Meteorological events that happened on August 23rd
Estimates are that over 3 billion lightning strikes hit the planet every year. The United States gets more than its fair share of this total. One of the great hazards of lightning strikes is the fire danger. Each year approximately 10,000 fires are started by lightning in the U.S. alone. These fires destroy an average of $50 million dollars in timber annually. This cost does not take into account the cost of the massive effort it requires to bring in fire fighters from all over the country to fight the blazes.
A hurricane struck the Atlantic Coast, moving from Virginia to Massachusetts. Extensive damage was done in Rhode Island, and the torrential rains from the hurricane caused the Connecticut River to rise 26 feet above its usual level. All crops along the river were inundated and carried away by the floods.
A hurricane of great size and destructive power raged along the Atlantic coast from the 21st to the 24th. As the slow moving storm gained forward speed, shipping suffered severely. The coastal ship "Rose in Bloom" capsized during the morning off Barnegat Inlet, NJ, with the loss of 21 of the 49 persons on board. This disaster received wide national publicity. Further north, Cape Cod, MA received 18 inches of rain, which ruined crops. The storm also caused major shipping losses.
The Great Middle Florida Hurricane of 1851 struck the area near Apalachicola and St. Marks.
Congress appropriated funds for the creation of a National Weather Service. One of the main needs was the ability to warn for hurricanes. What was probably the first warning for a storm of tropical origin was issued on this date for New England and the Mid Atlantic States.
Thunderstorms drenched Kansas City, MO with 6 inches of rain during the early morning, including nearly 3 inches in just 30 minutes.
2.2 inches of rain fell at Denver, CO in one hour, a record for that location.
A major hurricane made landfall along the North Carolina/Virginia border, moved through Virginia, along the western Chesapeake Bay and central Pennsylvania during the late afternoon into the overnight as a tropical storm, then moved northeast up the St Lawrence River valley. Washington, D.C. measured a wind gust of 49 mph on the 22nd. A tidal bore swept up Chesapeake Bay with waters rising to 12 feet above normal, the highest ever recorded. Tidal flooding pushed up the Delaware River with 10 square miles of southwest Philadelphia, PA flooded. On this date, although the system was now only a tropical storm, Baltimore, MD recorded a wind gust to 74 mph, Delaware Breakwater gusted to 78 mph, and Atlantic City, NJ measured a gust to 100 mph. 60% of Atlantic City was flooded. There was great damage to resorts on the Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey coasts. 47 people were killed and damage was set at $47 million 1933 dollars.
A long dry spell began in central Illinois. This was the first of 37 consecutive days where no measurable rain fell at Springfield, a record dry spell for the city.
Warnsveld, in the Netherlands set a record for their countries highest maximum temperature as the thermometer hit 101.5°.
Project Stormfury was armed and ready as Hurricane Beulah moved across the Atlantic Ocean north of Puerto Rico. An armada of planes carried out the seeding and monitored the results of the experiment. On the 23rd, Beulah did not really meet the criteria for seeding. On the following day, the storm met the criteria of having a well-formed eyewall and the seeding appeared to be successful as the eyewall disintegrated. No other hurricanes would be seeded until 1969 because of a lack of good targets.
A bolt of lightning struck and killed a surfer who had just come out of the water while surfing at Surf City, NJ. The surfer was standing at the ocean's edge when lightning struck.
Dry thunderstorms ignited more than 100 fires in the Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests of Washington State. Hot, dry, and windy weather spread the fires, a few of which burned out of control through the end of the month. More than 100,000 acres were destroyed.
A cold front brought autumn-like weather to the Northern and Central Plains Region. Afternoon highs were in the 50s and 60s across parts of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. Just two days earlier temperatures were in the 90s to above 100°.
Upwelling in Lake Ontario caused by unusually strong northwesterly winds caused quite a temperature difference across the lake. On the north shore, water temperatures were an icy 41°, while along the south shore, they were a much more comfortable 70°.
Thunderstorms produced hail an inch in diameter, wind gusts to 64 mph, and 2.62 inches of rain at Tucson, AZ resulting in $3 million dollars damage.
Cool weather prevailed in the northeastern U.S. Some record lows included: Caribou, ME: 38°-Tied, Concord, NH: 38°-Tied, Hartford, CT: 42°, Burlington, VT: 43°, Albany, NY: 44°, Syracuse, NY: 45°-Tied, Atlantic City, NJ: 50°-Tied, Islip, NY: 55° and New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 58°-Tied. Out west, Pocatello, ID tied a record low with 36°.
Thunderstorms produced heavy rain with flash flooding in West Virginia. Pickens, WV reported 4.80 inches of rain in 24 hours. Evening thunderstorms in Mississippi deluged Alta Woods with 4.25 inches of rain in less than an hour. Thunderstorms also produced heavy rain in southeastern Kentucky, and flooding was reported along Big Creek.
Fort Worth, TX hit the 100 degree mark for the first time all year.
On this Sunday morning, the warnings in South Florida were frantic. Andrew had top winds of 120 mph, making it a category 3 hurricane. Located 380 miles west of Miami that morning, the hurricane was moving west at 15 mph. By 3:30 pm, Andrew was a Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph. That afternoon, Hurricane Andrew brought a 23 foot storm surge to Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Damage in the islands totaled $250 million dollars.
An unusually strong surge of arctic air combined with a strong upper level trough resulted in record early snowfall and cold temperatures over north central Montana. Great Falls had 5 inches of snow. Never before in the 100 years of records kept at Great Falls had snow ever fallen in August, let alone accumulated on the ground. Many places in Glacier National Park measured 13 inches. All-time record low temperatures for the month of August were set at Great Falls: 32° and at Billings: 39°. Daily record lows included: Helena, MT: 33°, Havre, MT: 35°, Missoula, MT: 37°-Tied and Lewiston, ID: 42°.
The Fujiwhara Effect describes the interaction between two low pressure systems that come within a reasonably close distance to one another, usually about 700 to 900 nautical miles. The Fujiwhara Dance begins when two cyclones "link arms" and begin to rotate around a common midpoint. On this date, as Hurricane Iris was being pursued by Hurricane Humberto in the Atlantic east of the Leeward Islands, the two linked in a Fujiwhara dance.
Tropical Storm Jerry brought very heavy rains to parts of Central Florida on this date making landfall at Jupiter. Winds were only 40 mph, but rains of up to 15 inches were reported. The town of Golden Gate, east of Naples reported 16.80 inches. There was so much water that walking catfish made their way onto the runways at West Palm Beach International Airport, disrupting flights. Only two tornadoes and one waterspout was reported and tides ran just 1 to 2 feet above normal.
Massive flooding caused by heavy rains from the remnants of dying Tropical Storm Charley struck the town of Del Rio, TX with 18 inches reported. At least 13 people died in the flooding in Texas and Mexico. The town of Del Rio had been parched by seemingly endless drought before the rains started had had less than 3 inches of rainfall for the first seven months of the year.
Scattered strong thunderstorms developed during the evening hours of the 22nd in west central Illinois, continuing into the early morning hours of the 23rd. Excessive rain fell during this period, and produced widespread urban and street flooding. Cooperative observer rainfall observations ranged from 6.30 to 8 inches in Hancock County from this event. In Schuyler County, a total of 8.67 inches of rain fell in Brooklyn. On the LaMoine River, levels rose up to 16 feet in only 4 to 6 hours.
Several inches of rain in less than three hours caused flash flooding in Kalamazoo, MI where two homes and two businesses sustained extensive damage. Waldo Stadium, on the campus of Western Michigan University, also had major flooding. At one point, three feet of standing water covered the entire football field. The flooding caused an estimated $200,000 dollars in damage.
An unusually huge summer marine storm struck the southwest Alaska coast. Winds gusted to more than 50 mph whipping up 20 foot waves before moving inland.
Hurricane Katrina formed from Tropical Depression Twelve over the southeastern Bahamas. Katrina would become the costliest ($81.2 billion) and one of the most deadly hurricanes (1,836 lives) in U.S. history.
A powerful storm system with winds in excess of 100 mph struck the regions of Uruguay where nearly 70% of the country's population reside. Thousands of homes were damaged and around 20,000 people lost electricity and telephone service. Seven people were killed and dozens injured.
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