1907: The highest March temperature in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was set when the temperature soared to 97 degrees. Dodge City, Kansas also set a March record with 98 degrees.
1948: An estimated F4 tornado moved through Fosterburg, Bunker Hill, and Gillespie, Illinois, killing 33 people and injuring 449 others. 2,000 buildings in Bunker Hill were damaged or destroyed. Total damage was $3.6 million dollars.
2003: On this day in 2003, one of the worst blizzards, since records began in 1872, struck the Denver metro. Heavy snow accumulating to around 3 feet in the city and more than 7 feet in the foothills brought transportation to near standstill.
1892: A winter storm in southwestern and central Tennessee produced 18.7 inches of snow atRiddleton, 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.
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.
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.
1891: From March 9th through the 13th, a blizzard struck southern England and Wales with gale force winds. 220 people were killed; 65 ships foundered in the English Channel, and 6,000 sheep perished. Countless trees were uprooted and trains buried. Up to a foot of snow and snowdrifts of 11.5 feet were reported in Dulwich, London, Torquay, Sidmouth, and Dartmouth.
1956: A whopping 367 inches of snow was measured on the ground at the Rainier Paradise Ranger Station in Washington. The snow depth was a state record and the second highest total on record for the continental U.S.
1957: An earthquake measuring a magnitude 8.6 struck the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. A Pacific-wide tsunami was generated that caused $5 million dollars of damage in Hawaii, but fortunately, no lives were lost. Hardest hit was the island of Kauai, where houses were destroyed and roads washed away. Waves reached 34.1 feet high at Haena, HI.
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.
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.
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.
1842: A late season snowstorm struck New England. Snow fell during the morning and early afternoon, accumulating to a depth of ten to twelve inches at Irasburg, Vermont. Berlin, New Hampshire was blanketed with eleven inches of snow during the day. Snow whitened the higher peaks of the Appalachians as far south as Maryland. The latest date for the occurrence of a general snowstorm in our period over northern New England and northern New York came in 1842 on the morning of 11 June. Zadock Thompson, a professor of natural history and the Queen City’s longtime weatherman, commented: “Snow during the forenoon’s boards whitened and the mountains as white as in winter.”
1990: One of the most costly hailstorms in U.S. history occurred as $625 million dollars of damage was caused along the Colorado Front Range from Colorado Springs to Estes Park. Golf to baseball sized hail fell along with heavy rain. 60 people were injured in the storm.
Seven years ago, 20 campers were swept away by high water at the Albert Pike Recreation Area (deadliest flash flood in AR history).#arwxpic.twitter.com/lk0lY39dy0
1816: The following is found on page 31, from the book, “History of the American Clock Business for the Past Sixty Years, and Life of Chauncey Jerome,” written by Chauncey Jerome. The book was published in 1860. “The next summer was a cold one of 1816, which none of the old people will ever forget, and which many of the young have heard a great deal about. There was ice and snow in every month in the year. I well remember on the seventh of June, while on my way to work, about a mile from home, dressed throughout with thick woolen clothes and an overcoat on, my hands got so cold that I was obliged to lay down my tools and put on a pair of mittens which I had in my pocket. It snowed about an hour that day.” This bitter cold event occurred in Plymouth, Connecticut.
1877: A tornado of estimated F4 intensity touched down just west of Mt. Carmel, Illinois and moved east-northeast, devastating the town. 20 businesses and 100 homes were damaged or destroyed. At least 16 people and as many as 30 were killed, with 100 others injured. The images below are courtesy of the Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly.
1993: An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale shook a portion of northeast South Dakota but caused no real damage or injuries. The epicenter of the quake was 22 miles northwest of Morris, Minnesota or 38 miles east of Sisseton and was felt in most of Roberts, Grant, and Deuel Counties. The quake was the first in the area since 1975.
1968: One of the costliest hailstorms in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma history pummeled the city on this date. Hail the size of baseballs fell over much of the city, resulting in more than 40,000 insurance claims over the 90,000 square mile path of the storm. The final cost was more than $20 million dollars. The parent thunderstorm also caused flash flooding that left 2 to 4 feet of water in some underpasses and a lightning strike that started a fire that killed two people.
1960: A massive earthquake in Chile the previous day produced a tsunami that killed 61 people in Hilo, Hawaii. An additional 180 people died on the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan.
1997: David McWilliams Ludlum was born 1910 in East Orange, NJ – He is responsible for researching and publishing much of the early history of weather at the beginning of America. David died May 23, 1997, in Princeton, New Jersey. He was an American historian, meteorologist, entrepreneur, and author.
2010: A rare tropical cyclone dubbedBandu brings high winds and heavy rains to Somalia. The storm then moved into the Gulf of Aden where it quickly weakens and dissipates on the 23rd as it passes between Yemen and Somalia.
1906: At 5:12 AM, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hits San Francisco. A devastating fire soon broke out in the city and lasted for several days. About 3,000 people died, and over 80 percent of San Francisco was destroyed.
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.
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.
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.
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 at11:37 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.