WX History: June 8th

1951: A tornado was captured on motion pictures for the first time in the USA.  Click HERE for the Weather History Blog post.

1966: A tornado ripped right through the heart of the capital city of Topeka, KS killing sixteen persons and causing 100 million dollars damage. The F5 tornado, which struck during the evening, cut a swath of near total destruction eight miles long and four blocks wide. Television station WIBW covered a tornado live, dispatching crews to the southwest of Topeka, KS when the tornado warning was issued. Newscaster Bill Kurtis would be lauded for sounding the alarm with urgent warnings as the tornado cut a path across the city. The death toll would certainly have been higher without the station’s coverage. It was the most destructive tornado of record up until that time. 

June 8, 1966 Topeka Tornado

Source: NWS Office in Topeka, Kansas, and TornadoTalk.com


1995: A tornado cut through the west side of Pampa TX (northeast of Amarillo), resulting in F4 rated damage.

2001: Tropical Storm Allison hits Houston, Texas, for the second time in three days. Louisiana and southern Texas were inundated with rain. Baton Rouge received 18 inches over just a couple of days. Some portions of Texas racked up 36 inches by June 11.

June 8th 2001 TS Allison
The image above is courtesy of the NOAA Satellite and Information Service.

Source: History.com and NOAA Satellite and Information Service.

WX History: May 29th

1947: An unprecedented late-spring snowstorm blasts portions of the Midwest from eastern Wyoming to eastern Upper Michigan. The heavy snow caused severe damage to power and telephone lines and the already-leafed-out vegetation.

May 29, 1947 Snow

Source: NWS Office in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

1982: Two major tornadoes ripped through southern Illinois. The most severe was an F4 that touched down northeast of Carbondale, Illinois then moved to Marion. The twister had multiple vortices within the main funnel. Extensive damage occurred at the Marion Airport. A total of 10 people were killed, and 181 were injured. 648 homes and 200 cars were damaged or destroyed, with total damages around $100 million dollars.

May 29 Tornado in Marion

Source: NWS Office in Paducah, Kentucky.



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.



WX History: May 9th

1918: An F4 tornado moved across Floyd, Chickasaw, and Winneshiek Counties in northeast Iowa from two miles north of Pearl Rock to Calmar. Two people died just east of Calmar when the tornado was a mile wide. Losses in and near Calmar totaled $250,000. Overall, this tornado killed seven people and injured 15 others.

May 9, 1918 Nasha Tornado Damage
A photograph from May 15, 1918, Waverly Democrat shows the destruction the tornado left to a farm outside Nashua, Iowa.


Source: Waverly Newspaper.

1933: An estimated F4 tornado moved through Monroe, Cumberland, and Russell Counties in Kentucky along a 60-mile path. The town of Tompkinsville, KY was the hardest hit with 18 people killed. Overall, 36 people lost their lives.

Source: NWS Office in Louisville, Kentucky.

1966: Record snows fell in the northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, including 3.1 inches at Pittsburgh and 5.4 inches at Youngstown Ohio. Snow also extended across parts of New York State with eight inches reported in the southern Adirondacks.

1990: The 1990 Machilipatnam Cyclone was the worst disaster to affect Southern India since the 1977 Andhra Pradesh cyclone. This category four on the Saffir-Simpson scale had a severe impact on India, with over 967 people reported having been killed. Over 100,000 animals also died in the cyclone with the total cost of damages to crops estimated at over $600 million (1990 USD).

May 9, 1990 Cyclone Machilipatnam
Super Cyclone Machilipatnam on May 8, 1990.


1995: An F3 tornado produced $10 million in damages along its 40-mile path across central Illinois. The tornado caused significant damage in Cantrall where three homes were destroyed, 10 had major damage, and 11 had minor damage. The roof and interior of a grade school suffered extensive damage. The tornado passed about 2 miles southeast of the new NWS Office in Lincoln, Illinois.

May 9, 1995 Lincoln, IL tornado
The image above is courtesy of the NWS Office in Lincoln, Illinois. The building with the white dome is for the upper air balloon launches. The other white ball is the radar.


WX History: April 29th

1910: The temperature at Kansas City MO soared to 95 degrees to establish a record for the month of April. Four days earlier the afternoon high in Kansas City was 44 degrees following a record cold morning low of 34 degrees.

1991: Southeast Bangladesh was devastated by a tropical cyclone with sustained winds of approximately 155 mph in the during the late night hours. A 20-foot storm surge inundated the offshore islands south of Chittagong and pushed water from the Bay of Bengal inland for miles. Best estimated put the loss of life from this cyclone between 135,000 and 145,000 people.

April 29, 1991 Bangladesh Cyclone
Bangladesh cyclone near peak intensity on April 29 at 0623 UTC. This image was produced from data from NOAA-11.


Source: History.com 

WX History: April 22nd

1883: A tornado outbreak from Louisiana to Kansas claimed the lives of at least 127 people and injured over 800 others. One of the tornadoes destroyed the town of Beauregard, Mississippi.

Source: GenDisasters.com

1978: Lightning sometimes strikes tents. In this case, a tent containing some sleeping Girl Scouts was hit by lightning as they were camping at DeGray Lake in Arkansas. Two of the Girl Scouts suffered minor burns.

1999: A one million dollar air charter Bowling 727 flew into large hail. Although the plane and it 66 occupants landed safely, the aircraft was declared a total loss.

2003: Tropical Storm Ana became the first Atlantic tropical storm since records began in 1871 to form during the month April. Maximum sustained winds reached 55 mph. Starting as a non-tropical area of low pressure on the 18th about 210 miles south-southwest of Bermuda, it was classified as a sub-tropical storm early on the 20th, it gained full tropical characteristics near 0000 UTC on the 21st, developing an “eye” feature.

April 22, 2003 Tropical Storm Ana
Tropical Storm Ana on April 21, 2003. The satellite image is courtesy of NASA.



WX History: April 16th

1849: Charleston, South Carolina recorded their latest freeze ever with a temperature of 32 degrees while 6 inches of snow fell at Wilmington, North Carolina. Snow fell as far south as Milledgeville, Georgia. A damaging hard freeze occurred from Texas to Georgia devastating the cotton crop. 

Research is ongoing for this unusual event.

1851: “The Lighthouse Storm” of 1851 struck New England on this date. Heavy gales and high seas pounded the coasts of New Hampshire and eastern Massachusetts. The storm arrived at the time of a full moon, and high tide was producing unusually high storm tides. The storm was so named because it destroyed the lighthouse at Cohasset, Massachusetts. Two assistant lighthouse keepers were killed there when the structure was swept away by the storm tide.

April 16, 1851 Lighthouse Storm
The fog bell was heard furiously clanging around 1 AM on April 17th, 1851, moments before it toppled into the boiling surf.

Source: The New England Lighthouse Storm and the Yankee Gale.




2008: Typhoon Neoguri forms over the South China Sea on the 15th and rapidly intensifying to attain typhoon strength by the 16th, reaching its peak intensity on the 18th with maximum sustained winds near 109 mph. More than 120,000 people are evacuated from Hainan when heavy rains cause flash floods in low-lying areas. Three fatalities are attributed to the storm, though 40 fishermen are reported missing. Neoguri made landfall in China earlier than any other tropical cyclone on record, about two weeks before the previous record set by Typhoon Wanda in 1971.

April 16, 2008 Typhoon Neoguri
Typhoon Neoguri, seen from MODIS on the Aqua satellite at 0550Z on April 17th. The image is courtesy of NASA.

WX History: April 10th


1935: Severe dust storms across Iowa and Kansas closed schools and highways. Dodge City, Kansas experienced its worst dust storm of record, with thick dust reported from the morning of the 9th until after sunset on the 11th. The sky was almost as dark as night at times during the daylight hours. The thick dust suspended traffic on highways and railroads and also suspended most business in town. 

April 10, 1935 Dust Storm
This image is courtesy of the Kansas Heritage Center in Dodge City.

Source: NWS Office in Dodge City, Kansas.


1979: This day was known as “Terrible Tuesday” to the residents of Wichita Falls, Texas as an F4 tornado ripped through the city. A massive F4 tornado smashed into Wichita Falls killing 43 people and causing 300 million dollars in damage. Another tornado struck Vernon, Texas killing eleven people. 

April 10, 1979 Terrible Tuesday
The map above was created by Fujita and Wakimoto from the University of Chicago.
April 10, 1979 Terrible Tuesday Tornado
The photograph above was taken from the roof of Bethania Hospital in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Source: NWS Office in Norman, Oklahoma.




WX History: March 30th

1848: On six reported occasions, the water flow over the American Falls has been totally blocked by ice and ceased to fall. But only once has this happened in the much larger Horseshoe Falls. 

Source: The Day Niagara Falls Went Dry – Dr. Keith Heidern.

1899: A storm that buried Ruby, Colorado under 141 inches of snow came to an end. Ruby was an old abandoned mining town on the Elk Mountain Range in the Crested Butte area.

March 30, 1899 Ruby, Co Snowfall
Cooperative Observers’ Meteorological Record for Ruby, CO for March 1899.

1938: Tornadoes crossing Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois, killed 40 and injured 548. The worst damage was in South Pekin, Illinois, where three city blocks were leveled, and 250 homes were damaged or destroyed. This estimated F3 tornado killed 9. A home destroyed near Edwardsville, Il, was also hit by another tornado in 1883. 

March 30, 1938 Missouri Tornadoes
The tornado track map above is courtesy of the Bangladesh and East India Tornado Prediction Site.
March 30, 1938 South Pekin IL Tornado Damage
A wrecked water tank and building in South Pekin, IL. Image from the Chicago Tribune published on April 1st, 1938.

Source: Bangladeshtornadoes.org.

Source: Chicago Tribune on April 1st, 1938.






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.