Monday, 6 May 2013

Weather History: May 6: Record Temps, Storms, Tornadoes, Wind & Snow

Weather History: May 6: Record Temps, Storms, Tornadoes, Wind & Snow, How far can a lightning discharge travel? If the lightning is a cloud-to-ground bolt, then the travel distance is limited by the distance from the inside of the cloud to the ground, which is usually under 10 miles. Cloud-to-cloud or intra-cloud discharges my reach for 100 miles or more in rare cases.


The second deadliest tornado in U.S. history struck Natchez and Natchez Landing, MS, killing 317 people.


A tornado, estimated at F3 intensity, tracked four miles across Chicago, IL collapsing many buildings. The damaged buildings included a candy factory, a hospital, a freight depot, and a church. The tornado moved out over Lake Michigan, and was observed by a reporter to have multiple vortices. Further south in Illinois, a tornado blew a moving passenger train off the tracks near Neoga, injuring all 19 people aboard.


A tornado moved south, passing five miles west of Jetmore, KS picking up a small home and smashing it to the ground, killing a woman. Cattle were carried 200 yards. At least 15, perhaps over 25, tornadoes touched down in Kansas this day which the press called “The Day of the Cyclones”.


It finally rained in Bagdad, San Bernardino County, CA ending a national dry record stretch of 994 consecutive days that began on 8/16/1909.


Amarillo, TX had its latest snowfall on record with 9.1 inches falling.


An F4 tornado tracked through Hill, Navarro, and Ellis counties in Texas. The town of Frost was completely destroyed. 41 people lost their lives and 200 were injured. Total damage exceeded $1 million dollars.


Charleston, SC recorded 10.57 inches of rain in 24 hours to set their all-time 24 hour record.


The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames and was destroyed as it attempted to land just after a thunderstorm at the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, NJ. The Hindenburg carried a crew of 61 along with 36 passengers. It took just 32 seconds for the entire ship to crash into burning embers. The cause of the explosion was never discovered for sure, but it is believed that a spark of static electricity ignited a leak of highly explosive hydrogen gas.


An unseasonably cold storm system brought snow levels down to the lower elevations of the central Sierra Nevada. Snowfall totals included: Grant Grove: 12 inches, Huntington Lake: 11 inches, Glennville: 3.5 inches and Tehachapi: Trace. In Yosemite National Park, 10 inches fell at the south entrance and 7 inches in the Valley.


A storm blanketed parts of Montana with heavy snow through the next day. Snowfall totals included: Red Lodge: 19 inches, Mystic Lake: 16 inches, Pryor: 9 inches, Livingston: 5 inches and Billings/Gardiner: 4 inches.


It was a busy Saturday night at the GES Department store near the Alabama State Fairgrounds in the West End section of Birmingham. The store was filled with shoppers about 7pm when a store manager saw a tornado approaching. He yelled for customers to get down seconds before the twister struck the store. One woman was killed nearby when she was struck by a board from a nearby lumber yard as she watched the tornado from her daughter's front porch. 25 people were injured along the F2 tornado's four mile path.


One of the worst tornadoes in terms of damage struck Omaha, NE killing three people and injuring 133 others. The violent twister first touched down on the southwest side of town, then moved north-northeast into the residential areas of central Omaha. The tornado which cut a swath 10 miles long and as much as a quarter of a mile wide flattened 287 homes and damaged over 1,400 others. Total damage done was around a quarter of a billion dollars; the most costly in U.S. History up to that time. The city was well warned by Civil Defense systems as the death toll was amazingly low considering the path of this tornado.


A record late season snowstorm parts of the east-central Rockies. Estes Park recorded 32 inches of snow, Boulder had 25 inches, 20 inches piled up at Colorado Springs, and Denver checked in with 14 inches for their greatest May snowstorm on record. Cheyenne, WY received 11.1 inches of snow and a total storm total of 18.3 inches; their greatest May snowstorm on record.


Two men standing in a boat on Sheridan Lake in South Dakota were killed when lightning struck the boat.


Severe thunderstorms developed over parts of northwest Oklahoma. Hail up to baseball size fell just northeast of Gage, and golf ball size hail was common. A tornado was spotted near Tangier, in Woodward County. Flooding of many low lying areas occurred after six inches of rain fell from the storms.


Many cities in California and Oregon reported record high temperatures for the date thanks to an upper level ridge. Record highs for the date included: Blythe, CA: 108°, Sacramento, CA: 104°, Bakersfield, CA: 104, Medford, OR: 101°, Red Bluff, CA: 101°, Fresno, CA: 100°, Daggett, CA: 100°, Modesto, CA: 100°, Stockton, CA: 100°, Sacramento, CA: 99°, Campo, CA: 93°, Burbank, CA: 93°, Ephrata, WA: 91°, Salem, OR: 90°, Lewiston, ID: 90°, Wall Walla, WA: 88°, Mt. Shasta, CA: 88°, Reno, NV: 87°, Eugene, OR: 85, Hoquiam, WA: 83°, Blue Canyon, CA: 80° and Meacham, OR: 78. Portland, OR soared to 91°; their warmest of record for so early in the season.


A major storm brought high winds to the western half of the country. Wind gusts ranged from 60 to 80 mph across parts of Colorado. Denver, CO reported a wind gust of 53 mph and a wind gust of 74 mph at Pueblo, CO broke their May record established just four days earlier, and winds in the Arapahoe Ski Basin area of Colorado reached 85 mph. The strong winds knocked windows out of buildings, downed power poles, lines & some fences and unroofed several buildings. In North Dakota, the high winds reduced visibilities to near zero in blowing dust closing many roads.

High winds produced blowing dust reducing visibilities to less than one half mile in northeastern South Dakota. Wind gusts of 62 mph were reported at Aberdeen. A small building was destroyed in Gettysburg and a building was damaged near Timber Lake. Winds also blew over a tractor trailer injuring a man in Okaton.

Palomar Mountain, CA dropped to 20°, their lowest temperature on record for May. Locations that reported daily record lows in California included: Bishop, CA: 29°, Bakersfield, CA: 42°-Tied and Blythe, CA: 47°.


The temperature of 43° at the start of the Kentucky Derby was the coldest in 115 years of records. Wet snow was observed in parts of Louisville. Unseasonable cold affected much of the north central US, as many cities reported record lows for the date. Records for so late in the season included: Bismarck, ND: 17°, Praire de Chien, WI: 22°, Cresco, IA: 23°, Minneapolis, MN: 25°, Genoa, WI: 27° and Lynxville, WI: 27°. La Crosse, WI fell to 26° tying their coldest May temperature ever. Elgin, MN received a half inch of snow; their latest measurable snowfall on record.

Locations that reported daily record lows included: Duluth, MN: 20°, Rochester, MN: 22°, Minot, ND: 23°, North Platte, NE: 23°, Wausau, WI: 23°, Alexandria, MN: 25°, Benton Harbor, MI: 25°, Hill City, KS: 30°, Cedar Rapids, IA: 30°, Norfolk, NE: 31°, Burlington, IA: 32°, Moline, IL: 32°, Quincy, IL: 32°, Garden City, KS: 33°, Ottumwa, IA: 33°, Chicago (Midway), IL: 33°, Omaha, NE: 35°, Kirksville, MO: 35°, St. Joseph, MO: 35°, Joplin, MO: 36°, Kansas City, MO: 36°, Topeka, KS: 37°, Wichita, KS: 37°, Olathe, KS: 37°, Fayetteville, AR: 39°, McAlester, OK: 44°-Tied and Honolulu, HI: 66°-Tied.

In contrast, several locations out West set record high temperatures for the date including: Needles, CA: 106°, Borrego Springs, CA: 105°, Daggett, CA: 103°, Las Vegas, NV: 98°-Tied, Victorville, CA: 97°, El Paso, TX: 96°, Campo, CA: 95°, Douglas, AZ: 95°, Bishop, CA: 94°, Truth or Consequences, NM: 93°, Winslow, AZ: 91°, Burley, ID: 89°, Tonopah, NV: 87°, Cedar City, UT: 87°, Reno, NV: 87°-Tied, Grants, NM: 85°, Galveston, TX: 84°-Tied, Sandberg, CA: 82°, Ely, NV: 82°, Flagstaff, AZ: 81° and Alamosa, CO: 78°-Tied.


Snow and high winds prevailed behind a Pacific cold front crossing the northwestern U.S. Wind gusts above 50 mph were reported in southeastern Idaho, and heavy snow blanketed the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, with 12 inches reported at Stampede Pass.

Meanwhile, an upper level ridge brought record heat to southern California. Record highs included: Riverside, CA: 102°, Escondido, CA: 99°, Burbank, CA: 98°, Los Angeles (Civic Center), CA: 97°, Santa Ana, CA: 95°, San Diego, CA: 87° and Sandberg, CA: 86°.


This was a double record day in Orlando, FL. The temperature reached a record tying high of 94° and a late day cloudburst dumped a short-period record rainfall of 1.21 inches. Other daily record highs along the East Coast included: Gainesville, FL: 92°-Tied, Elkins, WV: 88°, Niagara, Falls, NY: 84°, Erie, PA: 84°-Tied, Caribou, ME: 81° and Watertown, NY: 81°-Tied.


The high temperature in Death Valley National Park, CA reached 100°. This began a record streak of 154 consecutive days with the high temperature reaching 100 degrees or hotter.

Flooding on the Belaya River inundated 4,881 buildings, 17 bridges and 11,060 miles of roads were washed out in the Volga and Ural regions in Russia.


A spring blizzard dumped nearly 12 inches of snow on Calgary, Alberta, Canada, snarling the morning commute and forcing airlines to cancel flights due to whiteout conditions.


A violent tornado, with estimated wind speeds up to 210 mph, tracked across the southern tip of Illinois. The tornado touched down near Grand Chain in Pulaski County, moving east to near Joppa in Massac County, before curving northeast and lifting near Golconda in Pope County, a total of 33 miles and 1 hour 10 minutes later. Two people were killed and 33 injured. The tornado caused severe damage to the forested region of the area, as well as to a few dozen homes and trailers. The storms also produced an estimated wind gust of 125 mph northeast of Metropolis.

Desoto, MO reported wind gusts of up to 86 mph in association with a severe thunderstorm. In Franklin County, MO, hail measuring up to 2.75 inches in diameter was reported.

Escondido, CA dropped to 31°, their lowest May temperature on record. This record was tied two weeks later on May 20th, their latest freezing temperature on record.

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