm Data Publication.

2011: Two tornadoes tracked across Bulloch County in Georgia. The strongest, an EF1, caused damage to seven structures, including throwing one mobile home 30 yards.

2017: Tornadoes do occur in other parts of the world. Here is a video of one in Khamis Mustait, Saudi Arabia.

2017: A rare tornado in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico.

Source: Hurricane Center PR on Facebook.

WX History: March 25th

1901: More than 20 people were killed by an estimated F3 tornado that moved across parts of Birmingham, Alabama. The twister cut a 15-mile path from the south side of the city to Avondale and Irondale.

The above images are courtesy of the Birmingham Public Library Digital Collection.

1913: The Great Flood of March 23-26th, 1913 impacted the Ohio River valley and surrounding tributaries. Dayton, Ohio was hardest hit as the Miami River burst levees on the south side of town. Flood water in downtown Dayton reached 10th on March 25th.

March 25, 1913 Dayton Ohio Flood
4th Street of Dayton, OH during the flood.

Sources: Great Flood of 1913

1935: Suffocating dust storms frequently occurred in southeast Colorado between the 12th and the 25th of the month. Six people died, and many livestock starved or suffocated. Up to six feet of dust covered the ground. Schools were closed, and many rural homes were deserted by tenants. 

1948: The first tornado forecast was conducted by the Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. “In the evening of March 25, 1948, a tornado roared through Tinker Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma, causing considerable damage, a few injuries, but no fatalities. However, the destruction could have been much worse. A few hours earlier, Air Force Captain Robert C. Miller and Major Ernest J. Fawbush correctly predicted that atmospheric conditions were ripe for tornadoes in the vicinity of Tinker AFB. The swirling funnel left $6 million dollars in damage, $4 million less than the first storm, which had occurred only five days earlier. The first tornado forecast was instrumental in advancing the nation’s commitment to protecting the American public and military resources from the dangers caused by natural hazards.”

March 25, 1948 First Tornado Forecast
Remains of a large military aircraft after the passage of the March 25th, 1948 tornado. 


Source: Golden Anniversary of Tornado Forecasting.  NOAA Photo Library.

1992: Hailstones up to three inches in diameter resulted in more than $60 million in damage in the Orlando, Florida area. This is still one of the costliest Florida hailstorm on record. 

March 25, 1992 Orlando Hail 3March 25, 1992 Orlando Hail 2March 25, 1992 Orlando Hail

Sources: NWS Office in Melbourne, Florida.  March 1992 – Storm Data.

2017: Tropical Cyclone Debbie off the Queensland, Australia. 

2017: Large hail fell near the Safaniya Oil Fields in Saudi Arabia.

WX History: March 24th

1912: Residents of Kansas City began to dig out from a storm that produced 25 inches of snow from March 22nd through the 24th. A record 40.2 inches of snow fell during the month of March that year, and the total for the winter season of 67 inches was also a record. Olathe, Kansas received 37 inches of snow in the snowstorm. This storm system also spread heavy snow eastward into the Ohio River Valley.

1929: St. Louis, Missouri soared to 92 degrees; their all-time record high for March. 

Source: St. Louis, MO Climate Summary for 1929.

1975: “The Governor’s Tornado” hop-scotched a 13-mile path across the western part of Atlanta, GA during the early morning hours, causing considerable damage to the Governor’s mansion. Hundreds of expensive homes, businesses and apartment complexes were damaged. Total losses were estimated at $56 million dollars. Three people lost their lives, and another 152 were injured by the F3 tornado.

March 24, 1975 Governor Tornado
Damage to the Governor’s Mansion.

Source: 11AliveNews.com


WX History: March 23rd

1913: A significant tornado outbreak occurred in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa on this day. Seven estimated F2 or stronger tornadoes killed 168 people and caused extensive damage to the area on Easter Sunday.

Sources: Nebraska’s PBS and NPR Stations and HistoricOmaha.com



WX History: March 22nd

1888: Chicago’s morning low dips to one degree below zero, the latest sub-zero Fahrenheit reading in the city’s history. This record still stands today.


March 22, 1888 Chicago Cold
The clipping above is from the Climatological Data Summary for Illinois in March 1888.


Source: Monthly Weather Review of the Illinois State Weather Service, March 1888.

1893: An estimated F2 tornado destroyed 14 buildings and injured four people as it passed through the center of town. There was minor damage to the Weather Bureau office, which was located at Grand and Robinson in south Oklahoma City. This could be the first significant tornado to impact Oklahoma City because it was founded just four years earlier on April 22, 1889.

March 22, 1893 Oklahoma City tornado
The clipping above is from the Monthly Bulletin of the Oklahoma Weather Service for March 1893.

1920: A spectacular display of the “Northern Lights” was visible as far south as Tampa FL, El Paso, TX and Fresno, CA. At Detroit MI, the display was described “so brilliant as to blot out all stars below the first magnitude.”

Source: Northern Lights Seen in Atlanta Monday Evening, The Atlanta Constitution on March 23, 1920.

2017: A rare phenomenon, red sprites, were captured over Tokio.