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.

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WX History: June 11th

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.”

Research is ongoing for about this event.

June 11, 1842 Snow

Source: The Cecil Whig. (Elkton, MD.), 18 June 1842. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.

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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.

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WX History: June 7th

1692: A massive earthquake strikes Port Royal in Jamaica, killing some 3,000 people.

Source: History.com

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.

June 7, 1816 Bitter Cold and Snow

Source: History of the American Clock Business for the Past Sixty Years.

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WX History: June 4th

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.

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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.

WX History: May 23rd

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. 

Source: History.com

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 dubbed Bandu 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.

May 23, 2010 Cyclone Bandu
The satellite image above is Cyclone Bandu on May 21st, 2010. The image is courtesy of the US Navy.

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WX History: April 18th

1880:  More than two dozen tornadoes were reported from Kansas and Arkansas to Wisconsin and Michigan. More than 150 persons were killed, including 99 people in Marshfield, Missouri.

April 18, 1880 Marshfield Tornado Damage
The image above is downtown Marshfield, Missouri following the estimated F4 tornado. The image is courtesy of the Historical Society of Missouri. 

 

Sources: Historic Weather Maps: Tornado Outbreak of April 18, 1880.  History.com

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.

April 18, 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
The burning of San Francisco, a view from St. Francis Hotel. The image is courtesy of the Library of Congress.

 

April 18, 1906 San Francisco Earthquake 2
This photograph was taken by George Lawrence from a series of kites five weeks after the great earthquake. The view is looking over Nob Hill toward the business district.

 

WX History: March 27th

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.

Source: The 1890 Louisville Cyclone from The Filson Historical Society.  The University of Louisville.

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.

March 27, 1931 Kansas Blizzard
The clipping above is from the Climatological Data for Kansas in March 1931.
March 28, 1931 Pleasant Hill School Bus Tragedy
The Towner School Bus where five children perished.

Source: Pleasent Hill (Towner) School Bus Tragedy. Rocky Mountain PBS

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.

Source: The Great M9.2 Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami of March 27, 1964 – USGS.

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 at 11:37 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.

March 27, 1994 Palm Sunday Tornado
On the left is the tornado that struck the Goshen United Methodist Chuch. On the right is an aerial view of the church.

Source: Natural Disaster Survey Report for the Southeastern United States Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak of March 27, 1994.

2017: Satellite loop of Cyclone Debbie closing in on landfall in Queensland, Australia.

 

WX History: March 19th

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.

March 19, 1948 Bunker Hill Tornado 2
A view of the business district in Bunker Hill, Illinois after the tornado.
March 19, 1948 Bunker Hill Tornado
A view of Meissner School in Bunker Hill, Illinois.

Source: Bunker Hill Library.

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.

March 19, 2003 Denver Snow

Source: NWS Office in Boulder, CO.

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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.

WX History: March 9th

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.

Source: National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

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.