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Weather History: June 19: Record temps, hail, tornadoes, floods & tropics

Meteorological events that happened on June 19th:


A violent tornado commenced west of the Hudson River in New York. The tornado traveled through Poughkeepsie, then crossed the border into Connecticut where it traveled through the towns of New Milford, Waterbury, North Haven, and Branford. It then continued on into Long Island Sound. The tornado did extensive damage and the funnel was reported by one observer to look like the "aurora borealis".


A tornado tore through the center of New Brunswick, NJ killing five people and scattering debris as far as Manhattan Island. The tornado provided the first opportunity for scientists to study firsthand the track of such a storm. Other smaller tornadoes were reported at Patterson, NJ, Kinderhook, NY, and Pine Plains, NY.


A hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico came ashore in Louisiana, then moved northeast, passing over northern Delaware, Philadelphia, PA and central New Jersey as an extratropical storm, with sustained winds of 45 mph. Philadelphia received 1.70 inches of rainfall on the 18th into this date, and New York City had 1.93 inches on this date, a daily record. As the storm passed over Philadelphia, the pressure dropped to 29.40 inHg.


A cloudburst that dumped up to 7 inches of rain weakened a railroad bridge on Custer Creek in Montana as the "Olympian" passenger train of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad approached with 140 people on board. The bridge collapsed as the train arrived at full speed, sending the locomotives and cars straight into the bank of Custer Creek. 49 people died and 65 were injured. Some of the bodies were washed downriver in the flood to Sydney, over 130 miles away.


A squall line producing large hail swept through central Illinois, followed by two more consecutive lines passing shortly after dawn. The resulting hailstorms caused damage in excess of $9 million dollars, as hailstones the size of grapefruits brought havoc to trees, utility lines, crops and buildings. The thunderstorms also produced as much as 5 inches of rain over an 8-hour period.


The Arkansas River crested at 15.68 feet at Dodge City, KS. Heavy rains in Eastern Colorado combined with three broken dams started the torrent of water which flowed through Colorado and Kansas. The river rose seven feet in 15 minutes between 9am and 9:15am. The flood waters reached from the railroad tracks on the north side to just barely covering Beeson street on the south. The deepest part of south Dodge was about 7 feet under water. The deep water created other problems, when gas regulators were covered, pressure built up in the gas lines and Dodge City was rocked by explosions. Total urban losses in Dodge City and Wilroads Gardens were estimated at nearly $3.8 million dollars, including damages to 615 residences and 155 businesses. 24 Kansas counties were declared flood disasters.


Hurricane Agnes moved onshore near Cape San Blas, FL with sustained winds of 85 mph, and exited Maine on the 26th. As many as 129 deaths resulted, mainly due to flooding from North Carolina to New York State, and total damage was estimated at $3.5 billion dollars. Up to 19 inches of rain deluged western Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania; 14.8 inches in 24 hours. The rains of Hurricane Agnes resulted in one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history. Agnes caused more damage than all other tropical cyclones in the previous six years combined (which included Celia and Camille).


Severe weather tore across the eastern half of South Dakota through the 20th. Strong winds and numerous tornadoes affected the state on consecutive days. During the evening, winds estimated at 80 mph did damage in Mitchell and separate tornadoes touched down briefly in Dimock and in Delmont. The two tornadoes damaged trees, power lines, and older buildings in the two towns. On the 20th, winds gusting to 100 mph blasted through Winner damaging several trailers. Also for the second day in a row residents of Aberdeen had a close call with tornadoes. A tornado touched down 7 miles north and 5 miles west of town, but lifted from the ground before striking the town. The next day tornadoes touched down 3 miles northwest of Aberdeen and then again 2 miles south of town. Fortunately, the tornadoes did little damage.


It was a warm June day, with plenty of thunderstorms east of the Rockies. Lightning knocked out power at Throckmorton, TX, and ignited an oil tank battery. A woman in Knox City, TX was struck by lightning while in her car, and a man was struck by lightning near his home in Manatee County, Florida. Strong thunderstorm winds overturned several outhouses near Bixby, OK, but no injuries were reported.


Several cities reported record high temperatures for the date as temperatures soared above 100 degrees in the central U.S. including: Lincoln, NE: 104°, North Platte, NE: 104°, Huron, SD: 102° and Norfolk, NE: 101°.

Severe thunderstorms in Minnesota and Wisconsin produced softball size hail near River Falls, WI, and wind gusts to 80 mph at Menomonie, WI.


Several cities reported record high temperatures for the date as searing heat spread from the southwestern deserts into the High Plains Region. Record highs included Tucson, AZ: 112°, Valentine, NE: 107°, Sioux Falls, SD: 105°, Scottsbluff, NE: 105°, Albuquerque, NM: 103°, Rapid City, SD: 102°, Casper, WY: 99°, Billings, MT: 98°, Denver, CO: 98, Bismarck, ND: 97° and Colorado Springs, CO: 94°.

Eight tornadoes skipped across central Saskatchewan, Canada. Winds gusted to 81 mph and hail shredded crops at Blaine Lake.


A derecho blasted through south central Kansas. A wind gust to 116 mph was recorded at Kingman. High winds caused severe damage to hangars at Jabara airport at Wichita. Many grain bins were toppled. Several radio towers north of Wichita were also toppled which disrupted the dissemination of warnings to the public. Total damage was around $50 million dollars. The storm was termed "one of the most damaging of the century" for Wichita area.

Wichita, KS reported a record high of 105°.


Two batches of severe thunderstorms, occurring within six hours of each other, dumped hailstones up to 4.5 inches in diameter (softball size) across Sedgwick and surrounding counties in south central Kansas. Over 10,000 homes were damaged. The hail left wheat fields near total losses. The hail also left most wheat fields in its path a near total loss with about 375,000 acres damaged in several counties. Estimated property damage totaled $500 million dollars with crop damage at $100 million dollars. The thunderstorm episode ranks as one for the worst ever to hit the state of Kansas.


Heavy rains in the Upper Midwest started serious flooding on the Upper Mississippi and its tributaries as the Great Flood of 1993 was underway. The flooding would surpass all other American floods in terms of destruction and duration.


Lightning struck and killed two golfers, and injured another, at the Lincoln Golf Course in northeastern Oklahoma City. These golfers were seeking shelter from a thunderstorm under trees when they were struck by lightning.


Severe thunderstorm winds damaged a large hanger door and turned a Boeing 727 aircraft 180 degrees at Orlando International Airport in Florida. Lightning injured three landscape workers near the University of Central Florida.


A dust devil formed near Las Cruces, NM. The whirlwind became a landspout when it moved under a developing thunderstorm. It remained on the ground for 15 minutes, observed by thousands of people. The thunderstorm winds caused some light damage that was attributed to the landspout/dust devil.


Parts of New Jersey that had barely gotten three inches of snow during the winter were buried in up to 8 inches of hail. People had to break out their snow shovels for the first time of the year.


Annette Island, AK set their all-time record high temperature with 93°.


Heavy rainfall caused severe flooding and mudslides across parts of South Africa. Hardest hit was the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, where four people died. Scottburg, KwaZulu-Natal received 5 inches of rain in 24 hours.


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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