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Weather History: August 24: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, hail & "Andrew"

Meteorological events that happened on August 24th:

What's the most humid city in the United States? Quillayute, WA, has an average relative humidity of 83%. All of the Top 10 Most Humid cities are either in the Pacific Northwest, in Washington or Oregon or along the Gulf Coast, in Texas or Florida.


Machiavelli described a tornado which crossed Ancona, Italy as: "From…confused clouds, furious winds, and momentary fires, sounds issued, of which no earthquake or thunder ever heard could afford the least idea; striking such awe into all, that it was thought the end of the world had arrived...."


A hurricane ravaged the area from St. Croix, Virgin Islands to Cuba during the last week of August beginning on this date. Over 142 people were reported dead from storm's impact.


A powerful hurricane struck North Carolina. The storm caused the Diamond Shoals Lightship to break away from its anchorage and drift away. Two crewmembers were lost during the storm.


A hurricane moved northeast of Puerto Rico, then moved north close to the New Jersey shore and into western Long Island, NY during the pre-dawn hours. Cape Henry, VA, measured a gust to 128 mph. Philadelphia, PA had a maximum 1-minute wind velocity of 55 mph. New York City recorded a daily rainfall record of 3.61 inches. Hog Island was a big resort for New York City residents in the mid to late 1800s, located near Coney Island. This hurricane, still a Category 2 off New Jersey, not only washed away the resort, but washed away the island as well. This storm retained its hurricane strength throughout its passage across New England, decreasing to tropical storm status over the mouth of the St Lawrence River.


"A well-known American writer said once that, while everybody talked about the weather, nobody seemed to do anything about it. He was right. We just have to take it as it comes." Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) quoted in The Hartford (Connecticut) Daily Courant.


A cloudburst deluged Guinea, VA with 9.25 inches of rain in just 40 minutes.


An unusually strong dry cold front caused a considerable drop in temperature at Denver, CO. From 3pm to Midnight the temperature fell from a high of 93° to a low of 40°. Sustained winds of 44 mph were reported during the late afternoon. The low of 40° set a daily record low and tied a record low for August. Cheyenne, WY dropped to 30°, their earliest freeze on record.


It was Black Thursday in northwestern Oregon as 200,000 acres were burned in a single day during the Great Tillamook Burn forest fire. As the humidity dropped and an east wind began to increase, firefighters battling the conflagration urgently warned residents to the south and west of the fires to evacuate immediately.


This date was a real scorcher across the Central and Northern Plains. Sioux Falls hit 109°, tying their second highest temperature on record. In fact, three of the four hottest temperatures ever recorded in Sioux Falls occurred in 1936 which not coincidentally is the hottest summer on record across much of the Northern Plains.


A long-lived tornado roared across the landscape near Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Over its 100 mile path south and west of the Lakehead, the storm leveled farm buildings, uprooted trees and killed livestock in ten townships.


The following locations recorded their hottest August temperature: Mather, WI: 107° (also their hottest day on record), Mondovi, WI: 104°, Winona, MN: 103°, and Rochester, MN: 100°, also tying their hottest August temperature with several other dates: 8/3/1930, 8/4/1947, 8/15/1936, 8/23/1948.


It was a record braking chilly morning across the Mid-Atlantic States. Layton, NJ dropped to 33° and Runyon, NJ fell to 37°. It came close to the states all-time record low for August that occurred at Layton & Charlottesburg on 8/25/1940 when they fell to 32°. Other daily record lows included: Elkins, WV: 40°-Tied, Binghamton, NY: 45°, Buffalo, NY: 47°, Allentown, PA: 47°, Wilmington, DE: 48°, Baltimore, MD: 48°, Huntington, WV: 48°-Tied, Harrisburg, PA: 49°-Tied, Richmond, VA: 50° and New York (LaGuardia Airport), NY: 59°.


The NIMBUS I weather satellite was launched. The first one would fail, but subsequent NIMBUS satellites provided the first quality night satellite photographs.


Lightning struck the Crawford County fairgrounds in northwest Pennsylvania killing two people and injuring 72 others.


Heavy rains fell during the evening over much of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, with most of the damage in the Lansdale area. Streets and basements were flooded, cars trapped and basement walls collapsed. Lansdale received over 5 inches in 2 hours.


2.5 inches of rain fell in one hour at Livingston, MT near Bozeman. Major flash flooding resulted with bridges washed out and roads under water.


Five tornadoes touched down south and east of Bloomington, IL. The strongest one traveled from Merna to Cooksville, destroying 5 homes and damaging 125 others. Total damages were around $2.4 million. The storms were unusual in the fact that four had unusual changes in directions of movement.


The remnants of Tropical Storm Holly brought heavy rains and snows to parts of Alaska. Four foot snow drifts were measured in Denali National Park outside of Fairbanks.


Autumn-like weather prevailed across the north central and northeastern U.S. Several cities reported record low temperatures for the date, including Saint Cloud, MN with 37°.

Temperatures in Florida soared to 99° at Jacksonville and 98° at Pensacola.

Thunderstorms produced heavy rain in the Southern High Plains Region, with 5.40 inches at Union, NM, and 7.25 inches reported west of Anthony, NM.


Thunderstorms in the Delaware Valley of eastern Pennsylvania produced wind gusts to 95 mph near Philadelphia, and gusts to 100 mph at Warminster.

A tropical depression drenched the Cabo Rojo area of southwestern Puerto Rico with up to 10 inches of rain. San Juan received 5.35 inches of rain.


Late afternoon and evening thunderstorms produced severe weather in eastern Montana and western sections of the Dakotas. Thunderstorms in Montana produced wind gusts to 76 mph at Jordan, and golf ball size hail at Rock Springs, which collected 3 to 4 feet deep in ditches. Lewiston, ID reported a record 1.50 inches of rain for the date and a record rainfall total for August of 2.63 inches.


Thunderstorms dumped up to 7 inches of rain over Long Island, NY causing many road closings.


Eastern North Dakota suffered severe hail damage from stones that were as big as 6 inches near Lisbon. Windows were smashed, cars heavily damaged, holes punched in roofs and 16,000 acres of crops were destroyed.


Hurricane Andrew made landfall near Homestead, FL around 5am with a central pressure of 922 millibars or 27.23 inHg. Fowey Rocks coastal marine buoy recorded maximum sustained winds of 142 mph and a peak gust of 169 mph (measures 144 feet above the ground) and the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables had sustained winds of 115 mph with a peak gust of 164 mph. A huge satellite dish was knocked off the top of their building. The highest official peak gust was 177 mph at a private home. The storm surge peaked at 16.9 feet occurred in Biscayne Bay, which is a record for south Florida. Homestead AFB was practically wiped out. More than 120,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, leaving 250,000 homeless. About 660,000 people were without power for period of from a few hours to several months. Overall, 65 people died with 15 killed as a direct result of the storm, mostly from flying debris and collapsing roofs, walls, or falling furniture. 23 deaths occurred in the U.S. & three in the Bahamas and damage totaled at least $26.5 billion; including $1 billion in crop loss and $1 billion reported in Louisiana, making Andrew by far the most costly hurricane in U.S. history before Katrina. $250 million dollars in damage occurred in the Bahamas. Andrew was the third most intense hurricane to strike the mainland behind Camille: 1969 and the Labor Day Hurricane: 1935. At the time, Andrew came onshore as a strong Category 4 storm; but close to 10 years later, Andrew was upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane. Once over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a moderate intensification occurred as the storm turned northwestward. On August 26th, Andrew made landfall again, this time in south central Louisiana, with a central pressure of 956 millibars and sustained winds of 120 mph. The hurricane quickly weakened and became a depression 24 hours later, as it was turned sharply northeastward and merged with a frontal system over the eastern United States. Originally a Category 4, Andrew was upgraded a Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 175 mph.


Tlemce in northwestern Algeria gets on average a tenth of an inch of rain in August but on this date in 12 hours 1.77 inches fell as thunderstorms moved across northern Algeria.

In Ibiza, 2.36 inches of rain fell in 18 hours. Their average rainfall for the entire month is 2.36 inches.

Prolonged heavy showers and thunderstorms affected the Netherlands dumping more than 1.97 inches of rain in 21 towns in less than 24 hours, something which has only happened 13 times previously since 1951. There was widespread flooding from the rain and the wettest places included Zevenbergen, near Rotterdam with 5.12 inches, Weesp, near Amsterdam with 3.98 inches and Gouda with 3.47 inches.


Tropical depression 12 would be named Tropical Storm "Katrina" during the morning. Katrina went on to become the costliest and one of the most deadly hurricanes to ever strike the U.S.


Dammama, Saudi Arabia soared to a high of 120°.


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

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