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Weather History: April 4: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, snow, wind & floods

Meteorological events that happened on April 4th:

It often seems like the Northern Plains have got to be the windiest place in the United States. The windiest place is Blue Hill, MA with an annual average wind speed of 15.4 mph. Second is, Dodge City , KS at 14.0 mph.

The windiest recording station in the U.S. is atop Mt Washington, NH with an annual wind speed average of 35 mph. However, it does not qualify due to its high elevation.


A group of tornadoes slashed a 120 mile path across seven counties in Georgia and one county in South Carolina killing 11 people near Augusta, GA. The tornado's path through heavy timber was still visible some 71 years later as noted in an Army Signal Corps survey.


The first week of April back in 1893, was one of the warmest weeks ever during April at Oklahoma City, OK. From the 3rd through the 7th, the high temperature averaged an incredible 94°. In fact, each of the daily high temperatures over that five day period remains a record more than 100 years later. Despite the week of heat, April 1893 does not rank as one of the top ten warmest Aprils on record in Oklahoma City.


An F4 tornado killed 15 people and injured 150 at Alexandria and Pineville, LA. 142 homes and businesses in Pineville were destroyed.


1.97 inches of rain fell in Palm Springs, CA, their greatest daily amount on record for April.


An unseasonably warm air mass settled over the upper Midwest starting on the 3rd and continuing through the 7th. On this date, the high temperature climbed to 79° at Chicago, IL which tied 1921 for the daily record high. The mercury soared to 84° at Rockford, IL setting a daily record high.


The Airship U.S. Akron crashed in a storm 20 miles SSE of Barnegat Light in California.

On this date through April 5th, Pigeon River Bridge, MN reported 28 inches of snow, which established the state’s 24 hour snowfall record.


Snow began falling during the morning on the 3rd and continued through the evening on this date. Considerable glazing and wire trouble was reported to the south of La Crosse, WI, Viroqua, WI and as far south as Decorah, IA. Grand Meadow, MN recorded 17" of snow while Winona, MN checked in with 10" and La Crosse, WI had 7" of snow.


The largest group of sunspots ever recorded was discovered.


A severe three-day spring snowstorm came to an end over north-central Wyoming and south-central Montana. Sheridan, WY had near blizzard conditions for 43 hours and recorded 22.7 inches of snow in 24 hours on the 3rd to set a new 24 hour snowfall record. Billings, MT set their all-time record greatest daily snowfall with 23.7 inches and 39 inches of snow in two days. The water equivalent was four inches.


Snow pellets fell in Las Vegas, NV at McCarran Airport.


It was 83° in Palomar Mountain, CA, their highest temperature on record for April.


One of the strongest tornadoes in Florida's history moved in from the Gulf of Mexico and ripped through Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, and Osceola Counties. Damage was very severe in the towns of Gibsonia and Galloway in Polk County. 11 people were killed and 350 were injured. The tornado was classified as F4.


Sandia Crest, NM reported a snow depth of 95 inches, a record for the state of New Mexico.


The worst tornado outbreak of the 20th century known as the infamous "Super-Outbreak" ended early on this date. Severe thunderstorms spawned 148 tornadoes in 13 U.S. States, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York; and the Canadian province of Ontario. The combined path length of all tornadoes during this period was approximately 2,500 miles with as many as 335 fatalities, 5,484 injuries, and an estimated $600+ million loss (in 1974 dollars).

Of the 148 tornadoes, at least 118 had paths of a mile or more.

The average path was 18.7 miles. Ten states were declared federal disaster areas.

The intensity of the 148 tornadoes:

F5 – 6

F4 – 24

F3 – 34

F2 – 32

F1 – 33

F0 – 19


A severe early spring storm over the northeastern U.S. began on this date and blasted the area for the next three days. Wind gusts reached 87 mph at West Harpswell, ME and Boston, MA recorded its lowest April pressure on record with 28.68 inHg. Hurricane force winds along the coast produced tides 2 to 4 feet above normal flooding. Winds atop Mount Washington, NH gusted to 140 mph. 1 to 4 feet of snow fell from western New York to northern Maine with the higher elevations receiving the most.


A massive F5 tornado moved across northern Birmingham, AL, killing 22 people and injuring 130. The tornado cut a 15-mile path from just northwest of Birmingham to the town of Tarrant. 167 homes were destroyed, primarily in the Smithfield Estates subdivision. Daniel Payne College sustained heavy damage. At one point, the tornado was three-quarters of a mile wide. The tornado crossed busy I-65, tossing cars and trucks like they were toys. Other tornadoes killed 1 other person in Alabama and 1 person in Georgia that day.

Southern Airways Flight 242 crash landed in the small northwest Georgia community of New Hope just after 4pm. 63 passengers and crew members died, along with 9 people on the ground. The DC-9 aircraft, enroute from Huntsville, AL to Atlanta, GA ran into a severe thunderstorm near Rome, GA at about 17,000 feet. Power was lost in both engines after tremendous amounts of hail and rain were ingested into the engines. The engines could not be restarted after being severely damaged and the crew had to attempt an emergency landing on a highway.


A snowstorm in the Midwest left 11 inches of snow on the ground at Liberal, KS and 14 inches at Trousdale, KS. Further to the west in Colorado, the storm was in its second day and by the time it was all over on the 5th, 21 inches of new snow was recorded at Fort Collins and Buckhorn Mountain was buried under 64.4 inches.

A severe canyon wind with gusts of 60-80 mph with a peak gust of 104 mph overturned 12 flatbed railroad cars with loaded trailers on the Union Pacific line near Farmington, UT in the Wasatch Mountains.


Five to eight inches of rain fell across eastern New York as the Northeast was in the middle of its second heavy rainstorm in five days. Record flooding resulted from the rainfall and snowmelt. 2,300 homes were flooded in Maine and 215 others were totally destroyed. Damage in Maine alone exceeded $100 million dollars.


Thunderstorms produced severe weather from the Lower Mississippi Valley to the Southern Appalachians. Severe thunderstorms spawned 17 tornadoes, including one which caused $2 million dollars damage at Baldwin, AL. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 90 mph at Bremen, GA.

Daily high temperature records were broken at all recording stations in Southern California on this date and more fell on the 5th through the 8th. Daily records included Los Angeles, CA with 100° and Santa Barbara, CA with 94°. This was part of major heat wave from late March into mid-April.


A deep low pressure system in northern New York State brought heavy snow to parts of western and central New York. The snowfall total of 5.8 inches at Buffalo was a record for the date, and 9.5 inches was reported at Rochester. Snowfall totals ranged up to 11 inches at Warsaw.


A strong arctic cold front moved south through the upper Midwest bringing dramatic temperature drops. The temperatures ahead of the cold front were in the 50s and 60s. However, once the cold front moved through the temperatures fell throughout the remainder of the day. In Gays Mills, WI, the temperature fell from 65° to 12°. In Sparta, WI, the temperature fell from 65° to 9°. In Cresco, IA, the temperature fell from 64° to 7°. In Waukon, IA, the temperature fell from 66° to 10°. In Caledonia, MN, the temperature fell from 64° to 8°. In Grand Meadow, MN, the temperature fell from 62° to 1°. This was the greatest diurnal temperature change at all six locations. In addition, both Grand Meadow, MN with 1°and Alma, WI with 7° had their coldest April temperature on record.


A whitish-colored haze engulfed the Denver, CO metro area through the 5th. The haze was the result of a huge wind storm that kicked up dust and sand from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and China during the latter half of March. Westerly winds aloft transported the dust cloud across the Pacific Ocean and over the western U.S.

4.29 inches of rain fell in Perpignan, southern France. The average April rainfall there is 1.90 inches. 2.60 inches of rain fell in Barcelona while locally as much as 13 inches fell in 12 hours on the Costa Brava in Spain.


Eight to twelve inches of rainfall resulted in the failure of a protective levee near Toyah, TX. With the failure of this dike, three to four feet of water inundated the town of Toyah and prompted the evacuation of the town's residents. While 19 people in the town of 103 elected to stay through the flood event, the remainder of the town's residents were moved to a Red Cross shelter in the nearby community of Pecos. The extensive flooding in Toyah left virtually every home with flood damage. One home was completely destroyed. Also, a bridge along Interstate 20 just east-northeast of Toyah over the normally dry Salt Draw failed.


Four consecutive days of rain from April 2nd to April 5th resulted in the Black Rascal Creek swelling and flooding 300 homes in North Merced, CA and evacuations.

The San Diego Padres’ home game; only the second game of the season against the San Francisco Giants was rained out at Petco Park, the first rainout to ever occur at there. It opened 4/8/2003. It was the first rainout in nearly eight years (since 5/12/1998 at Qualcomm Stadium) and only the second rainout in nearly 23 years (4/20/1983 at then Jack Murphy Stadium).

Severe storms raked the Western Galilee region of Nahariya, Israel and injured at least 70 people. A rare tornado and golf ball sized hail accompany the storms.


Check out my colleague Weather Examiners:

Baltimore, MD area weather with Tony Pann at

Orlando, FL area weather with Dr. Steve Oliver at

Houston, TX area weather & the weekly Weather America Newsletter with Larry Cosgrove at

NOAA Headlines Examiner with Dr. Steve Oliver and IPR at

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