1865: A tornado touched down in Philadelphia around 6 PM ET, killing one person and injuring 15 others. There was great destruction to property, with 23 houses blown down, damage to the Reading Railroad depot, with the water tank, carried 150 yards. Fairmont Park was damaged to the amount of $20,000.
1934: A tremendous dust storm affected the Plains as the Dust Bowl era was in full swing. According to The New York Times, dust “lodged itself in the eyes and throats of weeping and coughing New Yorkers,” and even ships some 300 miles offshore sawdust collect on their decks.
1953: A terrifying F5 tornado rips through downtown Waco, Texas, killing 114 people and injuring nearly 600 more. More than 850 homes, 600 businesses, and 2,000 cars are destroyed or severely damaged. Losses have been estimated at $41 million. The tornado is the deadliest in Texas history and the tenth deadliest in the US.
1886: The deadliest tornado in Minnesota history razed parts of St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids, leaving 72 dead and 213 injured. 11 members of a wedding party were killed including the bride and groom. The bottom of the Mississippi River was said to have been seen during the tornado’s crossing.
1912: On her maiden voyage, the RMS Titanic rammed into an iceberg just before midnight. The “unsinkable ship” sank two hours and forty minutes later into the icy water of the Atlantic Ocean near Newfoundland, Canada. Tragically, 1,517 passengers including the crew were lost. A nearby ship, the Carpathia, rushed to the Titanic and was able to save 706 people.
1922: The Mississippi River reached a record height of 21.3 feet at New Orleans, Louisiana, and the river was still rising, with the crest still a week away. Understandably, the City of New Orleans was nervous as reports of levees failing upriver reached the city. A crevasse below New Orleans would relieve the pressure on the town’s strained levees on the 27th, spared the city a major disaster.
1935: Black Sunday refers to a particularly severe dust storm that occurred on April 14, 1935, as part of the Dust Bowl. During the afternoon, the residents of the Plains States were forced to take cover as a dust storm, or “black blizzard”, blew through the region. The storm hit the Oklahoma Panhandle and Northwestern Oklahoma first and moved south for the remainder of the day. It hit Beaver around 4:00 p.m., Boise City around 5:15 p.m., and Amarillo, Texas, at 7:20 p.m. The conditions were the most severe in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, but the storm’s effects were felt in other surrounding areas.
1935: Severe dust storms across Iowa and Kansas closed schools and highways. Dodge City, Kansas experienced its worst dust storm of record, with thick dust reported from the morning of the 9th until after sunset on the 11th. The sky was almost as dark as night at times during the daylight hours. The thick dust suspended traffic on highways and railroads and also suspended most business in town.
1979: This day was known as “Terrible Tuesday” to the residents of Wichita Falls, Texas as an F4 tornado ripped through the city. A massive F4 tornado smashed into Wichita Falls killing 43 people and causing 300 million dollars in damage. Another tornado struck Vernon, Texas killing eleven people.