Listed are Meteorological events that happened on April 21:
The Genesee Suspension Bridge in Genesee, NY, collapsed under the weight of 12 inches of wet snow weighing 19 pounds per cubic foot. Snow fell to a depth of 48 inches at Liberty in the Catskills.
The town of Denison, TX was struck by a tornado in 1883 that destroyed a church. The congregation rebuilt the church. On this date, a second tornado destroyed the newly rebuilt church.
21 people were killed and 250 were injured as an F4 tornado tracked 60 miles through Anderson and Lima counties in Kansas and Bates County in Missouri. Total damage was $1 million dollars, one of the few million dollar tornadoes in the 19th century.
It snowed 0.6 inches at Santa Ana, CA on this date and the next day, their greatest (and latest) snowfall on record.
The north Texas mini-heat wave finally ended. In Wichita Falls, the daily high temperatures from the 18th through this date still stand as records for their dates. On each of the four days, temperatures rose to at least 95°. The warmest day was the 18th, with a high of 100°.
Massive flooding occurred along the Mississippi River Delta. Hundreds of people were killed and 500,000 were left homeless.
One reason that officials of the U.S. Weather Bureau did not issue tornado forecasts was the fear of public panic. When tornado forecasts began being issued in 1952, the predicted widespread panic did not happen. One case did happen on this date, however, as a woman working in a store in Altus, OK jumped in her car upon hearing a tornado warning. Her car slid off into a ditch during a bad rainstorm and she was killed.
Portions of Montana were in the midst of a spring snowstorm. Snowfall amounts ranged up to 72 inches at Mystic Lake, 61 inches at Nye Mine and 55 inches at Red Lodge.
An early spring snowstorm occurred in the Rockies. 20 inches of snow fell at Lander, WY.
A rare late-season snow fell in the Kern County desert of California. Mojave picked up 1½ inches and Randsburg received a trace.
A large outbreak of 48 tornadoes occurred during the afternoon and early evening across five states. Six classified as F3 or above affected the area from Missouri and Iowa through Illinois and Michigan. In Illinois weather history, this day is known for the “Belvidere Tornado”. The tornado touched down near Cherry Valley passing across the south and southeast side of Belvidere then south of Harvard and lifting north of Woodstock. At least 7 people were killed at a shopping center and at least 13 were killed and 300 injured at the Belvidere High School. The tornado swept into the bus loading areas as the students were being dismissed. In the chaos that followed, 12 buses were overturned or thrown. Students were blown through an adjacent field and makeshift stretchers were formed from plywood from nearby houses. Damage to Belvidere totaled about $20 million, including destruction of 400 cars at the local Chrysler plant. A marriage certificate from Belvidere was later found south of Milwaukee, WI. South of Harvard a school bus was ripped in half and thrown into nearby power lines as the driver and 20 students took refuge in a nearby ditch. A second violent tornado touched down in Elgin and moved northeast to Lake Zurich, causing $10 million dollars damage. A third violent tornado touched down near Palos Hills and moved across the south side of Chicago to Lake Michigan. This tornado struck during Friday rush hour, and many of the 33 deaths and 500 injuries occurred in vehicles stopped at traffic lights. Several children were killed at a skating rink and other people died under the collapsing walls of a supermarket. It would be the worst tornado disaster ever in the Chicago area. In Illinois, 58 people lost their lives, over 1,100 were injured and damages totaled over $50 million dollars.
Havre MT picked up 17 inches of snow.
After 737 consecutive home games, Dodger stadium in Los Angeles, CA experienced their first rainout.
Venlo recorded the Netherlands' hottest April day on record as the temperature rose to 90°.
Record high temperatures occurred across the northern tier. International Falls, MN hit 90°. Rochester had a high temperature of 91°, making it the earliest occurrence of a 90 degree day, and tying it for its warmest April temperature. Other record warmest April highs set this day: Caledonia, MN: 93°, Dodge, WI: 93°, Trempealeau, WI: 93°, Theilman, MN: 92°, Miles City, MT: 92°, Preston, MN: 91° and Billings, MT: 89°. It was their fifth straight day with temperatures greater than 80°.
Dauphin, Manitoba Canada recorded its hottest April day on record when the temperature reached 96°.
A Santa Ana wind blew a fire through a densely populated Anaheim, CA neighborhood, causing $50 million dollars in property damage and leaving 1,200 people homeless.
Unseasonably warm weather prevailed from the Gulf of Mexico to New England and the Great Lakes Region, with many cities reporting record high temperatures for the date. Record highs for the month of April included: 95° at Monroe, LA, 94° at Mobile, AL, 93° at New Orleans, LA, and 82° at Caribou, ME.
A rare springtime weak Santa Ana event brought 90°+ temperatures to southern California on this day and the next day. High temperatures included: 97° in El Cajon, 95° in Spring Valley, 94° in Santee, and 93° at SDSU, Miramar, La Mesa, LA and Borrego Springs. It was 91° in Poway, Escondido and Fallbrook, and 87° in San Diego. Numerous small brush fires erupted in the San Diego valleys.
After having had just 12 rainouts in the previous 26 years at Dodger Stadium, a third day of heavy rain in southern California rained out a double-header at Dodger Stadium which had been scheduled due to rainouts the previous two days.
The temperature at Las Animas, CO soared to 100° to establish a state record for April. Many cities in the central and southwestern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date. Several cities equaled or exceeded previous April records.
Tucson, AZ experienced its fourth consecutive day of record heat with an afternoon high of 104°, bringing the total to 11 days when record high values had either been matched or broken.
Afternoon and evening thunderstorms produced golf ball size hail in Oklahoma, and also caused some flash flooding in the state. Thunderstorms over the Southern Plains produced golf ball size hail at Roswell NM and El Paso TX.
Easterly winds and temperatures near 0° produced wind chill readings as cold as -50° for the spring festival (Piuraagiaqta) outdoor events at Barrow, AK.
A big late season snowstorm over northeastern Nebraska came to an end. 9.3 inches of snow fell at Omaha, NE. Of interest was the fact that 13.3 inches of snow had fallen in Omaha up to 11/23/1991 and then after that only 1.7 inches had fallen until this snowstorm, so most of the 24.3 inches measured during the winter season did not fall in the winter at all, but in the autumn and spring. Snowfall from the storm was even heavier in other sections of northeastern Nebraska. Brownsville checked in with 14 inches and Offutt Air Force base measured 12 inches.
Further north in South Dakota, Freezing rain or sleet preceded the snow across much of the east laying down a slick glaze of ice. On top of the icy roadways 6 inches to a foot of wet snow piled up making traveling very hazardous. The slick roads resulted in many accidents across eastern South Dakota as well as northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota. Winds gusting to around 50 mph only made travel more difficult. Many towns in southwest Minnesota lost power due to the heavy icing; some areas were without electricity for over 5 hours. Some snowfall amounts across the east included 10 to 12 inches in the Marion and Elk Point areas in Southeast SD and around 9 inches near Vermillion.
2 inches of snow fell at International Falls, MN. This brought the winter season snowfall to 106.7 inches and set a new all-time record for the city. The old record was 104.7 inches set back in the 1988-89 winter season.
Record spring rains of 5 to 8 inches fell from Roanoke, VA to Hagerstown, MD.
An F3 tornado tracked 10 miles through Sebastian and Crawford Counties in Arkansas. The tornado tracked through downtown Fort Smith, causing severe damage. Four people were killed, 89 were injured, and damages totaled $300 million dollars.
The towns of Fort Smith and Van Buren were especially hard hit. 1,800 homes were damaged in Fort Smith and Van Buren. Questions were raised about National Weather Service and preparedness procedures after the disaster. The Tulsa, OK NWS office issued a severe thunderstorm warning 16 minutes before the onset of the tornado, believing that it would not produce a tornado based on Doppler radar indications. They upgraded the warning to a tornado warning four minutes before the twister touched down. Local emergency officials did not receive the warning due to power failures caused by the storm. As a result, sirens were not sounded. Later analysis of the radar data did show the indication of the tornado.
The Red River reached a new record flood level in Grand Forks, ND, peaking at just over 54 feet, breaking the previous record by over 5 feet, and 26 feet above flood
Stage. The city dikes failed on the 18th and 19th, resulting in 70% of city being flooded, forcing the 50,000 residents to evacuate their homes. The day before, a massive downtown fire burned as firefighters watched helplessly across the floodwaters. Helicopters were used to battle the blaze. Over 75% of the city was under a mandatory evacuation order. The city's water treatment plant and sewer system was flooded for weeks. Damages in the area totaled around $3 billion dollars.
A spring storm dumped heavy snow across much of northern Colorado. Nearly 3 feet fell in the foothills outside of Denver while a foot fell in the city. The heavy wet snow downed power lines resulting in scattered power outages. Some were without electricity for as long as 20 hours. The snow also resulted in several traffic accidents along the I-25 corridor between Denver and Castle Rock. Snowfall totals included: 32 inches at Idaho Springs, 31 inches on Crowhill, 29 inches near Evergreen, 26 inches at Chief Hosa and Coal Creek Canyon, 25 inches at Bailey, 24 inches at Flyd Hill, 23 inches at Conifer, Genesee, Golden Gate Canyon, North Turkey Creek and Pine Junction, 13 inches at Broomfield and near Sedalia, 12 inches at Boulder, 11 inches at Louisville and Parker and 9 inches at the former Stapleton Airport.
It was prom night in Hoisington, KS. A tornado struck during the evening, damaging 25% of the town and passing within a block of where the prom was being held. Parents frantically searched for their children after the twister struck. One man was killed and 28 people were injured in the tornado. The local hospital was evacuated after the roof was ripped off.
On this date through the 22nd, the second major snowstorm in 11 days struck the Rockies with blizzard conditions across the Plains to northeast of Denver. Snowfall totals ranged from 9 inches at Denver to as much as 23 inches in the foothills. Strong winds gusting over 35 mph created power outages affecting the airport and train operations. In parts of Wyoming and Montana, snowfall totals generally ranged from 6 to 12 inches.
A springtime snowstorm hit the foothills in Central California. 6 inches fell at North Fork & Coarsegold, CA while 4 inches was measured at Oakhurst. In the Tehachapis, 3 inches fell at Frazier Park. Over 2 feet of snow fell at 8,000 feet in the Sierra with 16 inches in Yosemite National Park at the 6,000 foot level where the combination of heavy snow and gusty winds downed a number of trees.
A tornado moved across Wayne County, in southeast Illinois. The tornado passed through the southern part of Fairfield with F3 intensity winds. One person was killed in a mobile home west of Wayne City. 42 people were injured, 13 critically. A total of 35 homes were destroyed, and 16 received major damage. The average wind speed in the tornado was 130 to 170 mph, with peak winds at or approaching 200 mph.
Heavy snow fell across the Colorado Rockies as low level upslope winds developed against the foothills and the Palmer Divide. Snowfall totals included: 18 inches in the foothills southwest of Boulder, 17 inches at Intercanyon and near Conifer, 10 inches near Blackhawk and Parker, 9 inches at Castle Rock and near Sedalia, 7 inches at Centennial, Littleton and near Lone Tree.
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