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

2017

2017

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.

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.

2017

 

WX History: May 22nd

1876: Denver, Colorado was drenched with 6.50 inches of rain in 24 hours, an all-time record for that location.

1986: A devastating hailstorm hit the Sichuan Province of China. Reports indicate that up to 100 people were killed, 35,000 homes destroyed and entire crops devastated.

2011: On this day, one of the most devastating tornadoes in the nation’s history directly killed 158 people and injured over 1,000 in Joplin, Missouri. The Joplin EF5 tornado was the first single tornado to result in over 100 fatalities since the June 8, 1953, Flint, Michigan tornado.

 

May 22, 2011 Joplin Radar
Above is the radar shortly after the tornado tore through Joplin. Note the debris ball on the radar reflectivity.

 

WX History: May 15th

1896: An estimated F5 tornado struck Sherman, Texas, killing 73 people; 60 of them in downtown. Tornado victims were found as far as 400 yards away from their original location. A trunk lid was carried 35 miles by the twister.

May 15, 1896 Sherman, Texas Tornado Damage
The image above is Sherman, Texas following the tornado. The image is courtesy of the Herald Democrat.

Source(s): History.com and A History of the Great Sherman Tornado by H.L. Piner.

1957: An F4 tornado killed 20 people at Silverton, Texas. A 5,000-pound gasoline storage tank was reportedly carried 1.5 miles and dropped into a lake. Residents said the tornado “looked like red sand, boiling and rumbling.”

May 15 1957 Silverston, Texas Tornado Damage
The image above is Silverton, Texas following the tornado.

Source: GenDisasters.com

1968: An F5 tornado moved through Butler, Chickasaw, Floyd, Franklin, and Howard Counties in northeast Iowa. The tornado moved northeast from north of Hansell, passing east of Aredale and Marble Rock, before devastating Charles City. The tornado grew larger and more intense as it approached Charles City. The huge funnel passed directly through town, destroying 337 homes, and causing about $30 million in damage. The tornado continued to the northeast hitting Elma, and caused another $1.5 million in damages. From there the tornado turned to the north and dissipated south of Chester, 4 miles south of the Minnesota border. Nearly 2000 homes were damaged or destroyed. All 13 deaths occurred in Floyd County. 450 injuries were reported in Floyd County and 12 injuries in Howard County. Another F5 tornado moved north-northeast from southwest of Oelwein to Maynard and east of Randalia in Fayette County, IA. Homes were leveled and swept away in both Oelwein and Maynard. The warning sirens had sounded for only 15 seconds before the power failed in Oelwein. Nearly 1000 homes were damaged or destroyed along the path, and 34 people had to be hospitalized. Almost 1,000 families were affected. In addition to these F5 tornadoes, an F2 tornado touched down 6 miles south of Cresco, IA and two weak F1 tornadoes touched down in Dodge County, MN. Also, baseball size hail fell in Fayette County, IA.

May 15 Charles City Tornado
Floyd County, Iowa Sheriff L.L. Lane was standing near the county fairgrounds when he took this picture of the tornado.

Source: KWWL 40th Anniversary of Charles City Tornado.

1972: The worst ice jam flooding of memory for long-time residents took place along the Kuskokwim River and Yukon River in Alaska. It was the first time since 1890 that the two rivers “flowed as one.” The towns of Oscarville and Napaskiak have been entirely inundated.

2017

2017

 

WX History: May 8th

1784: Deadly hailstorm in South Carolina hits the town of Winnsborough. The hailstones, measuring as much as nine inches in circumference, killed several persons, and a great number of sheep, lambs, and birds.

1902: On May 7th, Martinique’s Mount Pelee began the deadliest volcanic eruption in the 20th century. On this day, the city of Saint Pierre, which some called the Paris of the Caribbean, was virtually wiped off the map. The volcano killed an estimated 30,000 people.

Source: History.com

1965: The strongest tornado recorded in South Dakota tracked across eastern Tripp County. It was part of a larger tornado outbreak in Nebraska and South Dakota during the afternoon through late evening hours.

May 4, 1965 SD Tornado Track
The tornado map above is courtesy of the Midwest Regional Climate Center.

Source: NWS Office in Rapid City, South Dakota, Midwest Regional Climate Center Tornado Track Tool, and the Chicago Tribune.

1979: Widespread damage occurred in the Tampa Bay area. The 19 tornadoes reported are the most in one day in Florida history. Three people drowned in Pinellas County where flooding was most severe. Rainfall amounts of 18 inches in 24 hours were reported with 12.73 inches falling at Tampa, FL; with 7.84 inches of that in just six hours. Worst hit was the Polk County community of Auburndale where a tornado made a direct hit on the Auburndale School. Only eight students were hurt by flying debris. An 83-year-old woman was killed as she hid in an unreinforced concrete block storage shed. 98 trailers were damaged or destroyed, and 40 people were injured.

2003: This was the second of three consecutive days with strong to violent tornadoes around Oklahoma City. A violent F4 tornado that affected Moore, Oklahoma City, Midwest City and Choctaw took on a path very similar to the 5/3/1999 devastating tornado. This particular storm back in 2003 affected areas from Newcastle and Moore to Del City and Choctaw. Although over 130 people were injured, there were no fatalities.

May 8, 2003 Moore OK tornado

Radar image of the Moore/Oklahoma City supercell around 5:25 PM, CDT on May 8, 2003. The storm was at its peak intensity in southeastern Oklahoma City. Image courtesy of the NWS Office in Norman, OK.

Source: NWS Office in Norman, Oklahoma.

2009: A deadly derecho squall line crosses far southern Illinois at midday devastating the Carbondale area on its way across a 1,200-mile swath of terrain covering sections of nine states. Hundreds of homes and businesses are damaged or destroyed in Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri. The wind gusts to 106 mph in the Carbondale area with sustained winds measured at up to 90 mph. In southern Illinois, the storm system peels siding and roofs off homes and other buildings, blowing out car windows and tearing up trailer parks.

May_8TH

Source: The Storm Prediction Center.

2017

 

WX History: May 5th

1933: An estimated F4 tornado cut a 35-mile path from near Brent into Shelby County, Alabama. The town of Helena, AL was especially hard hit, as 14 people died. The tornado roared through Helena at 2:30 am.

1964: A two state, F3 tornado moved northeast from 4 miles WNW of Herreid, South Dakota to the south of Streeter, North Dakota, a distance of about 55 miles. Blacktop was ripped for 400 yards on Highway 10, five miles north of Herreid, South Dakota. Two barns were destroyed northeast of Hague, North Dakota, with a dozen cattle killed on one farm. The F3 damage occurred at one farm about midway between Wishek and Hogue. Other barns were destroyed south of Burnstad.

1987: Unseasonably hot weather prevailed in the western U.S. A dozen cities in California reported record high temperatures for the date. Afternoon highs of 93 degrees at San Francisco, 98 degrees at San Jose, 100 degrees at Sacramento, and 101 degrees at Redding were the warmest on record for so early in the season. The high of 94 degrees at Medford, Oregon was also the warmest on record for so early in the season.

1995: A supercell thunderstorms brought torrential rains and large hail up to four inches in diameter to Fort Worth, Texas. This storm also struck a local outdoor festival known as the Fort Worth Mayfest. At the time the storm was the costliest hailstorm in the history of the US, causing more than $2 billion in damage.

Source: History.com

2007

 

WX History: May 4th

1774: Snow was reported in the Williamsburg Gazette to have fallen in Dumfries, Virginia. George Washington’s weather diary logged at Mount Vernon that it was a cold day with spits of snow and a hard wind from the northwest. Thomas Jefferson near Charlottesville recorded that the Blue Ridge Mountains was covered with snow. The late snow and frost killed most of the fruit crop in the northern part of the state. It also snowed north across Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

1922: The first of two tornadoes that formed over Austin, Texas was called the “western cloud.” It was more visible, but caused much less damage than the “eastern cloud.”

May 4, 1922 Austin Texas Tornado 3
The image above is courtesy of the Austin Public Library. This storm produced the only major tornado in Austin’s history. The tornadoes on May 4th killed 13 and injured 14 others.
May 4, 1922 Austin Texas Tornado
This tornado was seen from the rooftop on downtown Congress Avenue.

Source: The Portal to Texas History.

1996

2007: A devastating EF5 twister demolishes nearly every structure in Greensburg around 9:30 pm (CDT) and kills ten. The mammoth wedge tornado cuts a swath 1.7 miles (2.7 km) wide and 22 miles (35 km) long across the Kansas landscape. It is the worst single tornado to touch down in the US in eight years.

May 4, 2007 Greensburg Kansas Tornado Damage
Greensburg, Kansas on May 16, 2007. The center of town 12 days after an EF5 tornado hit with 200 mph winds. The photo is courtesy of Greg Henshall from FEMA.

Source: NWS Office in Dodge City, Kansas.

WX History: April 30th

1888: 246 people died in the world’s deadliest hailstorm in India. Hailstones were reportedly the size of baseballs. 1600 domesticated animals at Moradabad perished.

April 30, 1888 Newpaper clipping of India hailstorm
The newspaper clipping above is from The Argus in Melbourne, Australia, on May 8th, 1888.

Source: History.com

1924: A major tornado outbreak occurred from Alabama to Virginia on the 29 through the 30th. 26 tornadoes were of F2 intensity or greater. A total of 111 people were killed, and over 1,100 injured. An estimated F4 tornado tore through Steedman and Horrell Hill, SC. 55 people were killed from this tornado.

April 30, 1924 South Carolina tornado info

Source: Climatological Data of South Carolina in 1924.

1953: An F4 tornado, 300 yards in width leveled homes on the north side of Warner-Robins Georgia, and barracks on the south side of the Warner-Robins Air Force Base. 19 people were killed and were 300 injured. 

Source: Robins Air Force Base.

1967

2010