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Weather History: April 6: Record temps, storms, snow, tornadoes, wind & flooding

Meteorological events that happened on April 6th:


A waterspout came ashore at National City, CA resulting in the most damaging tornado on record in San Diego County. Eight people were injured and roofs were torn off homes. In Santa Ana, CA 3.52 inches of rain fell and in Riverside, CA 2.34 inches of rain fell, each the greatest daily amount on record for April.


On this date through the 7th, in Oklahoma, heavy rain added to already high stream flows, producing a devastating flood along the Arkansas River, below the mouth of the Neosho River. The flooding lasted through the 19th, inundating 165,000 acres of land, with losses totaling $4 million (1927) dollars.


High pressure off the southeast coast provided the beginning of three straight days of record high temperatures across parts of the Mid-Atlantic and southeast. Record highs on this date included Charleston, WV: 92°, Norfolk, VA: 92°, Charlotte, NC: 90°, Baltimore, MD: 90°, Salisbury, MD: 88°, Huntington, WV: 88°, Parkersburg, WV: 87°, Williamsport, PA: 86°, Greenville, SC: 86°, Wilmington, DE: 85°, Harrisburg, PA: 85° (this would be tied in 1942), Allentown, PA: 84° and Pittsburgh, PA: 83°.


A tornado outbreak in the Deep South resulted in a total of 446 deaths and $18 million dollars damage. During the evening of the 5th, a tornado hit Tupelo, MS killing 216 people, injuring 700 others, and causing $3 million dollars damage. The next morning the town of Gainesville, GA was devastated by a massive pair of F4 tornadoes that struck around 8:30am. The double-barreled twister scored a direct hit on the downtown area, leaving incredible destruction. 750 homes were destroyed and another 250 were heavily damaged. 203 people lost their lives with 934 others were injured. 8 to 10 feet of debris filled the streets following the storm. At least 70 people died in the Cooper Pants Factory, the greatest tornado toll of record for a single building. 20 people were killed when Newnan's Department Store was flattened.


High pressure off the southeast coast provided an unseasonably warm south to southwesterly flow across the Mid-Atlantic into the southeast. Many high temperature records were set including Richmond, VA: 92°, Washington, D.C.: 92°, Elizabeth City, NC: 91°, Philadelphia, PA: 87°, Reading, PA: 86°, Trenton, NJ: 86° and Mt. Pocono, PA: 80°.


Minor damage was reported as strong Chinook winds gusted to 68 mph at the Bureau of Standards in Boulder, CO, 54 mph in downtown Boulder, CO. Wind gusts of 44 mph warmed the temperature to 80° at Denver, CO equaling a daily high temperature record.


On this date through the 8th, a major spring snowstorm dumped 11.6 inches of snow across Denver, CO. Most of the heavy wet snow of 10.1 inches fell on the 7th when temperatures remained in the 20s. The low temperature of 5° on the 8th was a new record low for the date and the lowest for so late in the season.


The Black Hills of South Dakota experienced the fury of the thunderstorm and a bit of an unusual snow. During the afternoon hail piled up to 3 inches deep in Hot Springs, SD while elevations above 5,000 feet in the Hills received over an inch of snow from the storm.


Wind gusts reached 67 mph across southern Saskatchewan, Canada closing down schools, knocking down power lines, and stripping topsoil from farmlands.


A huge blizzard dumped one to two feet of snow across parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New England. Many areas reported thunder and lightning with heavy snow. Winds gusted in some places to 80 mph. For many places, it was their worst April snowstorm on record. The Yankees home opener with the Texas Rangers was cancelled. The New York Mets could not make their opening game in Philadelphia because the bus was snowed in. Boston, MA reported 13.3 inches. 6 – 12 inches of snow was reported from Allentown, PA to the Poconos and 3 – 6 inches reported across southeastern Pennsylvania; including Philadelphia, in to central New Jersey.

Behind the storm in the upper Midwest, unseasonably cold temperatures and snow prevailed. The low temperature was 5° at Rochester, MN and 7° at LaCrosse, WI (tied on 4/6/1946) are the coldest April readings for both locations. Other record low April temperatures set this day: Preston, MN: -8°, Theilman, MN: 0°, Caledonia, MN: 2°), Fayette, IA: -2°, Cresco, IA: -1°, Charles City, IA: 3°, Decorah, IA: 5°, Osage, IA: 6°, Guttenberg, IA: 7°, Viroqua, WI: -8°, Blair, WI: -4°, Sparta, WI: -1°, Richland Center, WI: 0°, Genoa, WI: 6°, Lancaster, WI: 6°, Trempealeau, WI: 8°. Snowfall totals included: Prairie du Chien, WI: 8 inches, Fayette, IA: 6 inches, and Richland Center, WI 6 inches.


The temperature at Denver, CO dipped to a record cold reading of 7°.


Phoenix, AZ recorded their first measurable rainfall after 91 straight rain free days.


Rain and melting snow caused flooding from New England to Ohio. Flooding in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts was the worst in 50 years, causing $42 million dollars damage.


A powerful storm with associated cold front produced high winds across parts of the Midwest. 97 windows were blown out of the Sears Tower and the state’s oldest tree estimated to be 700 years old was blown over by wind gusts as high as 75 mph. The strong winds were responsible for downed trees and power lines. In Chicago, wind gusts reached 58 mph at O’Hare Airport and 75 mph along the lakefront. The high winds created 25 foot waves on Lake Michigan. Elsewhere, South Bend, IN reported a gust to 59 mph while Rockford, IL reported a gust to 47 mph.


Unseasonably hot weather prevailed in parts of California. Afternoon highs of 91° in Downtown San Francisco, 93° at San Jose, 98° at San Diego, 103° at Santa Maria, 104° at Riverside, and 106° in Downtown Los Angeles established records for the month of April. China Lake NAS, CA saw the earliest triple digit reading with 102°.


Snow developed in the northeastern U.S. for the second time in the month. In Virginia, a heavy wet snow blanketed northern and central sections of the Shenandoah Valley, and eastern foothills, with up to 12 inches reported around Harrisonburg. Heavy snow also blanketed the high elevations of West Virginia, with 10 inches reported at Snowshoe. An inch of snow at Syracuse, NY raised their total for the winter season to a record-tying 161.3 inches. One to four inches fell north and west of Washington, D.C. Dulles Airport received a record daily and April snowfall total of 2.7 inches.


A three day blizzard in parts of central and eastern Montana ended on this date. Melville, MT picked up 18 inches of snow while Ashland, MT reported 15 inches. Drifts up to six feet were reported in Powder River County. 50,000 head of cattle and sheep were lost in southeastern Montana.


An early spring snowstorm blanketed the mountains of Central California through the 7th. 20 inches of snow fell at Hume Lake, CA while Lodgepole, CA picked up 23 inches.

In the south-central Plains, severe thunderstorms associated with an intense area of low pressure created very strong winds. Sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph, with some gusts to 60 mph, affected much of western Oklahoma and western north Texas.


The city of Jackson, MS had its storm sewers tested as a record daily rainfall of 7.38 inches fell.


Thunderstorms erupted and produced severe weather including 32 reports of tornadoes, most of which touched down in Mississippi and Louisiana. As many as 25 homes were destroyed and 7 people were injured. Mississippi governor Haley Barbour declared a state of emergency.


The opening-season series between the Indians and Minnesota Twins is wiped out by a snowstorm and a cold snap. The Indians lead 4-0 when their home opener was called because of heavy snow. The grounds crew who tried to make the field playable with backpack blowers and brooms, spent more time on the field than the players during nearly three hours of stoppages. About a foot of snow remained on the field through the 9th.

On this date through the 7th, severe storms lashed villages in northern Bangladesh, destroying more than 1,000 homes and injuring at least 45 people. A tornado battered five farming villages in Tangail district at midnight.


The heaviest spring snowstorms for almost two decades blanketed much of Great Britain. At Heathrow Airport in London as many as 144 flights were cancelled because of the snow. Sleet and snow descended on Manchester, the North East, the South and North Wales in the early hours, then spread to the Midlands and London. The last time Britain saw similar spring snowstorms was on 4/5/1989.


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