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Weather History: July 13: Record temps, tropics, storms, twisters, wind & floods

Meteorological events that happened on July 13th:

Floods kill an average of 140 people per year in the United States making it the number one severe weather killer. About 60% of these victims are caught in cars or trucks that were driven into water flowing across a road. Here's why: Water weighs about 62 pounds per cubic foot. The weight and speed of moving water give it plenty of momentum. For each foot the water rises, it pushes on a car with an astounding 500 pounds of force. Therefore buoyancy, in effect, will make a car weigh 1500 pounds less for each foot the water rises. Water only two feet deep can carry most cars away.


Two hailstorms about 12 miles apart produced unusually long swaths of damage from Touraine, France, to parts of Belgium. One path was 10 miles wide by 420 miles long; the other path was 5 miles by 500 miles. A thousand communities in France sustained heavy damage.


A tornado struck Cherry Hill, NJ killing three people and causing $50 thousand dollars damage. The same storm moved into the Harlem and Woodhaven areas of New York City killing one person, and finally ended as a waterspout over Jamaica Bay.


Michigan recorded its hottest temperature ever as the town of Mio hit 112°. The state high temperature record was also broke as Wisconsin Dells, WI soared to 114°.

Grand Rapids, MI hit 108°, their highest temperature ever. Six out of the seven days from July 8th to July 14th were above 100°. Other all-time records were set at: Eau Claire, WI: 111° and Wausau, WI: 107°. Other daily record highs included: New Hampton, IA: 110°, Viroqua, WI: 108°, Flint, MI: 108°, Houghton Lake, MI: 107°, Angola, IN: 106°, Alpena, MI: 106°, Medford, WI: 104°, Fort Wayne, IN: 104° (Fort Wayne also recorded their warmest low temperature of 80°), Houghton, MI: 104° and Escanaba, MI: 100°.

Springfield, IL set a record high with 108°. Nighttime didn't provide much relief, as the temperature only fell to 84°, their warmest night ever. From the 4th through the 15th, the high in Springfield was at least 100°. The average temperature during the entire month was 86.2°, the warmest July on record.

Fort Francis tied Ontario, Canada’s high temperature record at 108°.


The worst flooding since 1903 in Topeka KS produced the highest Kansas River stage in Topeka history at 41.3 feet. Massive, widespread, and unprecedented damage occurred across North Topeka. The river was above flood stage for 10 straight days, breaking dikes and resulting in the evacuation of 24,000 people. Nearly 7,000 Topeka buildings were damaged or destroyed. A railroad locomotive was washed down the river when a bridge collapsed. Very heavy spring rains continued into June and July, pushing all rivers to very high levels.


Hundreds of homes and businesses in Las Vegas, NV are damaged by floodwaters that were 4 feet deep in the Twin Lakes subdivision. Property damage is estimated at $3 million dollars. Heavy rain associated with strong thunderstorms in the Valley Vista area of Mohave County, AZ lead to street and highway flooding.


Clouds, rain and a cool northeast wind holds the high temperatures in the upper 50s to mid 60s across West Michigan. The high of 59° at Grand Rapids, MI was only the second time in over a hundred years of record that the temperature did not reach 60° on a July day. Early morning lows dropped in ot the lower and middle 30’s across parts of the northern Plains.


An F2 tornado hit Seabrook, NJ, unroofing a school and a frozen food packaging plant. F1 tornadoes touched down in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Cecil County, Maryland. Dover, DE, was deluged with 8.50 inches of rain to establish a 24 hour record for the state.


Lightning struck a key electrical transmission line in Westchester County in southeastern New York State plunging New York


It was a hot day across the Deep South as the scorching summer of 1980 continued. Memphis, TN set their all time record with 108°. Macon, GA topped out at 108° and Atlanta at 105°. Newington, GA sweltered as the mercury soared to 110°. Birmingham, AL experienced their hottest day of the heat wave with a reading of 106°. Temperatures in Birmingham exceeded 100° for 7 days. Dallas, TX recorded readings of 100° or greater on 69 days from June 23rd to September 6th; 42 consecutive days. At least 1,700 people died due to the heat in the summer of 1980 with agricultural losses $20 billion 1980 dollars.


A thunderstorm at Albany, GA produced 1.40 inches of rain in just 40 minutes, along with wind gusts to 82 mph.

Afternoon highs of 114° at Phoenix, AZ, 110° at Tucson, AZ, and 98° at Corpus Christi, TX, equaled records for the date.

Greenwood, MS reported 55.65 inches of precipitation to date, twice the amount normally received by mid July.


43 members of a 45 climber mountaineering team died as an avalanche buried their camp on 23,406 foot Peak Lenin in Russia.


Heavy rains of 3 to 5 inches in an hour caused flooding of streets and roads at Dodge City, KS. A total of 15 cars were washed down 3rd Avenue with seven cars being piled up on top of each other at 3rd Avenue and Vine Street. People had to be rescued

from their cars. Wyatt Earp Boulevard was also flooded. Standing water of one and a half to two feet was reported in southwestern Dodge City. In south central Kansas, heavy rains in Kiowa County caused widespread flooding and as much as 8 inches of rain was reported in portions of the county. The Rattlesnake Creek was out of its banks throughout the county and was reported to be as wide as five miles near the Edwards county line. Railroad tracks were washed out south of Kiowa County Lake. The water subsided around 5am the next day.

Major flooding on the Mississippi River produced a record river crest at Quincy, IL of 32.3 feet; eclipsing the old record of 28.9 feet set in April 1973. At mid-month, only 5 of 28 bridges that cross the river into Illinois were open.

Barrow, AK, set their all time record high of 79°.


Many daily record high temperatures and three all time record highs were recorded as the deadly July 1995 heat wave continued unabated from the Midwest to the Atlantic coast. All time highs set included: Genoa, WI: 109°, Milwaukee, WI: 108°, La Crosse, WI: tied at 108°, Chicago, IL: 106°, Necedah, WI: 104°, Trempealeau, WI: 103°, Decorah, IA: 102° and Guttenberg, IA: 102°. Heat indices soared to well over 120° in many areas and close to 130° at Chicago, IL & Cedar Rapids, IA as dew point temperatures were in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. 553 people died in Chicago alone from the heat.


A weakening Tropical Storm Bertha moved north-northeast from Wilmington, NC, passing 45 miles south of Dover, DE then by Atlantic City, NJ and up to Long Island Sound, NY. In New Jersey, wind gusts reached 63 mph in Harvey Cedars, 60 mph in Seaside Park, 55 mph in Cumberland County, and 43 mph at Atlantic City. Some minor back bay tidal flooding occurred in Cape May County, and only Monmouth Beach suffered severe beach erosion, with 60 feet of the 120 feet wide beach at the south of the borough disappearing. Philadelphia, PA received a 4-day total rainfall of 4.31 inches, with 1.87 inches falling on the 13th and 2.15 inches on the 14th. 6.59 inches fell at Estelle Manor, 4.56 inches at Folsom, 4.14 inches at Belleplain, 4 inches at the Cape May Courthouse, 3.78 inches at Hammonton and 2.07 inches at Margate, all in New Jersey. No serious damage was reported, but a surfer drowned at Ocean Beach, NJ, on the 12th. Further south, in separate incidents, two people drowned in rip currents along unguarded sections of Miami Beach, FL.

A severe thunderstorm produced hail up to an inch and a half in diameter at Cheyenne, WY which resulted in about $4 million dollars in damage.


Winds up to 80 mph swept through Kingman, AZ damaged or destroyed dozens of homes. Four people were also injured from flying debris. In Chloride, winds were estimated at 100 mph which caused significant damage, uprooting trees and knocking out power.


A violent tornado quickly developed across Woodford County, Illinois during the mid afternoon. This tornado was at F4 intensity as it demolished a manufacturing plant four miles west of Roanoke. Although 140 people were inside at the time, all escaped injury by reaching storm shelters a few minutes before the tornado's arrival. Steel beams and metal siding from the plant were found approximately three quarters of a mile east in a farm field. Four farmsteads east of the plant were severely damaged or destroyed.


Tropical Storm Bilis tracked across northern Taiwan before making landfall in southeastern China's Fujian province with maximum sustained winds near 65 mph. The storm caused at least 575 deaths in Fujian, Guangdong and Hunan provinces and direct economic losses totaled near $3.3 billion U.S. dollars.


A streak of 24 consecutive days (ending August 5th) of 90° or higher began on this date at Denver, CO. This shattered their previous record of 18 days established in 1901 and 1974.


In just one hour, 2.16 inches of rain fell at Nakatsu City and 2.11 inches at Imari City in southwestern Japan. The flooding and landslides that resulted killed at least 28 people and caused extensive damage to the infrastructures.


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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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