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Weather History: July 3: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, fire, wind & tropics

Meteorological events that happened on July 3rd:

The "Dog Days" traditionally begins on this day of the year. The hot weather period received its name from Sirius, the brightest visible star in the sky and known as the Dog Star. Sirius rises in the east at the same time as the sun this time of the year.


A tornado destroyed several farms in Hancock County, Illinois. A child died after being carried 500 yards; 10 others were injured.


Lightning set off a dynamite charge near Brooksville, FL, killing one woman.


A major hail storm caused $1.5 million dollars in damage across the Denver, CO metro area. The heaviest damage occurred in south Denver, Englewood, Littleton and Golden from wind-driven hail as large as golf balls. Winds were estimated between 60 and 70 mph. Heavy rainfall was estimated at 2 to 3 inches. Hail carried flood waters drifted 3 to 4 feet deep.


The northeastern U.S. was in the midst of a sweltering heat wave. Afternoon highs of 107° at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, 107° at Harrisburg, PA, 105° at Allentown, PA and 102° at Hartford, CT established all-time records for those locations. Newark, NJ tied their all-time record high with 105°. Daily records included: Philadelphia, PA: 104°, NYC-Kennedy, NY: 104°, Atlantic City, NJ: 104°, NYC-Central Park, NY: 103°, Dulles Airport, VA: 103°, Concord, NH: 102°, Wilmington, DE: 102°, Avoca, PA: 101°, Williamsport, PA: 100°, Bridgeport, CT: 99°, Lansing, MI: 99°, Grand Rapids, MI: 97°, Syracuse, NY: 96°, Roanoke, VA: 96°, Binghamton, NY: 95° and Mansfield, OH: 93°.


The world record for a 30 minute rainfall total was set in Sikeshugou, Hebei, China. 11.10 inches of rain fell in this period of time.


Up to 3 inches of rain caused flash flooding throughout Las Vegas, NV. The main damage occurred to vehicles at Caesars Palace with approximately 700 damaged or destroyed with several cars found miles away. North Las Vegas was hardest hit with $3.5 million in damage. Two people drowned in the flood waters.

The greatest 1-hour rainfall ever recorded on Earth occurred at Shangdi, Nei Monggol, China with 15.78 inches. This continues to be suspect.


The United Kingdom recorded its hottest July day on record when the temperature reached 97° in Cheltenham.


A heat wave continued across the southwest. Record highs included: Riverside, CA: 109°, Elko, NV: 104°, Los Angeles (Civic Center), CA: 100°, Ely, NV: 96° and Big Bear Lake, CA: 92°.


Lightning struck and killed three men playing golf on a course near Kingsport, TN. The three men had sought shelter from the rain under a tall tree on a small hill.

Showers and thunderstorms produced heavy rain in New Jersey, with 5.2 inches reported at Trenton State College. 8.60 inches of rain fell in 24 hours at Oneonta, NY. Highway 231 was closed due to mudslides and many basements were flooded.

Hail as large as golf balls accumulated to a depth of 12 inches at Kiowa, CO.


Thunderstorms around Fort Worth, TX produced wind gusts to 76 mph at Burleson, along with 2 inches of rain in 30 minutes.

The record low of 46° at Youngstown, OH was their sixth in a row. Toledo, OH also had a record low of 47°.


Showers and thunderstorms produced locally heavy rain in the eastern U.S.

Bowling Green, KY was soaked with 4.99 inches of rain during the morning hours, and up to 10 inches of rain deluged Oconee County, South Carolina.

The temperature at Alamosa, CO soared to a record high of 91°, following a record low of 35° the previous day.


A 27-mile-long 18 foot high rogue wave rolled onto the Volusia County Beach in eastern Florida. The wave's extent was from Ormond Beach on the north, to New Smyrna Beach on the south. The crest was centered at Daytona Beach. Sailboats crashed ashore onto cars and many people suffered cuts and bruises from glass and debris. Two people required hospitalization and 200 vehicles were damaged. 75 injuries reported.


An unusual high wind event struck Cheyenne, WY, with a peak gust of 79 mph recorded. Among other damage the winds ripped off the roof of the new grandstand at the fairgrounds.


Tropical Storm Alberto formed off the southwest coast of Cuba late on June 30 and moved north at 10 mph. The center crossed the Florida Panhandle near Destin on this date. At landfall the minimum central pressure was 993 millibars or 29.32 inHg with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph and gusts unofficially estimated at 86 mph. The maximum storm tide was 5 feet and rainfall totaled 2 to 7 inches. About 2,000 people voluntarily evacuated. No significant injuries were reported. 13 people were rescued from boats in the northeast Gulf of Mexico. Coastal damage included shoreline erosion, up to 14 feet at Cape San Blas, FL, damage to sea walls, piers and boats, and roof damage to a few beachfront motels. Inland damage included downed signs, billboards, trees, and power lines. Electricity was cut to 18,500 customers for up to two days. Alberto weakened to a depression before moving into southeast Alabama the evening on this date, then meandered around east central Alabama and west central Georgia for 72 hours dropping rains that locally exceeded 20 inches in southwest Georgia. Rainfall totals as high as 21.1 inches in 24 hours was observed at Americus, GA. Macon, GA was deluged with over 10 inches. River flooding in Georgia and Alabama spread into the Florida panhandle on July 5, and along with 6 to 14 inches of additional rain from the remnants of Alberto, caused extensive flooding. This rainfall produced record and near-record flooding along the Flint, Ocmulgee, Chattahoochee, Choctawhatchee, and Apalachicola Rivers. Flood crests exceed 100-year events on the Apalachicola and Chipola Rivers. The first flood crest on the Apalachicola River occurred on July 10th to the 12th. The Apalachicola River remained above flood stage into August, and standing water in localized areas of the panhandle, continued into September, due in part to Tropical Storm Beryl striking in mid-August. The flooding caused 3,000 people to evacuate to Red Cross shelters. Overall, flooding caused by the rainfall from Alberto took 33 lives, destroyed thousands of homes, including some entire communities, forced approximately 50,000 people evacuated, and caused property damage (including lost crops) estimated as high as $750 million dollars. Damage to buildings, roads, water systems and other public property was estimated at $40 million dollars. Insured losses to buildings and vehicles were estimated at $15 million dollars. Agricultural losses were estimated at $25 million dollars including up to 50% of the peanut, cotton, soybean, and corn crops. Animal losses included 300,000 chickens, 125 steers and hogs, and 90% of the oysters in Apalachicola Bay. The tourist industry was estimated to have lost several million dollars in potential revenue. It would be the worst natural disaster in the history of the state of Georgia. 30 counties were declared disaster areas.

A weakening thunderstorm just after midnight produced damage in northeast Dodge City, KS. Skylights were blown off houses. Basketball goals and fences were downed from wind estimates to 85 mph. During the late afternoon hours, several incidents of large hail were reported in and around Dodge City for a fifteen minute period. There was considerable damage to roofs and automobiles. Half an hour later another thunderstorm produced hail damage to roofs on the outskirts of Dodge City.


The coldest temperature ever recorded in New Zealand occurred as Ophir dropped to -6.9°.


A severe wildfire outbreak continued across Florida as severe drought contributed to wildfires that consumed 480,000 acres, destroyed 356 structures and caused over $270 million in damages. Smoke from the vicious Florida fires caused a pall of smoke to spread all the way into the Florida Straits, to Cuba and even to the Bahamas. Visibility was down to only one mile in both Havana, Cuba and at Freeport in the Bahamas. The Pepsi 400 NASCAR race at Daytona was cancelled because of fires in area. At least 30,000 people evacuated coastal Flagler County as fires in three sections of the area threatened to converge into one big fire.


Severe thunderstorms deluged Vanguard, Saskatchewan Canada with 14.8 inches of rain in 8 hours. This was the greatest 8-hour rainfall ever recorded in the Canadian Prairies.


The southwest continued to bake with record heat. Record highs included: Palm Springs, CA: 119°, Borrego Springs, CA: 117°, Victorville, CA: 111°, Fresno, CA: 110°, Winnemucca, NV: 106°, Salt Lake City, UT: 103° and Santa Maria, CA: 88°.


The temperature dropped to 15° on Macquarie Island, Australia; their coldest morning on record.


A tornado tore across the eastern China province of Anhui crossing over three villages around Tianchang. The twister killed 14 people and injured 146 others while destroying more than 100 homes.


Lightning blasted a tent at a Civil War re-enactment camp near Gettysburg, PA injuring five people.


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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