Meteorological events that happened on August 18th:
California is generally protected from Pacific tropical storms by persistent summer high pressure near Hawaii that send tropical storms pin-wheeling to the west, away from the state. But sometimes that protection is not there, as during an unusually strong El Nino event. On this date, an unusual tropical storm came up into the Gulf of California and the southwestern United States, giving Needles, CA 5.66 inches of rain; twice their normal yearly rainfall.
Bagdad, in San Bernardino County of California, reported no precipitation for 993 consecutive days from this date to 5/6/1912.
The Idaho "Big Blow Up" of forest fires finally came to an end. 1,736 fires burned 3 million acres. 85 people were killed; including 78 firefighters. Smoke from the fires spread 1/3 of the way around the world, darkening the sun across parts of the U.S. and Canada.
The high temperature in Death Valley, CA was 119°. This ended a record streak of 43 consecutive days with the high temperature 120° or hotter.
9.4 inches of rain fell at Cannington, Somerset England setting the August rainfall record for the United Kingdom.
During the late morning hours a severe hailstorm struck southeastern Iowa; completely destroying crops along a path 6 to 10 miles wide and 75 miles long. The hail also injured and killed poultry and livestock, and caused a total of $2.5 million dollars damage. The hailstorm flattened fields of corn to such an extent that many had to leave their farms in search of other work. It was one of the worst hailstorms on record for the nation.
460 miles east of Luzon, Philippines, the pressure in an unnamed Typhoon fell to 887 millibars or 26.18 inches, one of the lowest surface measurements on record.
Over 1,000 firefighters were battling two major fires in northwestern Oregon's Tillamook Burn. The fires covered more than 25 square miles of forest. The eventual toll would be 13 million board feet of timber, resulting in an economic loss of $600 million dollars.
Temperatures soared to record highs in each of the Maritime Provinces in Canada. Rexton, New Brunswick hit 103°, Collegeville, Nova Scotia: hit 101° and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island hit to 98°.
An average of the temperatures at 113 reporting stations in Iowa measured 106.5°, making this the hottest day in the state's history.
Autumn was in the air with record low temperatures of 41° at Grand Rapids, MI and 43° at Muskegon, MI.
Hurricane Diane became the second hurricane to strike the United States East Coast in less than a week. Diane weakened as it crossed colder water left in the wake of Hurricane Connie, but the rainfall did not diminish. The storm moved across the North Carolina coast then recurved to the northeast, passing very near Philadelphia, PA then to the southern coast of New England. Diane's heavy rains, up to 13 inches in the Poconos, added to those of Connie 5 days earlier, brought massive flooding to the Mid Atlantic and the northeast. Westfield, MA recorded 18.15 inches of rain in just 24 hours to establish the 24 hour mark for the state. Boston, MA had 8.40 inches, their greatest 24 hour total ever. At one point, 40% of Worcester, MA was under water. Up to 200 people were killed with $800 million dollars in damage.
Three inches of snow fell at McCall, ID, a sign of the changing seasons.
Hurricane Alicia ravaged southeastern Texas making landfall near Galveston, TX with sustained winds at 115 mph, gusting to 130 mph and a storm surge of 12 feet. 22 tornadoes touched down within 24 hours after landfall. 12 fatalities and 1,800 were injured. Glass was blown out of downtown skyscrapers in Houston, TX as winds gusted to 78 mph. Fires broke out throughout Houston and firefighters were hampered by low water pressure. Total storm damage was $3 billion dollars.
Strong thunderstorm winds ripped across portions of central and northeast South Dakota on this date through the 19th. Winds of up to 80 mph were recorded. In Presho, the winds tore the roofs from several homes and leveled barns and outbuildings. The city of Aberdeen and its airport were also hit quite hard. Two hangers at the airport received extensive damage with their roofs and doors blown off. Two planes were tipped over and a third had one of its wings twisted 180 degrees. All across the city of Aberdeen windows were broken, trees were down, and roofs damaged as the storms tore through the city.
Several cities in the eastern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date, including Orlando, FL with 98° and Portland, ME with a high of 94°. Newark, NJ reached 90° for the 36th time, their second highest total on record.
Many cities, from the Carolinas to the Upper Ohio Valley, reported record high temperatures for the date, pushing the total number of daily record highs since the first of June above 1,100. Afternoon highs of 105° at Raleigh, NC and 102° at Greensboro, NC equaled all-time records. This date marked the 13th time this year that the temperature had exceeded the 100 degree mark in downtown Baltimore, MD with 104°. This is the most 100 degree days in any year since official records began in 1873.
Evening thunderstorms in Montana produced wind gusts to 75 mph at Scobey.
Thunderstorms over the Mid-Atlantic Coast and the Upper Ohio Valley produced torrential rains in eastern Virginia during the late morning and afternoon hours. Totals ranged up to 12 inches at Yorktown. Williamsburg, VA recorded 10.78 inches of rain between 6am and 10am, with 6.72 inches reported in just two hours. Flash flooding caused nearly $12 million dollars damage in Accomack County, Virginia. Part of Maryland's Eastern Shore was deluged with 6 to 10 inches of rain. Unofficial reports from parts of Delaware indicated as much as 20 inches fell. 39 bridges were closed or washed out. 72 roads were closed or damaged.
Early evening thunderstorms over the Central Plains Region produced walnut size hail and wind gusts to 80 mph around Casper, WY. Thunderstorms produced locally heavy rains in the Yellowstone Park area, causing 15 mudslides.
Hong Kong, China recorded their all-time record high of 97°.
A squall line developed across western Iowa sending damaging winds over the west central portion of the state for a brief time. A tornado touched down west of Breda causing extensive damage to a farmstead and minor damage to another. Also, an 80 foot barn was destroyed by the tornado. High winds from the storm also overturned a tractor semi-trailer north of Carroll and caused extensive crop damage in the area.
Residents who were in the path of the 1994 Lahoma storm in Oklahoma, awoke on this morning to find a strange world. The devastating wind and hail storm on the previous day had stripped nearly every tree of leaves in the Lahoma and Drummond areas. That, along with plowed fields from harvested wheat, left the August landscape looking eerily more like mid winter. Hail was still on the ground in some protected areas around Lahoma more than 24 hours after the storm.
Powerful thunderstorms brought strong winds, gusting to 50 mph to Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada knocking out power. The downtown region reported small hail.
The largest tornado outbreak in Wisconsin history to date occurred, with 27 tornadoes touching down. An F3 tornado tore through Stoughton, WI, killing 1 person and injuring 18 others. Severe weather wasn't confined to just Wisconsin though, as parts of southeast Minnesota were also affected. The severe conditions were the result of an area of low pressure which tracked across southern Wisconsin during the afternoon hours. Thunderstorms developed in the early afternoon over southeast Minnesota and shifted into western Wisconsin by mid afternoon. At the same time, a warm front moved through southwest Wisconsin providing a favorable wind profile for thunderstorms with tornadoes. Locally, a total of seven tornadoes touched down, on or near the following locations: Dexter, MN at 12:50 pm, Centerville, WI at 2:18 pm, Esofea, WI at 3:46 pm, Viola, WI from 4:05 to 4:40 pm, Muscoda to Orion, WI from 4:40 to 4:55 pm, eastern Monroe County, WI at 4:54 pm, and southwest Adams County, WI at 5:39 pm. The tornadoes were all rated F0-F1 on the Fujita scale. Most of the structural damage occurred with the Esofea, Viola, Muscoda to Orion, and the Eastern Monroe County tornadoes. There was only one report of minor injuries with the tornadoes, which occurred when a mobile home was destroyed by the Esofea tornado.
Beginning on this date, days of intense rain from Tropical Storm Fay deluged Central Florida. 13 people died and thousands of homes plus roads were damaged, from 60 mph winds and flooded rivers or tornadoes, as Fay traveled through the entire state. Fay was the first storm on record to hit the same U.S. state on four separate occasions, beating a record set by Hurricane Gordon of 1994. It was just the third storm on record to hit the U.S. at least 3 times. Fay was also the first storm to prompt storm warnings for the entire coast of Florida. The four separate landfalls were responsible for every stretch of the Florida coast to receive a Tropical Storm Watch or Warning, or a Hurricane Watch or Warning. The two highest rainfall amounts recorded were 27.65 inches at Windover Farms, 8 miles northwest of Melbourne, FL, and 27.50 inches at Thomasville, GA.
Fay was a fairly prolific tornado-generator in the United States, producing a total of 81 tornadoes across five states: 19 in Florida, 17 in Georgia, 16 in North Carolina, 15 in Alabama, and 14 in South Carolina. The overwhelming majority of the tornadoes were categorized as having EF0 intensity. A few tornadoes were classified at EF1 to EF2 intensity.
Fay was a long-lived tropical storm that made eight landfalls including a record four landfalls in Florida and produced torrential rainfall that caused extensive floods across the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and Florida.
The amount of total insured damage compiled by the Property Claim Services of the Insurance Services Office, Inc., was $245 million dollars. This includes $195 million in Florida, $25 million in Georgia, and $25 million in Alabama. Flood damage losses reported by the National Flood Insurance Program were about $36 million dollars. Using a doubling of insured losses to obtain the total damage gives an estimate of Fay’s damage in the United States of about $560 million dollars.
Blistering heat pushed the mercury up to an all-time record high of 96.1° at Edmonton International Airport, Alberta Canada.
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