WX History: August 5th

1843: A spectacular cloudburst near Philadelphia turned the small creeks and streams entering the Delaware River into raging torrents. According to David Ludlum, as much as sixteen inches of rain fell in just three hours. Flooding destroyed thirty-two county bridges and caused nineteen deaths. It is believed that several small tornadoes accompanied the torrential rains, one of which upset and sank more than thirty barges on the Schuylkill River.

Source: Great Rain Storm and Flood – Delaware County History.

1875: Several tornadoes moved across northern and central Illinois. One of the stronger tornadoes touched down in Warren and Knox County where it destroyed 25 homes and killed two people. Another in a series of tornadoes touched down near Knoxville and moved east into northern Peoria County. This estimated F4 tornado injured 40 people and was described by eyewitnesses as looking like a “monstrous haystack.”

Aug 5, 1875 Macomb Torndado Damge
The image above was Fisher Foundry in Macomb, IL. The image is courtesy of the Archives and Special Collections at Western Illinois University Libraries.

Source: Archives and Special Collections, Western Illinois University Libraries.

1980: Hurricane Allen was one of the most intense hurricanes ever observed in the Atlantic. On this date, the hurricane reached Category 5 status for the first of three times during its long path across the Atlantic as reconnaissance aircraft measured 911 millibars (26.90 inches of mercury) pressure in the eastern Caribbean while south of Puerto Rico.

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WX History: August 4th

1609: Sir Thomas Gates, future governor of Virginia, was on his way to England from Jamestown. On Saint James Day, while between Cuba and the Bahamas, a “most terrible and vehement storm” raged for 44 hours. One of the small vessels in the fleet sank to the bottom of the Florida Straits. Four of the remaining vessels reached Virginia soon after the storm…followed a few days later by three other ships. The flagship, known as Sea Adventure, disappeared and was presumed lost. A small bit of fortune befell the ship and her crew when they made landfall on Bermuda. Although the vessel was damaged on a surrounding coral reef, all survived and spent ten months on the unsettled isle. The Spaniards, though shipwrecked on the island many times, had failed to colonize there. The British claimed the island and quickly settled the subtropical isle. In May 1610, they set forth for Jamestown, this time arriving at their destination. This near catastrophe likely provided the inspiration and background for William Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest.

Source(s): BBC.CO.UK and Virginia Hurricane History from the Weather Prediction Center.

1882: A vivid aurora was visible from Oregon to Maine, down the east coast as far as Mayport, FL, and inland as far as Wellington, KS. Observers at Louisville, KY noted “merry dancers” across the sky, and observers at Saint Vincent, MN noted it was probably the most brilliant ever seen at that location.

Aug 4, 1882 Auroras

Source: Monthly Weather Review.

2008: Severe storms moved across northern Illinois and Indiana with tornadoes and stiff winds reported. With tornado sirens blaring, the game at Wrigley Field between Cubs and Astros was stopped as fans were told to evacuate to the lower concourse. Passengers at O’Hare International Airport were evacuated to lower levels of buildings as well. An estimated 350 flights were canceled.

Source: NWS Office in Chicago, Illinois.

2009: The strongest tornado to hit Quebec since the same date in 1994 ripped through Mont-Laurier. The F2 tornado tore through the small western Quebec town severely damaging about 40 homes. Two men were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Source: Tornado slams Quebec’s Mont-Laurier – CBCNEWS

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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.

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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: 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.

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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.

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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 20th

1894: A record late snow of two to eight inches whitened parts of central and eastern Kentucky. Lexington received six inches of snow, and Springfield Kentucky received 5 inches.

1916: In three consecutive years, a tornado passed near or through the town of Codell, Kansas. The tornado on this day was an estimated F2. The estimated F3 tornado in 1917 moved two miles west of town. Finally, an estimated F4 tornado moved through Codell on May 20th, 1918. This tornado killed 9 and injured at least 65 others.

May 20, 1916 Codell, Kansas Tornado X3

Source: The Weather Doctor.

1957: A tornado touched down to the southwest of Kansas City and traveled a distance of seventy-one miles cutting a swath of near destruction through the southeastern suburbs of Ruskin Heights and Hickman Mills. The tornado claimed the lives of forty-five persons and left hundreds homeless. It was the worst weather disaster of record for Kansas City. About all that remained of one house were a small table and a fish bowl atop, with the fish still swimming about inside the bowl. A canceled check from Hickman Hills was found in Ottumwa, Iowa, 165 miles away. Pilots reported debris at an altitude of 30,000 feet.

May 20, 1957 RUSKIN TORNADO JANICKE KCSTAR
This tornado was near Spring Hill, Kansas. The original photograph was taken from the north porch of the Methodist Church. The photograph has been cosmetically enhanced.

Source: NWS Office in Kansas City.

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WX History: April 1st

1875: The London Times published the first daily newspaper weather map. The first American newspaper weather map would be issued on 5/12/1876 in the New York Herald. Weather maps would first appear on a regular basis beginning on 5/9/1879 in the New York Daily Graphic.

1960: A satellite designed by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) launched to become the nation’s first weather satellite. That satellite, the Television InfraRed Observational Satellite, or TIROS 1, operated for only 78 days but demonstrated the feasibility of monitoring Earth’s cloud cover and weather patterns from space. This NASA program provided the first accurate weather forecasts based on data gathered from space.

April 1, 1960 1st Picture from TIROS
Above is the first picture from TIROS 1 on April 1st, 1960. The satellite would cease operations in mid-June 1960, due to an electrical failure.

1970: A snow storm produced 5 to 12 inches of snow over northern Illinois on April 1 through the 2nd. The storm closed the O’Hare airport.

April 1, 1970 Illinois Snowfall Map
The snowfall map is courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.

April 1. 1970 Chicago Snow

Source: Chicago Tribune Archives.

1973: A tornado touches down near Brentsville, Virginia, then traveled to Fairfax hitting Woodson High School. This F2 tornado injured 37 and caused $14 million in damage.

April 1, 1973 Fairfax Tornado Track
A newspaper clipping showing the path of the tornado.

Source: braddockheritage.org

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