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Weather History: August 27: Record temps, tropics, storms, tornadoes & flooding

Listed are Meteorological events that happened on August 27th:

Lightning can take on many intriguing forms. One of the more interesting and probably less frequent types is called “ribbon lightning”. Ribbon lightning forms when the wind moves or pushes the ionized channel between each lightning return stroke. These return strokes are just following the path carved by the initial lightning strike (when you see lightning appear to flicker what you are seeing is additional return strokes following the same path). As the wind moves the ionized channel between each stroke the lightning will appear as a moving ribbon hanging from the cloud.


On this date one of the most severe hurricanes to ever hit Virginia reduced the Jamestown Colony to ruins. The nearest computation was that at least 10,000 houses were blown down.


A tornado struck Louisville, KY, killing 25 people. Many people were at the Third Presbyterian Church when the tornado hit. 18 parishioners died.


3 inches of snow was reported on the peak of Mouth Washington, NH.


A hurricane struck the coast of Georgia killing 335 people. Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC were especially hard hit.


The Sea Islands Hurricane came ashore near Beaufort, SC. This was the first of three major hurricanes to affect the United States between August and October and one of six hurricanes to hit the U.S. coast that year. Winds at Savannah, GA were estimated at 120 mph. Many communities along the South Carolina coast were inundated by the storm surge. Death toll estimates ranged as high as 2,500; more than 1,000 in the storm surge at Charleston, SC.


0.25 of inch of rain fell in San Francisco, CA to establish their all-time 24 hour rainfall record for the month of August.


A late season heat wave was underway from parts of the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Other daily records included: Huntington, WV: 103°, Baltimore, MD: 102°, Cleveland, OH: 102°, New York (Central Park), NY: 101°, New York (Kennedy Airport), PA: 101°, Columbus, OH: 100°, Bridgeport, CT: 100°, Boston, MA: 100°, Portland, ME: 100°, Cincinnati, OH: 99°, Toledo, OH: 99°, Louisville, KY: 99°, Washington, D.C.: 99°, Newark, DE: 99°, Pittsburgh, PA: 99°, New York (LaGuardia), NY: 99°, Milton, MA: 99°, Detroit, MI: 98°, Flint, MI: 98°, Lansing, MI: 98°, Richmond, VA: 98°, Wilmington, DE: 98°, Atlantic City, NJ: 98°, Allentown, PA: 98°, Philadelphia, PA: 98°, Williamsport, PA: 98°, Rochester, NY: 98°, Hartford, CT: 98°, Chicago, IL: 97°, Indianapolis, IN: 97°, Akron, OH: 97°, Dayton, OH: 97°, Raleigh, NC: 97°, Harrisburg, PA: 97°, Albany, NY: 97°, Syracuse, NY: 98°, Providence, RI: 98°, South Bend, IN: 96°, Fort Wayne, IN: 96°, Youngstown, OH: 96°, Lynchburg, VA: 96°, Avoca, PA: 96°, Concord, NH: 96°, Grand Rapids, MI: 95°, Elkins, WV: 95°, Burlington, VT: 95°, Alpena, MI: 94°, Worcester, MA: 94°, Beckley, WV: 93°, Ste. St. Marie, MI: 93°, Erie, PA: 92° and Muskegon, MI: 91°.

Buffalo, NY hit their all-time maximum temperature of 99°.


A hurricane moving north-northwestward just off the west coast of Baja California moved northeastward into northern Baja California and dissipated. Moisture from this tropical cyclone resulted in rainfall of 2 to 5 inches in the mountains and deserts starting on this date and ending on 8/29. A daily record of 1.10 inches fell at Borrego Springs. Many roads were washed out in the Imperial Valley, but otherwise no major damage occurred. This occurred during the El Nino of 1951-52.


Palm Springs, CA dropped to 52°, their lowest temperature on record for August. This was tied on 8/30/1957.


On this date through the 28th, Hurricane Cleo, a small, but destructive storm, moved northward into Biscayne Bay early on this date and continued northward a short distance inland and roughly parallel to the Florida east coast all the way to Jacksonville by midday on the 28th. Strongest winds and greatest damage were in a 20 to 35 mile wide coastal strip from Miami to Melbourne. Miami had sustained winds of 100 mph with gusts to 135 mph and the barometer fell to 967 millibars or 28.57 inHg. Storm intensity north of Melbourne was such that only minor damage resulted. The storm surge was less than four feet at Miami, five feet above normal at Fort Lauderdale, and 5 to 6 feet above normal at Pompano Beach. No serious tidal damage was reported. Principal damages were glass breakage in unprotected store fronts, Miami Beach hotels and motels and other unprotected glass. Many building and contents suffered water damage after the windows gave away. Other major damages were uprooted trees, disrupted communications and power failures in the southern sections, sand blasted buildings and automobiles, overturned parked aircraft and agricultural losses. Rainfall connected with this storm was light in the state and there were only isolated reports of flooding. Measured storm totals varied from 5 to 8 inches in the coastal areas of north Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to mostly between 3 and 5 inches in the coastal areas farther north. Three tornadoes were reported, causing minor injuries. This was the first direct hit in south Florida in 14 years. Damage totaled $125 million dollars.

A tornado moved north, then west, then north again through the San Xavier Mission Indian village, four miles west-southwest of Tucson, AZ. Four dwellings were demolished along with two deaths and nine injuries. These were Arizona's first known tornado fatalities.


Hurricane Betsy was born in the Atlantic.


3.66 inches of rain fell in one hour at Elko, NV, setting the state record.


An F2 tornado moved north in the northern part of Cape May City, NJ and moved into Atlantic County. The funnel re-formed as an F1 at Woodbine and Atlantic City. This tornado was associated with tropical storm Doria. Doria was a tropical depression moving northwest through the Bahamas, and became a tropical storm east of northern Florida. The storm re-curved along the coast from North Carolina to New Jersey then moved into New England. Philadelphia, PA received 4.77 inches of rain and New York City: 4.16 inches, both daily records. On the 28th, Philadelphia received an additional 1.78 inches, and New York City a daily record of 1.80 inches. Norfolk, VA, measured a gust to 56 mph, and Cape May, NJ, gusted to 46 mph the next day.


Borrego Springs, CA dropped to 55°, their lowest temperature on record for August.

The largest documented Canadian hailstone was reported in Cedoux, Saskatchewan Canada. It weighed 0.55 lb and measured 4.5 inches across.


Only two days after setting a record low of 43°, the low temperature at Muskegon, MI was a balmy 74°, a record warm low temperature for the date.


A mix of snow, ice pellets and rain fell at Sault St. Marie, MI during the evening. This is the first time snow has ever been recorded at Sault Ste Marie during the month of August since weather records have been kept there. Weather records for Sault Ste Marie date back to July 1, 1888.


Washington D.C. soared to a record high of 100°, while clouds and rain to the north kept temperatures in the 50s in central and southeastern New York State.


Afternoon thunderstorms produced locally heavy rains in the southwestern U.S. Thunderstorms in eastern New Mexico produced wind gusts to 75 mph near the White Sands Missile Range, and produced three inches of rain in two hours near the town of Belen.


Afternoon and evening thunderstorms produced severe weather in southeastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas and Missouri. Thunderstorms produced baseball size hail south of Belleville, KS, and tennis ball size hail south of Lincoln, NE. Thunderstorms produced golf ball size hail and wind gusts to 70 mph at Saint Joseph, MO. Thunderstorms deluged Linton, ND with 6 inches of rain in one hour.


New York City, NY had a bout of severe weather. The Bronx received 4.24 inches of rain. A wind gust of 61 mph was measured at LaGuardia Airport. At Nassau, 12 people were injured when a boat overturned.


A tornado in Maskinonge, Quebec Canada caused over $17 million dollars in damage.


An F3 tornado rolled through the town of Big Flats, WI and caused $1 million dollars in damage. An 80 year old man and his 78 year old wife died when the tornado destroyed their home in Big Flats. 24 homes were destroyed, eight suffered major damage, and 160 had light to moderate damage. In addition, the Big Flats Fire Department and town hall were destroyed, as well as a thrift shop. 70 cows were crushed to death in one barn as the walls blew out and the upper floor, filled with 16,000 bales of hay, and the roof collapsed. This was one of the first tornadoes detected by the new WSR-88D installed at Sullivan, WI. This tornado became known as the "Big Flats Tornado". In addition to this tornado, two other F1 tornadoes touched down on this date. The first touched down just south of Lyndon Station, WI and then moved southeast for just over five miles. This tornado damaged eight mobile homes and plowed through a campground where two trailers were hit. Considerable tree damage also occurred. Three injuries resulted by this tornado. The second F1 tornado briefly in a field caused some crop damage just southeast of Plainville, WI.


17.01 inches of rain fell at Antreville, SC from the remnants of Tropical Storm Jerry, setting a new 24 hour rainfall record for the state. Greer, SC reported 12.32 inches to establish their 24-hour rainfall record and their wettest August on record.


Hurricane Bonnie passed just east of Cape Fear, NC late on the 26th and made landfall near Wilmington, NC on this date as a Category 2 hurricane. Bonnie would be the first of seven (3 hurricanes and 4 tropical storms) named tropical systems to make landfall in the U.S. during a very busy hurricane season, the most since 1985. Three people were killed by the storm and $720 million dollars in damage resulted. One of the biggest victims of Bonnie was the tourism industry in eastern North Carolina. The storm forced over 500,000 visitors to flee in advance of the storm.


A stationary thunderstorm over the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming produced rainfall totals of up to 7.4 inches in six hours. The excessive rains produced severe flash flooding that damaged most of the homes and businesses in Kaycee, WY. As bad as the damage was, experts say that if the rainfall had been centered 10 miles further north, the town of Kaycee would have been totally destroyed. Severe thunderstorms spread large hail over metro Denver, CO. Hail up to two inches in diameter fell in Jefferson County 5 to 11 miles northwest of Golden. A storm produced a trace of rain and a microburst wind gust to 52 mph at Denver International Airport.


Billings, MT ended their longest consecutive day stretch without measurable precipitation at 62 days.


Hurricane Katrina reached Category 3 intensity in the Gulf of Mexico about 335 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph.


In New London in southeast Iowa's Henry County, 8.34 inches of rain fell; 7.20 inches of it in just four hours.


Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia had a late winter high temperature of 101.3°.


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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