WX History: July 15th

1885: The first of three damaging tornadoes hit the Highmore area of South Dakota.  Two small homes were destroyed before the funnel turned to the east, then northeast and north before lifting. This tornado was estimated to have an F2 strength and was seen in all directions for 20 miles. The second tornado appeared to be motionless 3 miles east of Harrold, and then moved east to Holabird, in Hyde County, where it destroyed two homes and dissipated. A third tornado, this one with an estimated F3 strength, formed to the west of Highmore and moved east into town, then lifted about 4 miles east of town. Three homes were destroyed, and about 20 other buildings were damaged at Highmore. A farmer was killed 2 miles east of town. Losses included many new buildings, including a church and a skating rink.

July 15, 1885 Highmore, SD TornadoJuly 15, 1885, Highmore, SD Tornado · Sat, Jul 18, 1885 – 2 · Evening Herald (Fort Scott, Kansas) · Newspapers.com

1888: The Bandai volcano erupts on the Japanese island of Honshu on this day in 1888, killing hundreds and burying many nearby villages in ash. Click HERE for more information from the History Channel.

1901: The city of Marquette, Michigan set their all-time record high temperature with 108-degree reading.

2006: Record heat occurred across central and north central South Dakota and into parts of northeast South Dakota. Afternoon high temperatures ranged from 105 to as high as 120 degrees. The coop observer station 17 miles west-southwest of Fort Pierre tied the state record high temperature with 120 degrees. 


WX History: June 15th

1935: An estimated F3 tornado moved east from 17 miles southwest of Onida in central South Dakota. There was near F4 damage to one farm about 9 miles SSW of Onida. The house was destroyed, 60 cattle were killed, and five people were injured. At another farm, the home shifted over the storm cellar, trapping a family.

June 15, 1935 Central SD TornadoJune 15, 1935 Central SD Tornado Mon, Jun 17, 1935 – 1 · Rapid City Journal (Rapid City, South Dakota) · Newspapers.com

1972: A look back at Hurricane Agnes.

1991: The second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th Century began as Mt. Pinatubo injected 15 to 30 million tons of sulfur dioxide 100,000 feet into the atmosphere. 343 people were killed in the Philippines as a result of the eruptions, and 200,000 were left homeless. Material from the eruption would spread around the globe, leading to climate changes worldwide as the sun’s energy was blocked out and global temperatures cooled by as much as one degree Fahrenheit. 1992 was globally one of the coldest since the 1970s.

2017: A very tall waterspout spun up on Mobile Bay Thursday morning as thunderstorms moved southeast into the Gulf of Mexico. 

WX History: June 14th

1903: Major flash flooding along Willow Creek destroyed a significant portion of Heppner, Oregon on this day. With a death toll of 247 people, it remains the deadliest natural disaster in Oregon.

June 14, 1903 Willow Creek Flood
Downtown Heppner during the flood.

Source: The Oregon Encyclopedia.



WX History: May 18th

1883: A large tornado outbreak on record in Illinois affected the northern and central parts of the state. At least 14 strong to violent tornadoes touched down killing 52 people. The largest death toll from a single tornado was 12, with 50 injuries, from an estimated F4 tornado which moved from near Jacksonville to 5 miles west of Petersburg. This tornado destroyed the town of Literberry. Another tornado, with an estimated F4 intensity, killed 11 people and injured 50 along its path from the south edge of Springfield northeast to near Kenney. This particular tornado reportedly drove 10 inches by 12-inch oak timbers 10 feet into the ground. Another estimated F4 tornado in far northern Illinois touched down near Capron and tracked for 17 miles before lifting in far southern Wisconsin. Lastly, an estimated F4 tornado tracked 20 miles through Kenosha and Racine Counties in Wisconsin. Eight people were killed, and 85 were injured.

1980: Mount Saint Helens erupted, spewing ash and smoke sixty-three thousand feet into the air. Heavy ash covered the ground to the immediate northwest, and small particles were carried to the Atlantic coast.

May 18, 1980 Mount St Helens Eruption

Source: USGS.gov


WX History: May 8th

1784: A deadly hailstorm occurred along the Wateree River in South Carolina. The hailstones, measuring as much as nine inches in circumference, killed several persons, and a great number of sheep, lambs, and birds.

May 8, 1784: South Carolina HailstormMay 8, 1784: South Carolina Hailstorm · Thu, Jul 29, 1784 – Page 3 · The Pennsylvania Packet (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

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.


Source: The Storm Prediction Center.

2017: Golf ball to baseball size hail fell on the Denver metro, causing $1.4 billion in damages. This is now Denver’s costliest hailstorm on record.


WX History: April 5th

1815: The Tambora Volcano in Java began erupting on this day. A few days later on the 10th, Tambora produced the largest eruption known on the planet in the last 10,000 years. Ash from the eruption would circle the globe, blocking sunlight and leading to the unusually cold summer in 1816. On 6/6/1816, snow would fall as far south of Connecticut with some places in New England picking up 10 inches. On July 4th, 1816, the temperature at Savannah GA plunged to 46 degrees. Eastern North America and Europe had freezing nighttime temperatures in August.

Source: Volcano Discovery.

1886: One to three inches of snow fell over central and southern Arkansas.

1936: Approximately 454 people were killed in the second-deadliest tornado outbreak ever in U.S. More than 12 twisters struck Arkansas to South Carolina. An estimated F5 tornado cut a path 400 yards wide through the residential section of Tupelo, Mississippi. At least 216 people were killed, and 700 were injured. The tornado had a 15-mile long path and did $3 million dollars in damage. One of the survivors in Tupelo was a baby of an economically strapped family who had an infant they’d recently named Elvis Aaron Presley. Gainesville, Georgia had at least 203 fatalities and 934 injuries from an estimated F4 tornado that occurred early the following morning. 

Source: Monthly Weather Review, May 1936.

1972: An F3 tornado, touched down at a marina on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, and then tore through Vancouver, Washington. The tornado killed six people, injuring 300 others, and causing more than five million dollars damage. It was the deadliest tornado of the year and the worst on record for Washington.

Source: NWS Assessment.  Scott Sistek from KomoNews.

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. Click HERE for more information from the NWS Office in Louisville, Kentucky.

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.


February 12th

1784: Ice floes were spotted in the Gulf of Mexico after passing out of the Mississippi River in February 1784. Ice blocked the river at New Orleans, Louisiana. The ice in New Orleans is one of two times that this occurred, the other during the Great Arctic Outbreak of 1899. The eruption of Laki in Iceland from June 8, 1783, through February 7, 1784, is the likely cause for the severe winter of 1783 to 1784.

Feb 12, 1784 Laki Fissure
The image is the center of the Laki Fissure.

Source: The Ultimate History Project.

1899: More from the bitter cold outbreak of 1899. Texas and the Eastern Plains experienced their coldest morning of modern record. The mercury dipped to 8 degrees below zero at Fort Worth, Texas and 22 degrees below zero at Kansas City, Missouri. The temperature at Camp Clarke, Nebraska plunged to 47 degrees below zero to establish a record for the state. The all-time record low for Oklahoma City was set. The mercury fell to a frigid 17 degrees below zero and broke the previous record low of 12 below zero, which was set on the previous day. In the eastern U.S., Washington D.C. hit 15 degrees below zero, while Charleston SC received a record four inches of snow. Snow was reported in Fort Myers, Tampa, and Tallahassee in Florida.

Feb 12, 1899 Fl Capitol Snowball fight
The image above is a snowball fight on the steps of the Florida Capitol building.

Source(s): National Centers for Environmental Information and Florida Memory.

1958: Snow blanketed northern Florida, with Tallahassee reporting a record 2.8 inches. A ship in the Gulf of Mexico, 25 miles south of Fort Morgan Alabama, reported zero visibility in heavy snow on the afternoon of the 12th.

2017: Imminent failure of the auxiliary spillway on the Oroville Dam in California.

WX History: January 4th

1641: According to historical records, Mount Parker, a stratovolcano on Mindanao Island in the Philippines erupted on this day. The eruption caused the formation of a crater lake called Lake Maughan.  

Source: The Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program.

The image above is courtesy of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

1917: A tornado with estimated F3 damage cut a 15-mile path and struck a school at Vireton in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, killing 16 people. It ranks as the 4th worst school tornado disaster in U.S. history.

Source: Texas History.

The article above is from the Sweetwater Daily Reporter in Sweetwater, Texas. This article was published on January 10, 1917.

1997: The temperature rose to 61 degrees in Flint and Detroit, Michigan. The normal high temperature for January 4 is only 30 degrees!