Meteorological events that happened on February 21st:
Christopher Columbus encountered the 1st of 2 extra-tropical storms near the Azore Islands. It was assumed for many years that Columbus had experienced a rare winter hurricane, but meteorologists have proven that it was more likely a non-tropical type storm. If he had been in the northern part of the storms, the course of history might have been altered.
A spectacular Chinook wind at Granville, ND caused the temperature to spurt from a morning low of -33° to an afternoon high of 50°.
The most destructive ice storm in Midwest history blanketed everything in a 4 inch coating of ice. $1 million in damage and one fatality resulted.
A tornado damaged ships and buildings on the island of Fiji.
Frequent dust storms occurred in eastern Colorado during the month, forcing schools to close and people to stay indoors. A fatality occurred on this date when two section cars collided on the railroad near Arriba, CO, due to poor visibility.
The temperature at Langdon, ND climbed above 0° for the first time in 6 weeks. Readings never got above freezing during all 3 winter months.
Rock Rapids, IA was buried under 30.8 inches of snow over a 5-day period through this date to set the state's single storm snowfall record.
While tornadoes were plaguing the Lower Mississippi Valley, a blizzard was pounding northwestern Oklahoma. 3 feet of snow fell at Elk City and Buffalo, OK, easily establishing a single storm and 24-hour snowfall record for the state. Residents in some areas were forced to use their 2nd floor windows to get in and out of their houses because of the enormous drifts.
An outbreak of tornadoes hit northeastern Louisiana and northern and central Mississippi. The first major tornado touched down that day at about 2:50 p.m. in Louisiana and crossed into Mississippi. 46 people were killed by this twister, which struck the towns of Dehli and Inverness. The tornadoes claimed up to 121 lives, including 110 in Mississippi. There were 1,600 injuries, 900 homes destroyed or badly damaged, and total damage was $19 million dollars. 3 tornadoes rated as F4’s accounted for most of the deaths and destruction.
Low pressure over central California produced gale force winds along the coast, and produced thunderstorms which pelted Stockton, Oakland and San Jose with small hail.
A storm tracking across southern Canada produced high winds in the north central U.S. Winds gusted to 90 mph at Boulder, CO. The high winds snapped trees and power lines, and ripped shingles off roofs.
The Kentucky Fried Chicken Bucket was blown off their store in Havre, MT. An 18 foot fiberglass bear was blown off its stand along a store front in west Cody, WY.
Thunderstorms developing during the morning hours spread severe weather across Georgia and the Carolinas. Strong thunderstorm winds caused one death and 13 injuries in North Carolina, and another 4 injuries in South Carolina.
Overnight thunderstorms produced heavy rain in central Texas. Rainfall totals ranged up to 2.80 inches at Camp Verde, with 2.20 inches reported at Leakey. Thunderstorms early in the day produced high winds in southern Texas, with wind gusts to 60 mph reported at Alice. Daytime thunderstorms in eastern Texas drenched Rosenberg with 4 inches of rain.
Today marked the 16th consecutive day that Sacramento, CA recorded measurable rain. This broke the old record of 15 consecutive days set back in February 1936 and again in November 1970. Total rainfall over the 16 day period was 6.41 inches.
Cities in South Texas recorded all-time high temperatures for February, including Del Rio with 103°, San Antonio with 100°, Austin and College Station with 99° and Waco with 96°.
Alabama officials reported no serious injuries from high winds that unroofed many buildings. Forecasters at the National Weather Service is Huntsville, AL saw the damage first hand as high winds unroofed an adjacent fire station that slammed into their building about 100 yards away.
Many cities in Mississippi set record highs on consecutive dates on this date and the 22nd. Several monthly record high temperatures were set at cities in New York, including 73° at Rochester and 70° at Buffalo.
The northern Syrian town of Idlib received 7.6 inches of rain on this date.
Thunderstorms over northern Bolivia from the 19th through this date produced the heaviest rain in 50 years at La Paz. At least 69 people were killed in the most destructive storm in the city's history.
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