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.

1970

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: May 19th

1780: The infamous “dark day” in New England tradition. At noon, it was nearly as dark as night. Chickens went to roost, and many persons were fearful of divine wrath. The “dark day” was caused by forest fires to the west of New England.

May 19, 1780 Fires

The image above is courtesy of the International Journal of Wildland Fire published in 2007. “Fire dates based on tree rings and fire scars indicate that fires occurred in 1780 at several locations, including the Algonquin Highlands of southern Ontario, western Maryland, western Virginia, the Missouri Ozark Highlands, the Boston Mountains of Arkansas, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota.” 

Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire.

1915: A spring storm came to an end after producing widespread snow. Total snowfall from the storm included: 17.6 inches in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, 8 inches at Cheyenne, Wyoming, 7 inches at Chadron and 3.9 inches in North Platte, Nebraska.

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WX History: May 11th

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.

Source: History.com

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.

Source: NWS Office in Dallas/Fort Worth.

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WX History: April 7th

1926: Lightning started a disastrous oil fire at San Luis Obispo, California, which lasted for five days, spreading 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 dollars.

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 dollars in damage. *More research is needed on this event*

 

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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.