WX History: March 17th

1892: A winter storm in southwestern and central Tennessee produced 18.7 inches of snow at Riddleton, 18.0 inches at Memphis, and 17 inches in Nashville. The snowfall amounts at Memphis and Nashville are still their most in a 24-hour period.  According to the Daily Tobacco Leaf-Chronicle’s Saturday Evening edition on March 19, 1892, this winter storm impacted Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. More research will be done on this extraordinary event. 

March 17, 1892 Arkansas Snow

Source: NWS Office in Nashville, TN.

1906: A magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused significant damage in Taiwan. According to the Central Weather Bureau in China, this earthquake caused 1,258 deaths, 2,385 injuries, and destroyed over 6,000 homes.

Source: The History Channel.

1952: The ban on using the word “tornado” issued in 1886 ended on this date. In the 1880s, John P. Finley of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, then handling weather forecasting for the U.S., developed generalized forecasts on days tornadoes were most likely. But in 1886, the Army ended Finley’s program and banned the word “tornado” from forecasts because the harm done by a tornado prediction would eventually be greater than that which results from the tornado itself?. The thinking was that people would be trampled in the panic if they heard a tornado was possible. The ban stayed in place after the Weather Bureau, now the National Weather Service took over forecasting from the Army. A tornado that wrecked 52 large aircraft at Tinker Air Force Base, OK, on 3/20/1948, spurred Air Force meteorologists to begin working on ways to forecast tornadoes. The Weather Bureau also began looking for ways to improve tornado forecasting and established the Severe Local Storm Warning Center, which is now the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK. The ban on the word “tornado” fell on this date when the new center issued its first Tornado Watch.March 17, 1952 First Tornado Bulletin

Source: The Birth and Early Years of the Storm Prediction Center.


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