WX History: April 7th

1926: Lightning started a disastrous oil fire at San Luis Obispo, California, which lasted for five days, spread over 900 acres, and burned over six million barrels of oil. Flames reached 1000 feet, and the temperature of the fire was estimated at 2,500 degrees. The fire spawned thousands of whirlwinds with hundreds the size of small tornadoes. One vortex traveled one mile to the east-northeast of the blaze, destroying a small farmhouse and killing two people. Damage totaled $15 million.

April 7, 1926 Tank Farm Fire
This is the San Luis Obispo fire.

Source: SanLuisObispo.com

1948: Illinois and Indian saw six tornadoes on this day, with three occurring near Chicago. The strongest tornado, an estimated F4, ripped through Kankakee County in Illinois, and Lake, Porter, and Jasper County in Indiana. According to Thomas Grazulis book, Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991, this tornado was “perhaps the first photograph that clearly showed a distant multiple-suction-vortex structure.”

April 7, 1948 Peotone, IL Tornado 2
The clipping above is from Thomas Grazulis book, Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991. This picture can be found on page 937.

Sources: Chicago Tribune Archives.  The Tornado Project.

1980: Severe thunderstorms spawned tornadoes that ripped through central Arkansas. The severe thunderstorms also produce high winds and baseball size hail. Five counties were declared disaster areas by President Carter. A tornado causing F3 damage also affected St. Louis and St. Charles counties in Missouri producing $2.5 million in damage. *More research is needed on this event*

2006: Nine tornadoes traveled across the Mid-Tennessee causing 10 fatalities. 

2010: The record heat that affected the region on April 6-7 included 93 degrees at the Washington-Dulles Airport on April 6, the earliest 90-degree reading on record. On April 7, Newark, New Jersey, shattered its daily record by seven degrees when the maximum temperature rose to 92 degrees. The Northeast ended up with its second warmest April in 116 years.



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