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Weather History: July 19: Record temps, flooding, storms, wind & tropics

Listed are Meteorological events that happened on July 19th:


The third hurricane to cross the state of Florida in one month caused serious damage from Cedar Key to Jacksonville. Three early season hurricanes striking Florida made the Hurricane Season of 1886 one of the busiest on record.


Hong Kong, China recorded 21 inches of rain in 24 hours.


Boston, MA recorded their highest one minute wind velocity: northwest at 52 mph.


It took three minutes for a tornado to cross Cheneville, Quebec Canada demolishing the small village.


Cow Creek and Greenland Ranch in Death Valley, CA reported morning lows of 102°. The afternoon high at Greenland Ranch was 124°, and 126° at Cow Creek. The coolest low for the entire month for both locations was 82°. Idyllwild, CA set a daily record high with 97°.

Boise, ID recorded their hottest day on record as the high peaked at 111°.


The record coldest July temperature was tied at Billings, MT at 41° (also occurred 7/4/1972). The high for the day was a chilly 47°, the only occurrence of a July high temperature less than 50°.


A severe thunderstorm with winds to 80 mph and up to two inches of rain washed out four to five foot deep sections of roadway in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Three people in a station wagon died as it was carried 3,000 feet down a wash by a ten foot wall of water.


88 years after the Great Johnstown flood, the supposedly "flood proof" city of Johnstown, PA was struck again with a wall of water as the earthen Laurel Run Dam gave way in the face of 12 inches of rain in 7 hours. 77 people were killed, countless people injured and $424 million dollars in damage was caused by the swirling flood waters.


Strong thunderstorms produced very heavy rainfall in the mountains and the adjacent desert in southern California. A mudslide at the top of the Palm Springs Tram trapped 150 people, all but 31 were rescued by helicopter. The 31 spent the night because the helicopter was grounded due to unsafe winds. The 15 minute slide was a debris flow carrying huge rocks and timbers. A thunderstorm plunged a light aircraft to the ground at Mormon Rocks, killing a family of three. Flooding was reported “all over” in the Morongo Basin. A tornado at Needles, CA hit a mobile home park and injured six. It leveled four mobile homes and damaged 14 others. 1.50 inches of rain fell at Palomar Mountain, the greatest daily amount on record for July. 2.36 inches fell in Cuyamaca, flooding Paso Picacho Campground.


Several cities in the western and the southeastern U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date, including Winnemucca, NV with a reading of 33°. Other record lows included: Flagstaff, AZ: 34°, Idyllwild, CA: 34°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 50° and Borrego Springs, CA: 64°.

Afternoon and evening thunderstorms produced severe weather in New York State and New Jersey. High winds and hail two inches in diameter injured two people and caused considerable damage to crops in the Pine Island area of central New York State.


Thunderstorms in Nebraska produced more than five inches of rain at Red Cloud, including 2 inches in just 15 minutes.

Torrid temperatures continued over California, with record highs of 116° at Redding and 115° at Red Bluff.


Early morning thunderstorms in the Lower Mississippi Valley produced 5.50 inches of rain south of Alexander, AR in just 90 minutes, and flash flooding which resulted claimed the life of one person. Thunderstorms in Indiana produced 4.95 inches of rain in twelve hours east of Muncie.

Several cities in the southwestern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date, including Phoenix, AZ with a high of 116° and Las Vegas, NV with a reading of 115°.


This was a season of unusually strong hurricanes in eastern and central Pacific. Hurricane Emilia was first of three Category 5 hurricanes with winds of 160 mph. The other two Category 5 hurricanes were Hurricane Gilma: 7/21 - 7/31: top winds of 160 mph and record breaking Hurricane John: 8/11 – 9/10: top winds of 175 mph.


Hurricane Danny lashed the Alabama Gulf Coast with winds of 80 mph as the storm stalled over the southern end of Mobile Bay, dumping 30 inches of rain on Coastal Mobile and Baldwin Counties. 36.71 inches of rain fell during the storm at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (25.98 inches of which fell in just seven hours). The incredible rainfall caused extensive flooding. Two people were killed in preparations for the storm. A four story condominium complex under construction in Gulf Shores, AL was leveled by the storm.


Las Vegas, NV tied their all-time record high temperature of 117° and set their all-time record high minimum of 95°. The average temperature of 106° made this the hottest day ever in Las Vegas. Other daily record highs included: Death Valley, CA: 129°, Victorville, CA: 115° and Big Bear Lake, CA: 91°.

Beginning on this date through the 23rd, the high temperature at Las Vegas, NV climbed above 100° with readings of 101° on the 19th, 105° on the 20th, 104° on the 21st and 102° on both the 22nd and 23rd. Record highs were set all five days. The 105° reading on the 20th was not only a record for the date, it was the highest reading for July and tied their all-time record high (8/8/1878). The five day period equaled the record for the most consecutive days of 100° or more first set from 7/4 through 7/8/1989. The demand for high electric power exceeded the supply and rolling blackouts occurred.


A severe weather outbreak occurred across portions of the middle and upper Mississippi River valley. Originating in southern Minnesota during the morning, it curved southeast into eastern Iowa then moved across central and western Illinois during the mid to late afternoon. By early evening, it had curved southwest and moved across the St. Louis area, where it did extensive damage and left a half million people without power. Wind gusts near Bunker Hill, in southern Macoupin County, were reported to be 90 mph.

Charlwood, England set the hottest temperature ever recorded in Britain in July with 97.3°.


The Minnesota State Climate Office issued a statement declaring the 88° dew point temperature measured at Moorhead (on the Red River across from Fargo, North Dakota) between 7pm and 9pm on this date as a new all-time state record for the highest such reading ever observed. This would also be one of the highest dew points ever observed in the United States.


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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