WX History: August 19th

1890: South Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was hit by an estimated F3 tornado. About 400 buildings were destroyed in the industrial and poorer residential section of town. The death toll was 16 and damage was estimated at $400,000.

Aug 19, 1890 South Wilkes-Barre Tornado Track
The tornado track image about is courtesy of the NWS Office in Binghamton, New York.

Source: NWS Office in Binghamton, New York.

1896: The famous Cottage City (Oak Bluffs) waterspout occurred off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The vortex was 3,600 feet high, formed three times, and was well photographed.


Aug 19, 1896 Cottage City Waterspout
The image above is courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.


Source: Boston Globe.

1899: An estimated F3 tornado passed 3 miles north of Clear Lake, South Dakota. The tornado killed a man by flying debris as five homes, and many barns were destroyed.


WX History: August 18th

1925: During the late morning hours a severe hailstorm struck southeastern Iowa completely destroying crops along a path six to ten miles wide and 75 miles long. The hail also injured and killed poultry and livestock, and caused a total of 2.5 million dollars damage. The hailstorm flattened fields of corn to such an extent that many had to leave their farms in search of other work.

1931: The Yangtze River in China crests during a horrible flood that kills 3.7 million people directly and indirectly over the next several months. This flood was perhaps the worst natural disaster of the 20th century.

Source: History Channel.

WX History: August 17th

1899: Hurricane San Ciriaco set many records on its path. Killing nearly 3,500 people in Puerto Rico, it was the deadliest hurricane to hit the island and the strongest at the time, until 30 years later when the island was affected by the Hurricane San Felipe Segundo, a Category 5 hurricane, in 1928. San Ciriaco is also the longest lasting Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, lasting for 28 days. On August 17, the hurricane turned back to the northwest and made landfall near Hatteras, North Carolina on the following day. San Ciriaco remains the strongest hurricane to make landfall on the Outer Banks since 1899.

1946: An estimated F4 tornado killed 11 people and injured 100 others in the Mankato, Minnesota area around 6:52 PM. The deaths and most of the injuries occurred in the complete destruction of the 26 cabins at the Green Gables tourist camp, 3 miles southwest of Mankato. A 27-ton road grader was reportedly hurled about 100 feet. Another tornado an hour later destroys downtown Wells, Minnesota.


Aug 17, 1946 Mankato Tornado Damage
Tornado destruction of Green Gables Cabin Camp showing the office. The image is courtesy of the Blue Earth County Historical Society.


Source: Blue Earth County Historical Society.

1969: The music festival, known as Woodstock, should have ended on this day. Jimi Hendrix, the last act to perform, was delayed due to rain on Sunday evening. Jimi Hendrix took the stage at 8:30 am Monday morning.

Source: History Channel.

WX History: August 16th

1777: The Battle of Bennington, delayed a day by rain, was fought. The rain-delayed British reinforcements and allowed the Vermont Militia to arrive in time, enabling the Americans to win a victory by defeating two enemy forces, one at a time.

1992: One of the most destructive United States hurricanes of record started modestly as a tropical wave that emerged from the west coast of Africa on August 14. The wave spawned a tropical depression on August 16, which became Tropical Storm Andrew the next day.


Aug 16, 1992 Hurricane Andrew
Hurricane Andrew on August 23 at 1231 UTC. This image was produced from data from NOAA-12, provided by NOAA.


Source: National Hurricane Center.


WX History: August 15th

1787: Tornadoes were reported in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Wethersfield, Connecticut was hard hit by the tornado outbreak. There, a woman and her family were caught in the open. She and her son were killed. Clothes from the family farm were carried three miles away. This event is regarded to be the most significant tornado outbreak in early New England history.

August 15, 1787 - Earlist Known Tornado Outbreak(1)

1886: A tornado moved northeast from 5 miles southwest of Newark, South Dakota, through town and into North Dakota. Only three buildings were reportedly undamaged at Newark, and a bartender at a saloon was killed. Three people died in two homes on adjoining farms 2 miles southwest of town. A saddle from a Newark stable was carried for a half mile. In North Dakota, homes and barns were damaged along the Wild River. This tornado was estimated as an F3.

1983: Hurricane Alicia formed on this day and was the costliest tropical cyclone in the Atlantic since Hurricane Agnes in 1972. It struck Galveston and Houston, Texas directly, causing $2.6 billion (1983 USD) in damage and killing 21 people. This storm was the worst Texas hurricane since Hurricane Carla in 1961. Also, Alicia was the first billion-dollar tropical cyclone in Texas history.


Aug 15, 1983 Hurricane Alicia
Thermal infrared image of Hurricane Alica making landfall on August 18 at 0800 UTC.


Source: Weather Prediction Center.

WX History: August 14th

1898: A deadly, estimated F4 tornado moved southeast from 12 miles northwest of Clear Lake in South Dakota, passing 7 miles north of town and ending about 4 miles west of Gary. Deaths occurred on two farms. One man was killed when the kitchen of his farm house was torn off. Five members of one family were killed along with two labors on another farm as every building was swept away. Buildings suffered massive damage on eight farms. This tornado was one of the earliest, estimated F4 tornadoes on record for South Dakota.

1953: Hurricane Barbara hits North Carolina as a Category 2 hurricane. Damage from the storm was relatively minor, totaling around $1.3 million (1953 USD). Most of it occurred in North Carolina and Virginia from crop damage. The hurricane left several injuries, some traffic accidents, as well as seven fatalities in the eastern United States; at least two were due to electrocution from downed power lines. Offshore Atlantic Canada, a small boat sunk, killing its crew of two.


Aug 14, 1953 Hurricane Barbara
Surface weather analysis of Hurricane Barbara on 14 August 1953.


1969: Hurricane Camille, a powerful, deadly, and destructive hurricane formed just west of the Cayman Islands on this day. It rapidly intensified, and by the time it reached western Cuba the next day, it was a Category 3 hurricane.


Aug 14, 1969 Hurricane Camille
Hurricane Camille was spawned on August 5th by a tropical wave off the coast of Africa. The storm became a tropical disturbance four days later on the 9th and a tropical storm on the 14th. The image is courtesy of the USGS.


1975: In London, England, a localized torrential downpour known as The Hampstead Storm, drops 6.72 inches of rain in 155 minutes at Hampstead Heath. One died in the storm. The water floods the Underground and forces sewer covers up.

WX History: August 13th

1831: The Great Barbados Hurricane was an intense Category 4 hurricane that left cataclysmic damage across the Caribbean and Louisiana in 1831. From August 11 through the 13, Bermudians were amazed to see the sun with a decidedly blue appearance, giving off an eerie blue light when it shone into rooms and other enclosed places. Ships at sea as far west as Cape Hatteras reported that “their white sails appeared a light blue colour.” A month later it was learned that the astounding blue sunlight had coincided with a terrible hurricane that caused 1,477 people to lose their lives. It was assumed that the hurricane was intensive enough to cause an unusual disturbance in the higher atmospheric strata, and refraction, diffraction or absorption of light rays, to cause the blue reflection. Because the sun appeared bluish-green, Nat Turner took this as the final signal and began a slave rebellion a week later on August 21.

Source: NOAA Hurricane Research Division

1987: A succession of thunderstorms produced rainfall that was unprecedented in 116 years of precipitation records at Chicago, Illinois during an 18 hour period from the evening of the 13th to the early afternoon of the 14th. The resulting flash flood was the worst ever to strike the Chicago metropolitan area, causing three deaths and water damage that amounted to 221 million dollars. O’Hare International Airport received an event total of 9.35 inches of rain in 18 hours, shattering the previous 24-hour record of 6.24 inches. For about 24 hours, the airport was only accessible from the air as all roads were blocked by high water, including the Kennedy Expressway.


Source: Eyewitness to History: Record rainfall, floods in 1987 – ABC7 Chicago.

1991:  Stockton, California received 0.05 inch of rainfall on this day. Since 1949, this is the only measured rainfall in Stockton on August 13th.

2003: A string of days in Paris France with temperatures from the 4th to the 12th above 95°F ends when the day’s high drops to 90°F. During the long, hot summer which began 25 July and has registered several days above 100°F, an estimated 14,800 have died from heat-related causes, the French government admits.

Source: NASA’s Earth Observatory.

2014: An official, New York State 24 hour precipitation record was set at Islip, NY on August 12-13 when 13.57″ of rain fell.

 Source: NWS Office in New York.

WX History: August 12th

1752: The following is from the Journals of the Rev. Thomas Smith, and the Rev. Samuel Deane, published in 1849. “In the evening there was dismal thunder and lightning, and abundance of rain, and such a hurricane as was never the like in these parts of the world.” This hurricane struck Portland, Maine. 

Aug 12, 1752 Portland, Maine Hurricane

Source: Journals of the Rev. Thomas Smith, and the Rev. Samuel Deane, pastors of the First church in Portland: with notes and biographical notices: and a Summary history of Portland

1974: Two violent tornadoes produced F4 damage in eastern Iowa. The first struck southern sections of Ryan in Delaware County damaging or destroying several dozen homes, Saint Patricks Church, a school, and two businesses. The church and 20 of the homes were completely destroyed and 12 people were injured in Ryan. The second tornado struck rural areas southeast of Ladora in Iowa County injuring 2 people and completely sweeping away a farm house.

Aug 12, 1974 Ryan Iowa Tornado
The F4 tornado that would hit Ryan, Iowa on August 12th, 1974. Image courtesy of Brian Oberreuter.

Source: CBS2iowa.com

2004: Hurricane Charley was the third named storm and the second hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. Charley lasted from August 9 to August 15, and at its peak intensity, it attained 150 mph winds, making it a strong Category 4 hurricane. It made landfall in southwestern Florida on August 13th at maximum strength, making it the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew struck Florida in 1992.

Aug 12, 2004 Hurricane Charley
The MODIS sensor aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of Hurricane Charley on August 13 at 12:35 PM, EDT.

Source: NWS Office in Miami.

WX History: August 11th


1940: A Category 2 hurricane struck the Georgia and South Carolina coast. A 13-foot storm tide was measured along the South Carolina coast, while over 15 inches of rain fell across northern North Carolina. Significant flooding and landslides struck Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia during the system’s slow trek as a weakening tropical storm, and then as an extratropical cyclone, through the Southeast. The landslides which struck North Carolina were considered a once in a century event.

Aug 11, 1940 Hurricane Georgia SC

Source: Southeast Hurricane: August 10-18, 1940 by the Weather Prediction Center.

1999: An F2 tornado touched down in the metropolitan area of Salt Lake City. The tornado lasted ten minutes and killed one person, injured more than 80 people, and caused more than $170 million in damages. It was the most destructive tornado in Utah’s history and awakened the entire state’s population to the fact that the Beehive State does experience tornadoes.

Aug 11, 1999 Salt Lake City Tornado

Source: NWS Office in Salt Lake City and TornadoTalk.com.


WX History: August 10th

1856: A hurricane destroyed Isle Dernieres or Last Island, a pleasure resort south-southwest of New Orleans on this day. The highest points of the island were under five feet of water. The resort hotel was destroyed, along with the island’s gambling establishments. Over 200 people perished, and the island lost all its vegetation and split in half. Only one cow remained on the island after the catastrophe. The Last Island is now only a haven for pelicans and other sea birds. The steamer Nautilus foundered during the storm. The lone survivor clung to a bale of cotton and washed ashore sometime later.

Aug 10, 1856 Isle of Derniere

Source(s): A Hurricane Destroyed This Louisiana Resort Town, Never to Be Inhabited Again – smithsonianmag.com

Clipped from The Times-Picayune,  15 Aug 1856, Fri,  FRIDAY’S AFTERNOON EDITION,  Page 2 – Tom Malmay.

1884: An earthquake, centered near New York City and registering a magnitude 5.5, hit the region a little after 2 PM. The tremor made houses shake, chimneys fall, and residents wonder what the heck was going on, according to a New York Times article two days later.

Aug 10, 1884 New York Earthquake

Source: Historical Earthquakes – USGS.gov

1886: An estimated F3 tornado moved southeast from 10 miles northwest of Aberdeen. This massive tornado destroyed four homes and a dozen barns. This is the earliest significant tornado on record for Brown County.