Meteorological events that happened on August 20th:
The "Battle of Fallen Timbers" took place on the Maumee River in northwestern Ohio at the sight of a windfall from a tornado.
The “Year Without a Summer” continued as hard frost occurred in much of New England. Frost was seen as far south as Connecticut.
A borderline Category 5 Hurricane with winds estimated at 155 mph and a pressure of 925 millibars or 27.32 inHg stuck the central Texas coast, virtually destroying the town of Indianola. The town was never rebuilt.
35.53 inches of rain fell in 24 hours at Tanabe, Japan.
A destructive, estimated F4 tornado moved east-southeast from 7 miles west-northwest of Willow Lake, SD through the town, and on into Bryant, SD. Most of the damaged occurred in those two towns. All buildings on at least three farms were blown away. One woman died in Bryant, as the tornado swept across the residential west side of town. Another man was killed just west of Willow Lake, as his farm house was scattered for miles.
The Big Blowup, a major forest fire outbreak in Idaho and Montana was swept by gale force winds. The towns of Taft, Deborgia, Haugan and Tuscor, MT were destroyed. 3 million acres burned before early winter rains finally extinguished the fires.
A tornado estimated at F4 intensity initially touched down in Winnebago County, Iowa, moved through Freeborn County, Minnesota, and hit the south side of Austin, MN. About $600,000 of the million in total loses was to about 100 homes in Austin (estimated F3 damage). Five of the 6 deaths were in Austin with 60 injuries. Later in the day, an F3 tornado moved from 3 miles north of New Amsterdam, WI to 2 miles south of West Salem, WI. Three farm homes and five barns were destroyed. Many cattle were killed.
14.81 inches of rain fell in 24 hours at Tuckerton, NJ establishing the state rainfall record.
Canadian high pressure brought record low temperatures for the date. The following locations reported record low temperatures for August: Owen, WI: 28°, Blair, WI: 33°, Cresco, IA 34°, Platteville, WI: 38°, Trempealeau, WI: 40°, Alma, WI: 42°, Quincy, IL: 42° and Lynxville, WI: 44°.
Other daily record lows included: Aberdeen, SD: 33°, Sioux Falls, SD: 34°, St. Cloud, MN: 34°, Rochester, MN: 35°, Huron, SD: 38°, Green Bay, WI: 39°, Lincoln, NE: 39°, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN: 40°, Grand Island, NE: 40°, Norfolk, NE: 40°, North Platte, NE: 40°, La Crosse, WI: 42°, Moline, IL: 43°, Peoria, IL: 43°, Omaha, NE: 43°, Milwaukee, WI: 44°, Rapid City, SD: 45°, Topeka, KS: 45°, Springfield, IL: 46°, Columbia, MO: 46°, Chicago, IL: 47°, Dodge City, KS: 47°, Goodland, KS: 47°, Wichita, KS: 47°, Concordia, KS: 48°, Kansas City, MO: 49°, Amarillo, TX: 51°, St. Louis, MO: 52°, Tulsa, OK: 54°, Louisville, KY: 54°-Tied, Lexington, KY: 54°-tied and Oklahoma City, OK: 56°.
The weakening Super-Typhoon Carmen passed over Okinawa. The storm's eye measured 230 miles in diameter. The largest eye of a tropical storm ever measured.
What once was Super Hurricane Camille was now only a tropical depression as it drifted across the Mid Atlantic states during the early morning hours on this date. However, deadly forces were still at work as Camille interacted with the jet stream and unloaded a tremendous amount rain over Nelson and adjacent counties in Virginia. Some locations had 31 inches of rain in only 6 hours, resulting in extreme flooding that killed 109 people. No warning was issued but this would have made little difference since most were asleep as houses were destroyed. It was said that the rain was so heavy that birds, which have nostrils on the tops of their beaks, drowned while perched on trees. After this event, the total damage from Camille was $1.4 billion dollars.
A tornado struck the Sudbury area in Ontario, Canada killing 6 people and injuring 200 others. Damage was estimated at over $10 million dollars.
Dust storms in the far southern part of the San Joaquin Valley in California caused two fatal chain reaction accidents. One, on Interstate 5 involved 30 vehicles and resulted in four deaths and 80 injuries. The other, on Highway 99 south of Bakersfield involved 50 vehicles and resulted in three fatalities and 16 injuries.
Major flash flooding occurred at Weirton, WV as 3 inches of rain fell in a short period causing a major portion of the town to be covered under several feet of water.
The remnants of Hurricane Alicia brought heavy rain and flooding to parts of southern and central Oklahoma. Rainfall of 4 to 6 inches in less than 6 hours occurred in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, the hardest hit part of the state. Major flooding occurred west of El Reno, while high water crept into a few buildings at the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman.
Several cities in the Central Plains Region reported record high temperatures for the date, including Hill City, KS with 106°, Goodland, KS with 104° and Pueblo, CO with 102°.
More than 150,000 acres were consumed during one of many fires in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming. This was the single worst day of the fires and was later dubbed Black Saturday. More Yellowstone land burned on this day, than all other fires combined since the establishment of the park in 1872. Ash from the fires drifted as far away as Billings, MT.
Sheridan, WY reported a record high temperature of 100°.
Evening thunderstorms produced golf ball size hail near Fortuna, ND, and wind gusts to 70 mph near Webster, SD.
Early morning thunderstorms produced heavy rain in southeast Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma, with up to 6 inches reported around Tulsa, OK. Some roads in the Tulsa area were closed by water 10 to 12 feet deep. Evening thunderstorms produced severe weather in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas. Thunderstorms produced winds gusts to 75 mph in Major County, Oklahoma, and hail 2 inches in diameter at Jennings, KS.
The temperature at Houston Intercontinental Airport reached 105° to set a new daily record. It was the hottest reading since 1980. Only three times in recorded history has the temperature at Houston been higher than 105°, including twice in 1980 and once in 1962. Houston's all time record high was recorded on 8/23/1980, when the mercury reached 107°.
Tropical Storm Andrew continued his struggle to maintain himself near 22N/63W as strong upper level winds from a cold upper low to its north sheared the convection. Despite Andrew's broad, poorly organized center with a lowest sea level pressure of only 1015 millibars or 29.97 inHg, an Air Force reconnaissance plane still found sustained 80 mph winds at the 1500 foot level in the northeastern quadrant of the storm. Andrew managed to hold his own and once the wind shear abated late on the 21st, the storm began a rapid intensification curve and eventually became a strong category five hurricane that went on to devastate south Florida as a massive high pressure area built to Andrew's north and steered him westward.
Temperatures fall into the 30s in some rural areas in Michigan during the coldest August on record at Grand Rapids. Record lows for the day include 42° at Muskegon, MI and 43° at Grand Rapids, MI.
El Paso, TX hit 100° for the 56th time this year. This set a new record for days 100 degrees or above in a single year for the city. The old record was 55 days set back in 1980.
Parts of eastern Salt Lake City, UT were inundated by up to 2 feet of water as heavy rain in the nearby Wasatch Mountains caused flash flooding.
One of the worst floods in history for parts of southern New Jersey occurred as heavy thunderstorms dumped torrential rain from Delaware into southeastern New Jersey. 11.12 inches of rain at Atlantic City, NJ shattered their record precipitation for the date and for any single date. The rains brought the total for the month to 15.74 inches which broke the old monthly record set in 1967. At the marina in Atlantic City, just 10 miles from the airport, only 2.60 inches fell. 3.17 inches of rain fell in one hour at the airport. The airport and almost every road in the area were closed.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Ignacio produced some unusually heavy rain for the time of year in San Francisco, CA; 0.73 inches of rain fell, making this the second wettest August day ever.
Southern Turkey is normally very dry in the summer as the town of Mugla in southwestern Turkey receives as an average of 0.32 inches. However in just 3 hours, 1.02 inches of rain fell during a thunderstorm.
Thunderstorms developed in the mountains and desert of southern California dropping three inches of rain at Yucca Valley, 2.63 inches of rain in one hour and seven minutes in San Felipe Valley and 1.92 inches in two hours at Ocotillo Wells. Flash flooding damaged five homes. Three people lost their lives and two swift water rescues were made in Twentynine Palms.
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