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Weather History: June 16: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, tropics & floods

Meteorological events that happened on June 16th:


A frost was reported at Mansfield, MA, repeating a previous occurrence made on May 17th.


A total eclipse of the sun was visible from Massachusetts to Southern California lasting about five minutes.


On this date through the 17th, a tropical storm moved north out of the Caribbean, through the middle Florida Keys and exited into the Atlantic near West Palm Beach, gaining hurricane strength over the Atlantic.


The temperature soared to 124° at Mecca highlighting the most destructive heat wave on record in California history.


Yosemite Valley, CA received a trace of snow, their latest on record for this late in the season.


A short, but intense heat wave in Wichita Falls, TX reached its peak on this date. The maximum temperature was 111°. This followed a high of 110° on the previous day, and was followed by 108° the next two days.


A tornado in Sioux City, IA traveled an odd course. The twister spun in one place for about 20 minutes, made a U-turn, traveled southeast for about three miles and then traveled in every direction on the compass before dissipating.


Bakersfield, CA hit 113° for the second straight day. Daily records were broken from the 14th through the 17th.


A late season snowfall left a trace of snow over all of northern Maine.

Guttenberg, IA set a record low for June with 40°.


Severe floods occurred in Colorado as 12 to 14 inches of rain fell on portions of the east slopes of the Rockies and the plains east of Denver. 14 inches fell in just three hours at Palmer Lake and Larkspur, CO with 12 inches at Castle Rock. A wall of water as high as 20 feet roared down both branches of Plum Creek into the South Platte River near Littleton and through Metro Denver. Flood waters spread to a width of a half mile in Denver. The citizens of Denver received reports of the flooding to the south and had a few hours to initiate evacuation procedures along the South Platte River greatly limiting the loss of life. Around midnight, the torrent crested at 25 feet above normal with the flow exceeding 40 times normal. This is the record flood on the South Platte and many of its tributaries. Many homes and businesses were destroyed. Damage totaled $230 million dollars. 8 people were killed. The flood crest did not reach Nebraska until the 20th.


Agnes was born, forming as a tropical storm east of the Yucatan Peninsula. Agnes would be a storm with two distinct lives. She would move north over the Gulf of Mexico and strike the Florida Panhandle as a minimal hurricane. A few days later, the remnants of Hurricane Agnes would be rejuvenated over the Northeast, dumping heavy amounts of rain and causing record flooding from the 20th through the 24th.


The temperature at San Diego, CA hit 100°, one of only two days in June a reading of 100° or higher was reached (6/10/1979). Other record highs included: Santa Ana: 109°, Riverside: 106° and Escondido: 102°. Record high minimum temperatures were set in San Diego each day for 11 consecutive days starting on this date.


Temperatures soared above 100° across parts of the Upper Midwest, reaching 104° at Lincoln, NE.

Thunderstorms produced wind gusts to 96 mph at Valley City, ND, and baseball size hail near Red Oak, IA.


Daytime thunderstorms produced severe weather from northern Florida to the Mid Atlantic Coast. The thunderstorms spawned eight tornadoes, and there were 138 reports of large hail or damaging winds. Thunderstorm winds gusting to 87 mph caused $20 million dollars damage at Columbia, SC. Strong thunderstorm winds killed one person at McLeansville, NC.


Violent, tornadic thunderstorms exploded late-afternoon, in association with a deep low pressure system over northern Nebraska. There were 65 tornadoes reported across the Central U.S.; including 27 in Minnesota. In addition, the storms produced baseball size hail, 80 mph straight-line winds and up to seven inches of rain. An F5 tornado leveled half of the town of Chandler, MN, where one person was killed and 35 others injured. It was the only F5 tornado of the year and the first half of the 1990’s in the United States. A canceled check from Chandler was later found 95 miles away. The tornado reached its maximum strength as it topped a hill on the edge of Chandler, descending with fury on a residential area. Damage estimates in Chandler and Lake Wilson alone topped $27 million dollars.

Ferocious thunderstorms also tore across portions of central and eastern South Dakota and southwest Minnesota doing tremendous damage. Large hail, strong winds, and numerous tornadoes were included in the days' outbreak. In South Dakota a tornado caused major destruction as it moved northeast across Ft. Thompson. The tornado destroyed, at least, 4 homes and 15 mobile homes and damaged some 20 other structures. At the Shady Bend campground 19 campers and several boats were destroyed. All told the storm left 55 people homeless. Additional storms dropped large hail, including baseball size stones in Sanborn County which flattened crops and killed livestock. The two-day count of twisters was 123, second only to the Super-Outbreak of April 3-4, 1974.

A rare mid-June wind event wrecked havoc across northern Colorado when a Pacific cold front moved across the Rocky Mountains. Strong winds of 40 to 50 mph were common along the Front Range foothills. Wind gusts of 107 mph in the foothills west of Denver and 79 mph at Longmont caused damage ranging from toppled trees to rolled dump trucks. The winds also downed power lines.


An unseasonably cold storm brought snow to elevations above 7,000 feet in the Beartooth Mountains in Montana. Cooke City received 4 inches. Seven campers had to be evacuated from the Red Lodge Creek Plateau.


Thunderstorms produced up to 6 to 8 inches of rain during a 6 to 8 hour period in central and southern Barry County, Missouri. Significant flash flooding occurred as a result of the copious rainfall. The flood waters destroyed 14 homes in Cassville, MO and damaged 32 homes and 26 businesses. Much of the area around the Roaring River State Park had to be evacuated as the waters rose.


Lightning struck after rain had ended and the sun was shining killing a teenage girl south of Wakefield, Quebec Canada; just outside of Montreal. The same thunderstorm shocked 11 soccer players and spectators in a Montreal park. Though some were burned, none were seriously injured.


A two-hour rainstorm deluged southwest Sioux Falls, SD with 7.79 inches of rain, flooding streets and homes. The Big Sioux River overflowed closing several parks and bike trails.

A lightning strike about 12 miles south of Mesquite, NV started a wildfire that charred over 8,400 acres. The fire was named the Nickel Fire and burned until the 23rd. The fire caused two minor injuries, but no structures were lost.

Heavy thunderstorm rains produced flash flooding in Lagos, Nigeria stranding thousands of commuters as public transportation was halted.


Western and central New Yorkers experienced a rare widespread large and damaging hail event. A warm humid air mass at the surface combined with an increasingly cold air mass advecting in aloft. Thunderstorm activity initially focused on the main lake convergence boundary between the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario breezes. The first cells exploded over Niagara and Orleans counties shortly before 1 pm and reports of hail came in almost immediately. For the next two hours, cell after cell rolled along a similar path across southern Niagara, southern Orleans, Monroe, Wayne and northern Cayuga counties many of which had hail of up to an inch-an-a-half diameter. The activity waned for next few hours but after some additional heating due to clearing skies, more hail-filled cells developed. These storms produced hail up to two inches in diameter, a rare event for western New York. One particular thunderstorm formed over Grand Island intensified as it moved southeast across the densely-populated northern and eastern suburbs of Buffalo. The golf-ball sized hail damaged thousands of automobiles as well as windows, roofs and awnings on homes. At the Amherst Middle School, the hail pierced 1200 to 1500 holes in the skylight roof. While property damage was significant, the damage to area crops was devastating. The hailstones pummeled fruits leaving divots and cracks. Vegetable plants were stripped of their leaves. Apples, peaches and pears that were not stripped from the tress and could have been sold for eating fresh will have to be sold for processing at a substantially lower cost because of being misshapen and bruised. The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a Disaster Declaration for Erie, Genesee, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans and Wayne counties.


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