WX History: August 1st

1983: During the early afternoon hours, a strong microburst swept across Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.  Although the base anemometer was not calibrated at extreme wind speeds, the peak gust hit 149 mph. It was reported that Air Force One, with President Reagan on board, landed 6 minutes before the peak gust.

Source: Capital Weather Gang

1985: A devastating flash flood and hailstorm struck Cheyenne, Wyoming during the evening of August 1st, 1985. Twelve people lost their lives and damage was estimated to be in excess of $65 million. The NWS Office in Cheyenne measured 6.06 inches in 24 hours. Hail, up to 2 inches in diameter pummeled parts of the city, reaching depths of nearly a foot deep. 

Aug 1, 1985 Cheyenne Flood

Source: Meteorological Analysis of the Cheyenne, Wyoming, Flash Flood and Hailstorm of 1 August 1985 – NOAA Technical Report.

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WX History: June 29th

1904: Tornado hits Karacharov Village area of Moscow killing about 24 people.

June 29, 1904 Russia Tornado

Source: Englishrussia.com

1998: A derecho which originated in far southeast South Dakota moved across Illinois during the afternoon and evening and continued as far east as Ohio the next morning. Every county in central Illinois sustained some damage, as these severe thunderstorms passed. Winds gusted in the 60 to 80 mph range, with some localized microbursts producing winds more than 100 mph. Significant damage occurred in the microburst areas, including the towns of Morton, McLean, LeRoy, and Tolono. In Tolono, 22 cars of a southbound 101-car Illinois Central freight train were blown off the tracks. It was unknown how many cars were picked up by the wind, but 16 cars were turned over, and another six derailed but remained upright. The train was en route to Centralia from Chicago with a load of mixed freight, including plastic pellets and meal. The freight cars empty weighed about 60,000 pounds, while a full one weighs about 260,000 pounds. Overall, 12 people were injured, and damage was estimated around $16 million dollars.

June 29, 1998 Corn Belt Derecho

Source: Storm Prediction Center.

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WX History: June 24th

1929: In Durban, South Africa, a storm drops hailstones the size of baseballs. The rattle produced by the storm is described as sounding like “machine gun fire.”

June 24, 1929 Durban, South Africa Hail

Source: NOAA Photo Library.

1975:  An Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 crashed at JFK airport in New York City. 113 of the 124 people on board the aircraft died. Researcher Theodore Fujita studied the incident and discovered that a microburst caused the crash. His research led to improved air safety. The tower never experienced the microburst, which was held back by a sea-breeze front. The plane crashed 2,400 feet short of the runway.

Source: History.com

2003: An F4 tornado destroyed or heavily damaged all buildings, other structures, and vehicles in the small town of Manchester, in Kingsbury County. Many homes were stripped to the foundation. Of the six residents of the town, four were injured and were transported to hospitals. Three were deemed to be severely injured, but none of the injuries were listed as life-threatening. Throughout the path, the tornado was observed to have multiple vortices. The tornado was seen and videotaped by many storm chasers and researchers. Researchers also deployed weather sensors around the town of Manchester. One of these sensors recorded a 100 millibar pressure drop as the tornado passed. This tornado was part of a larger outbreak in eastern South Dakota, which experienced a record 67 tornadoes within an eight-hour time frame.

Source: NWS Office in Sioux Falls. Video from Reed Timmer.

WX History: June 22nd

1919: The second deadliest tornado in Minnesota’s history occurred on this day. 59 people were killed as an estimated F5 tornado ripped through the town of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. 400 buildings were destroyed. A blank check was found over 60 miles away, and lumber was carried 10 miles. Of the 59 victims, 35 were guests of the Grand Hotel.

June 22, 1916 Fergus Falls Tornado
Digging through the debris of the Grand Hotel. 

Source: GenDisaster.com

1928: A farmer near Greensburg, KS looked up into the heart of a tornado. He described its walls as “rotating clouds lit with constant flashes of lightning and a strong gassy odor with a screaming, hissing sound.”

Source: Seeing the Inside of a Tornado – NOAA History.

2003: A hailstone measuring 7.0 inches in diameter with a circumference of 18.75 inches and weighing 1.33 pounds falls in Aurora, Nebraska. The National Weather Service reports this is the second largest hailstone ever documented in the U.S. by weight, and the largest by size at that time. The world’s largest hailstone NOW was produced from storms in South Dakota; 8″ in diameter and 1.9375 lbs. on July 23, 2010.

June 22, 2003 Aurora Hailstone
The image above is courtesy of the National Center for Environmental Information.

2007: The first officially documented F5 tornado in Canada struck the town of Elie, Manitoba population 500 people. Video of the storm showed a heavy van being whirled through the air. The storm also tossed an almost entire house several hundred yards through the air before it disintegrated. The tornado traveled across the landscape for about 35 minutes covering 3.4 miles and leaving a damage path 984 feet wide. Wind speeds in the tornado were later estimated at 260-316 mph. Fortunately, no fatalities or serious injuries were reported.

Source: Capital Weather Gang.

WX History: June 20th

1942

Source: Howard County Historical Society.

1957: An F5 tornado cut a swath through Fargo, North Dakota killing 10 and injuring at least 103 people. This tornado was the northernmost confirmed F5 tornado until the Elie, Manitoba tornado on June 22, 2007.

June 20, 1957 Fargo Tornado path

Source(s): NDSU University Archives and Detailed Analysis of the Fargo Tornadoes.

1972

1989: A meteorological “hot flash” hit Pierre, South Dakota. Descending air from collapsing thunderstorms caused the temperature in Pierre to warm from 86 degrees at midnight to 96 at one a.m. and to 104 at 2 a.m. Pierre’s record high for the date of 105 degrees in 1974.

1970: Nesbyen, Norway reached 96 degrees on this day, becoming the warmest temperature recorded in Norway.

2001: Large hail driven by strong thunderstorm winds raked Denver International and front-range airports. Wind gusting to 54 mph along with hail as large 2 inches in diameter punched at least 14 thousand holes and cracks in the flat roofs of several buildings at Denver International Airport. Also, 93 planes and hundreds of cars were damaged. About 100 flights had to be canceled stranding 1500 travelers. The Airport was completely shut down for about 20 minutes. The storm also damaged ground avoidance radar used to track planes on the ground to prevent collisions. Damage was estimated at 10 million dollars not counting the damage to the 93 airliners. The storm moved south and struck Watkins Colorado with hail as large as 2 1/2 inches in diameter and winds gusting to 60 mph. 

WX History: June 18th

1958: Hailstones up to four inches in diameter killed livestock as a storm passed from Joliet to Belfry in Carbon County, Montana.

1967

1972: Hurricane Agnes was one of the largest June hurricanes on record. The system strengthened into a tropical storm during the night of the 15th and a hurricane on the 18th as it moved northward in the Gulf of Mexico.

Agnes_1972_rainfall

Source: The Weather Prediction Center.

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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.

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: June 3rd

1860: Iowa’s infamous Camanche Tornado, likely an F5 storm, kills 92 and injures 200. Every home and business were destroyed. It was one of the most damaging families of tornadoes ever to strike the US and resulted in more farm fatalities than any other tornado except for the Tri-State tornado.

 

June 3, 1860 Comanche Tornado
Above is an artist rendition of the tornado.

 

Source: Retro Iowa

1921: Heavy rains caused flash flooding over the southeastern portion of Colorado. The flooding cost the lives of 100 people and millions of dollars in property damage.

 

June 3, 1921 Colorado Flooding
Debris on the 200 block of North Main Street in Pueblo, CO, after the June 3, 1921, flood. The photograph is courtesy of the Pueblo City-County Library District.

 

Source: History.com

1959: Thunderstorms in northwestern Kansas produced up to 18 inches of hail in Selden. Hail fell for 85 minutes, while the temperature dropped from near 80 degrees before the storm to 38 degrees at the height of the storm.

June 3, 1959 Selden KS Hailstorm

Source: Monthly Weather Review.

1993: Early morning severe thunderstorms dumped huge hailstones across northern Oklahoma. Hail, up to 6 inches in diameter in Enid, went through roofs of homes, damaged three jets at Vance Air Force Base, and did $500,000 in damage at a car dealership. Winds gusts reached 70 mph at Vance Air Force Base as well. Hail damage to the wheat crop was estimated at $70 million dollars. 

1997: It was a chilly day in the East. The high temperature at Philadelphia International Airport was only 59 degrees, tying a record-low maximum for the date set back in 1881. The temperature at Middletown, Pennsylvania only rose to 58 degrees, breaking the record-low maximum for the date of 59 degrees set back in 1915. Washington, DC only reached 58 degrees, breaking the old record-low maximum of 59 set back in 1915. Central Park in New York City only reached 61 degrees.

WX History: May 27th

1771: In Virginia, a wall of water came roaring down the James River Valley following ten to twelve days of intense rain. As water swept through Richmond, buildings, boats, animals, and vegetation were lost. About one hundred fifty people were killed as the River reached a flood stage of forty-five feet above normal. A monument to the flood was inscribed by Ryland Randolph, of Curles, in 1771-72: ” … all the great rivers of this country were swept by inundations never before experienced which changed the face of nature and left traces of violence that will remain for ages.”

Source: The Flood of 1771 – Historical Marker Database.

1896: A massive tornado struck Saint Louis, Missouri killing 255 people and caused thirteen million dollars damage. The tornado path was short but cut across a densely populated area. It touched down six miles west of Eads Bridge in Saint Louis and widened to a mile as it crossed into East Saint Louis. The tornado was the most destructive of record in the U.S. at that time. It pierced a five-eighths inch thick iron sheet with a two by four-inch pine plank. A brilliant display of lightning accompanied the storm.

May 27, 1890 St. Louis TornadoSources: National Centers for Environmental Information and the St. Louis Public Library.

1973

1997: An F5 tornado killed 27 people in Jarrell, Texas. Although tornado warnings were issued 30 minutes in advance and local sirens were sounded, there were few places to go for safety. Most homes were on slabs, with no basements. Houses were swept clean off their foundations, with little debris left behind. Total damage was $20 million dollars. The same thunderstorm complex produced a wind gust to 122 mph at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Source: TornadoTalk.com and the History.com

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WX History: May 26th

1771: Thomas Jefferson recorded the greatest flood ever known in Virginia. The great Virginia flood occurred as torrential rains in the mountains brought all rivers in the state to record high levels.

Source: Jefferson’s Garden Book.

1917: A major tornadic thunderstorm took a 293-mile track across parts of central Illinois and Indiana. Once believed to be a single tornado, the later study indicated it was likely at least eight separate tornadoes. The first touchdown was about 50 miles south-southeast of Quincy, Illinois. The tornadic storm tracked due east, before beginning a northeast curve near Charleston; separate tornadic storms then curved southeast from Charleston. The towns of Mattoon and Charleston bore the brunt of the tornado. Damage from this severe tornado in Mattoon was about 2.5 blocks wide and 2.5 miles long, with over 700 houses destroyed, while the Charleston portion was 600 yards wide and 1.5 miles long, with 220 homes damaged. Damage in the two towns amounted to about $2 million dollars 1917 dollars. Dozens of farms were hit along the path, and at least three farm homes were swept away between Manhattan and Monee. Another estimated F4 tornado touched down 6 miles south of Crown Point and devastated a dozen farms. A total of 7 people died, and 120 were injured. 53 people were killed in Mattoon, and 38 died in Charleston. Overall, 101 people in Illinois were killed during the tornado outbreak, with 638 injured.

Source(s): NWS Office in Lincoln, Illinois.  Eastern Illinois University

2003: A BMI Airbus bound for Cyprus from Manchester, England encountered a violent thunderstorm over Germany. The plane bounced and twisted violently as it ran into severe turbulence with huge hailstones pounding the exterior. A football-sized hole was punched in the aircraft’s exterior. None of the 213 passengers or eight crew members has been severely hurt.

May 26, 2003 Airplane

Source: AERO News Network.

2009: Northeast of Anchorage, Alaska, two hikers climbed a ridge to see a developing storm better. Lightning knocked the couple unconscious. Regaining consciousness, they called emergency services as the woman was unable to walk. The man’s shoes looked as though they had melted.

May 26, 2009 Anchorage lightning

Source: May 2009 Storm Data.