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Weather History: August 2: Record temps, tropics, storms, snow, wind & floods

Meteorological events that happened on August 2nd:


A hurricane formed in the Bahamas and came ashore at the North Carolina/South Carolina border. It moved north as a tropical storm, then curved to the northeast, passing across the lower Delaware Bay on its way out to sea. Philadelphia, PA received 2.39 inches of rain and 0.22 inches on the 3rd. This was the first of three tropical systems to affect the Mid Atlantic states in 1944.


Severe thunderstorms produced golf ball size hail for 30 minutes in parts of north central Kansas. One drift measured 200 feet long, 70 feet wide and 3 feet deep.


Record heat continued across the Great Lakes and Midwest. All-time record highs included: Jump River, WI: 100° and Muskegon, MI: 99°. Preston, MN tied their all-time record high with 101°. Daily record highs were set at Lansing, MI: 100° and Grand Rapids, MI: 98°.


At least eight people drowned on Florida Panhandle beaches due to the effects of Hurricane Celia which passed hundreds of miles to the south and made landfall near Corpus Christi, TX. Rip tides and heavy surf with waves up to 10 feet pounded the beaches of Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties. The Escambia County Sheriff reported 25-30 emergency calls with lifeguards rescuing at least 12 people. Tides ran about a foot above normal.


Record heat gripped New England. Highs of 107° at Chester and New Bedford, MA and 104° at Providence, RI established state records. Boston, MA set their all-time record high of 102°. Nantucket, MA reached 100° for the first time in recorded history. The heat along the coast of Maine was unprecedented, with afternoon highs of 104° at Jonesboro and 101° at Bar Harbor. Portland, ME and Burlington, VT set record highs with 98°.

Residents of Hutchinson, Turner, and Minnehaha Counties in South Dakota were cleaning up from the previous night’s heavy rains. The 4.59 inches that fell at Sioux Falls is the official 24 hour precipitation record for the city. The heavy rains led to street flooding across the area making travel difficult. Also many basements were damaged. Despite the inconveniences caused by the heavy rains it was welcome in most areas as it broke a period of very hot and dry weather.


Very heavy rains of 12 to 14 inches fell across the Texas Hill Country during the nighttime and early morning hours causing severe flooding on the Guadalupe River. Up to 30 inches of rain fell during the 3-day period from the 1st through the 3rd. 27 people died in the Hill Country flooding along with tens of millions of dollars in damage. More flooding occurred during the early evening near Abilene, where six people were killed.


A powerful windstorm with gusts to 62 mph occurred across Montreal's West Island. The strong winds overturned boats, damaged cars, homes and left thousands of homes without power.


The intense heat wave continued in Texas. Dallas had their 41st consecutive day of 100° readings. The streak eventually reached 42 days. Abilene, TX was on their 41st consecutive day of 98° or higher, tying a record that dated back to 1952. El Paso, TX was on their 51st consecutive day of 100°+ temperatures. Other record highs included: Oklahoma City, OK: 110°, Tulsa, OK: 108° and Springfield, MO: 102°.


Wind shear caused the crash of a Delta Air Lines jumbo jet during its approach to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. 133 people were killed.


Hot weather continued across the central U.S. Many cities reported record high temperatures for the date, including Concordia, KS with a reading of 106°, Downtown Kansas City, MO with 105° and Moline, IL with 101°.

Evening thunderstorms produced severe weather in the Ohio Valley and the north central U.S. Thunderstorms in South Dakota produced wind gusts to 70 mph at Philip and hail two inches in diameter at Faulkton.


Searing heat continued from the Middle and Upper Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic Coast States. Many cities reported record high temperatures for the date. Chicago, IL reported a record seven days of 100° heat for the year. Sparta, WI set their August high temperature record with 102°. Other daily record highs included: Waterloo, IA: 101°, Rochester, MN: 98 and Dubuque, IA: 98°


Low pressure associated with the remnants Hurricane Chantal deluged north central Texas with heavy rain. Up to 6.50 inches drenched Stephens County, and Wichita Falls reported 2.22 inches of rain in just one hour.

Bismarck ND reported a record warm morning low of 75°, and record hot afternoon high of 101°. Evening thunderstorms in North Dakota produced wind gusts to 78 mph at Lakota.


Across the Atlantic, Wales' hottest day on record occurred as Hawarden Bridge, Clwyd reached 95.4°.


Death Valley, CA tied their all-time August high temperature record with 127° (8/12/1927). China Lake Naval Air Station in California set their all-time high temperature with 119°.


Hurricane Erin made landfall near Sebastian Inlet in southern Brevard County during the early morning hours. Brevard County bore the brunt of the storm with wind gusts to 100 mph between Melbourne Beach and Cocoa Beach knocking down trees on houses, cars, and power lines. The winds damaged thousands of roofs and completely destroyed some roofs. As Erin moved through Orlando during the morning wind gusts to 60 mph downed trees on power lines, houses and cars. About one-half million people were without power initially, several thousand were without power for more than five days. Heavy rains of up to 8 inches in three hours on the backside of Erin hit Brevard County again during the afternoon causing widespread flooding of low lying areas. Many houses were flooded west and northwest of Melbourne and many roads were impassable for several days. Erin moved into the Gulf of Mexico during the afternoon as a tropical storm, but regained hurricane strength before making a second Florida landfall near Pensacola on the morning of the 4th with sustained winds of 95 mph gusting to 110 mph. Widespread wind damage to houses and business was reported. Large trees crashed into houses, cars, and power lines. Most people in the area were without power for several days. Damage in the Pensacola area was estimated at $300 million dollars. The only deaths directly associated with Erin were at sea. A 234 foot gambling/cruise ship sunk 90 miles off Cape Canaveral around 4am on the 2nd killing three people. Five people drowned in the Gulf of Mexico.


Powerful thunderstorms moved across southwest and south central Kansas during the evening hours. In Pratt county eight train cars were blown off the tracks while the train was moving. This occurred one mile west of Cullison. One family was nearly run over by the derailing train cars. One boxcar ended up about 10 feet away from their vehicle. From three miles south of Lewis to Belpre, very strong thunderstorm winds killed calves, blew cars off the highway and blew down 60 power poles. A large tree was uprooted in Belpre. The tree was Belpre's historic balsam fir tree, a landmark in the town for 108 years. It also was the first balsam fir tree planted in Kansas. The tree was planted by a local blacksmith in 1888 after a trip back from Colorado. In Larned, very strong thunderstorm winds blew down trees, damaged several buildings and power lines were blown down. There were unofficial and unconfirmed reports of 125 mph winds recorded on home stations.


An intense thunderstorm moved from northeastern Wyoming into the foothills of the northern Black Hills. Massive downburst winds estimated at 90 to 110 mph hit areas from eight miles west of Spearfish, SD to several miles east of Spearfish. Hail, to golf ball size accompanied the high winds and damaged roofs and siding throughout the region, although the winds caused the worst damage. In town, the intense winds shattered signs, blew over gas station awnings and the wind driven hail caused major damage to automotive and mobile home dealerships. At least ten mobile homes were unlivable and over 100 mobile homes had damage to siding, roofing and skirting. The airport at Spearfish had 27 planes damaged, and seven of those were destroyed beyond repair. Seven hangers at the airport were also damaged or destroyed. A massive amount of trees at Spearfish were either snapped in half or completely knocked over, leaving many roads impassable after the event. Roofing material sliced through an oxygen valve at the Spearfish Trout Farm and killed 100,000 out of 120,000 trout that the family raised. In the Spearfish city campground, more than 150 campers were there, in anticipation of the 60th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally the following week. Over 100 trees were blown over and many people had camping equipment, vehicles or motorcycles damaged by the falling trees. None of the trees fell on occupied tents, although several fell within inches of where people were sleeping in their tents. Four injuries were reported. One of the injuries required treatment at Rapid City Medical Center after someone was injured when his camper flipped over on the interstate. East of Spearfish, highway signs were blown over, large round bales of hay were blown several yards, and more trees were blown down or snapped off. Numerous outbuildings were also damaged, with debris scattered nearly a hundred yards downstream. In Sturgis, the damage was not as intense. The majority of the damage occurred to tents that were set up by vendors selling merchandise for the motorcycle rally. As the storm moved to the southeast, high winds over 60 mph were reported for nearly 45 minutes between Sturgis and Rapid City. In Rapid City, the National Weather Service office measured wind gusts of 70 mph. The storm weakened as it moved southeast of Rapid City, but was still at severe limits as it passed over the Badlands National Park and went southward into Bennett County. Observers in Martin reported 60 mph wind gusts. The storm dissipated before reaching Nebraska.

Rawlins, WY recorded their warmest day on record with a high of 98°.


Strong thunderstorms with very heavy rains during the morning hours caused extensive flash flooding in parts of the Chicago Metropolitan area. Rainfall fell at the rate of 3 to 4 inches per hour. Several major interstates were flooded and impassable including the Dan Ryan, the Edens and the Eisenhower. 228 vehicles were towed from flooded roads or viaducts. Totals included 4.78 inches in the Loop, 3.95 inches at Skokie and Wilmette, 3.50 inches at Wrigleyville, 3.41 inches at Willow Springs, and 3.04 inches at Burr Ridge. A 93 mile tunnel used to hold rain water during periods of flooding reportedly filled in just one hour to its capacity of 1.6 billion gallons of water. Nearly 10,000 homes and 56,000 customers were without power. Fortunately, no injuries or deaths were reported, but damages totaled $37 million dollars.


A severe storm system sweeping across Southern Ontario, Canada spawned 8 tornadoes, the most tornadoes from a single storm system to strike the province since 1985. Two of the tornadoes, which hit near Combermere and east of Bancroft, were rated F2.

The residents of Johannesburg, South Africa saw snow flurries for the first time in 8 years.


Damaging hail storms struck across the Grand Bend area on Lake Huron and south of London, Ontario Canada causing considerable crop damage. One soybean grower noted it was the most intense hailstorm he'd ever seen.

A 130-year-old high-temperature record fell at Denver, CO when the mercury hit 103°. This followed a record high minimum of 70°.

Severe thunderstorm produced 87 mph wind gust at Miles City, MT just before midnight. There were numerous reports of wind damage including car windows blown out.


This was one of the hottest days in Iraq's history, as high temperatures were at or above 122° widespread from Basra north and west to at least Samarra. Although the thermometer reached 124° at Baghdad, Baqubah and Ad Diwaniyah, Tallil, near An Nasiriyah, was the nation's hot spot with 126°.


Oklahoma City, OK soared to 113°, tying the city's all-time heat record set on 8/11/1936. The low that morning was 84°, their warmest low temperature ever. Oklahoma City had three consecutive days with a high of 112° or higher, which has never occurred since record keeping began in 1891. The day is also the last in a string of 18 straight days with the temperature of 100° or higher.


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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