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Weather History: August 13: Record temps, storms, flooding, wind & Charley

Listed are Meteorological events that happened on August 13th:


The second hurricane of the year caused flooding in the Virginia and North Carolina area contributing to a very wet summer.


A blue sun was widely observed in the southern states. The phenomenon was believed to have pre-staged Nat Turner's slave uprising.


Indianapolis, IN received 1.30 inches of rain in 15 minutes, 1.98 inches in 30 minutes and 2.68 inches in one hour.


High winds and heavy rain struck the Middle Atlantic Coast Region. In New Jersey, winds gusted to 60 mph at Atlantic City, and 9 inches of rain fell at Tuckerton. The wind and rain leveled crops and stripped trees of fruit causing several million dollars damage.


A severe thunderstorm collapsed the roof of the B&O Hall of Transportation Building in Baltimore, MD which housed the most important collection of railroad models, pictures, exhibits and stock in the world. Many old, fragile locomotives like the Tom Thumb and Thomas Jefferson steam engines escape destruction when the largest locomotives lined up in the center of the building acted to hold up the collapsing roof. The collection would again be damaged by a collapsing roof in 2003 when the President's Day Snowstorm dumped a record 28.2 inches of snow in four days, including 21.8 inches on February 16th.


Victoria, Australia recorded its coldest night on record when the low at Mt. Hotham dropped to 9°.


Hurricane Connie dumped 5 to 8 inches of rain on Southeastern Pennsylvania, ending a drought that had been plaguing the area.


A lightning strike near Indian point, NY triggered a massive 24 hour power blackout in New York City, NY.


4 inches of snow at fell at Salmon, ND.


The afternoon high at New York City, NY was just 89°. But there were 15 days of 90°+ heat during the month, their hottest August on record.


A total of 4.50 inches of rain fell in Searchlight, NV making this the wettest calendar day ever and the only time over 4 inches of rain has fallen on one day.


Hail larger than golf balls, driven by 70 mph winds, mowed down crops, stripped trees, and broke windows, near Logan, KS. Road graders cleared 3 foot drifts of hail on Kansas Highway 9 east of Logan.


3.04 inches of rain fell at the National Weather Service Office in Flagstaff, AZ. This is the most rainfall ever recorded for a single day in August.


A succession of thunderstorms produced rainfall that was unprecedented in 116 years of precipitation records at Chicago, IL during an 18 hour period from the evening of the 13th to the early afternoon of the 14th. The resulting flash flood was the worst to ever strike the Chicago metropolitan area, causing 3 deaths and water damage that amounted to $221 million dollars. O Hare International Airport received an event total of 9.35 inches of rain in 18 hours, shattering the previous 24 hour record of 6.24 inches. For a period of about 24 hours, the airport was only accessible from the air as all roads were blocked by high water, including the Kennedy Expressway. Flooding from the rain continued until the 19th.

Thunderstorms in Mississippi drenched Marion County with up to 15 inches of rain during the morning hours, with 12.2 inches reported at Columbia. Floodwaters swept cars away in the Lakeview subdivision of Columbia when the Lakeview Dam broke. Flash flooding caused more than $3 million dollars damage in Marion County.


Many cities in the northeastern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date. Lansing, MI reported a record 35 days of 90 degree weather for the year, Detroit, MI reported a record 37 days of 90 degree heat for the year, and Williamsport PA reported a record 38 days of 90 degree weather for the year.


Thunderstorms developing in a tropical air mass over the northeastern U.S. soaked parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts with 4 to 8 inches of rain between the 11th and 13th. Hartford, CT received 7.70 inches of rain.

A tornado destroyed the home and stable on a farm east of Estevan, Saskatchewan Canada. Reportedly, a 3-month-old baby was tossed 328 feet. Miraculously, after several hours of searching the baby was found unharmed.


It had never rained on this date in Stockton, CA since weather records started in 1906 until this date, when 0.05 of an inch of rain fell.


A cold front progressed into northwest Iowa creating a very unstable air mass out in front of it. By mid-evening, strong thunderstorms began to erupt producing high winds, heavy rains and a small tornado. The tornado touched down in Emmett County just west of Swea City, SD but did little damage. But high straight line winds from the storms caused considerable damage throughout the area. A grain bin was blown three quarters of a mile across a field just west of Swea City and very high winds swept across Palo Alto County downing numerous trees and power lines. The strongest winds occurred in Graettinger where winds of 80 mph were clocked destroying a few buildings. Other reports of damage to outbuildings were common across Winnebago and Palo Alto Counties, but no injuries were reported.

Mother Nature spoiled the day at the Sturgis rally. Strong thunderstorms developed in the late morning and afternoon hours producing dangerous lightning and large hail in the Sturgis area in South Dakota. Golf ball sized hail and strong winds caused many a problem for vendors. The winds blew away many canopies and signs while lightning injured one man and knocked a tree on a car.

Phoenix, AZ topped out at over 100 degrees for the 65th day in a row. This set a new record for consecutive days above 100 degrees breaking the old record of 64 days set back in 1989.


Chicago, IL was in the midst of a four day heat wave where temperatures climbed into the middle 90s and lows were in the mid to upper 70s. The low temperature of 77° on this date tied for the record high minimum. Humidity was high and 27 deaths were attributed to the heat wave. The majority was in the Chicago area.


Fires were burning over more than 460,000 acres across Oregon as the state's worst wildfire season in over a century continued with a vengeance. The wildfires of 2002 had already burned more acreage than the Great Tillamook Burn of Northwest Oregon in 1933. Larger wildfires may have occurred before the turn of the century, but records were not kept then. The massive Biscuit fire, which resulted from the merger of two other fires to become a mega-fire, had already charred more than 376,000 acres.

Germany registered their record maximum 24 hour precipitation record as 12.29 inches fell from this date through the morning of the 13th at Zinnwald-Georgenfeld in Erzgebergte. The storm dumped 14.74 inches of rain in 36 hours.


Paris, France had a string of days with temperatures from the 4th to the 12th above 95°. It ended on this date when the day's high dropped to 90°. During the long, hot summer which began on 7/25 several days were above 100°. 4,802 people died from heat-related causes.

Karlsruhe recorded Germany’s hottest day on record as the temperature reached 104.4°.


Hurricane Charley rapidly deepened just hours before landfall near Punta Gorda, FL, going from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane. Sustained winds at landfall were 150 mph and the pressure dropped to 941 millibars or 27.79 inHg. Extreme wind damage occurred over all of Charlotte County with and 8 foot storm surge in Lee County. Well over hurricane force winds in gusts occurred far inland as the hurricane accelerated to the northeast. Orlando, FL measured a peak gust of 105 mph; an all-time record wind gust for this location. 15 people lost their lives to the hurricane and total damage was $14 billion dollars, making Charley the second costliest hurricane up to this time.


Squamish and Hope in British Columbia were Canada's hottest spots with highs of 98°. For Squamish, this reading smashed the old mark by 9 degrees. The temperature in Victoria climbed to a record 92°).


Check out my colleague Weather Examiners:

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Orlando, FL area weather with Dr. Steve Oliver at

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

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