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Weather History: June 20: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, hail, wind & floods

Meteorological events that happened on June 20th:

No measurable rainfall has fallen in Las Vegas, NV on this date since records began in 1937.


A major tornado ripped through southwestern Connecticut, passing through Stratford, Milford, and New Haven, and then into Long Island Sound. The tornado blew down three barns and one house.


An intense thunderstorm brought eight hours of heavy rain and incredible lightning to southern Manitoba Canada. The lightning caused a stampede of a herd of 250 police horses.


The Deacon Hunt School near Paw Paw, IL was struck by an F4 tornado near mid-afternoon. Most of the children had been sent home, but the twister killed the six remaining pupils and teacher. A total of 13 fatalities and 60 injuries were reported along the storm's path which extended 25 miles across Lee and DeKalb counties.


The temperature at Dodge City, KS soared to 106° in the midst of a blistering heat wave which initiated a severe three year drought in the central plains. Ironically, heavy rains were occurring simultaneously in the Mississippi Valley causing the river to swell to its highest level ever at New Orleans, LA.


Circle, MT received 11.5 inches of rain in 24 hours setting a state record. Circle received a total of 16.79 inches of rain that month to establish a rainfall record for any town in Montana for any month of the year.


A farmer near Greensburg, KS looked up into the heart of a tornado. He described its walls as "rotating clouds lit with constant flashes of lightning and a strong gassy odor with a screaming, hissing sound".


A tornado occurred near Apperson, in Osage County. The tornado formed one mile northwest of town and moved southeastward through town. On the tornado's 75 yard wide, two and a half mile long path, it destroyed eight homes and struck a herd of cattle, killing 186 animals. Property damage was estimated at $25,000 1935 dollars. One hour later, another tornado formed near Fairfax, again in Osage County. This tornado struck the Burbank Oil field and injured five people.


A violent F5 tornado tore through Fargo, ND killing 10 people and injuring 103 others. 1,300 homes were damaged or destroyed. The twister tore a 56 mile long, 800 yard wide path through the city. The tornado caused $10 million dollars in damage.


A squall line producing large hail swept through central Illinois. A second squall line moved through during the early morning hours the next day and a third one moved through shortly after dawn. The series of hailstorms caused $9 million dollars damage. Hailstones as large as grapefruits caused heavy damage to trees, utility lines, crops and buildings. The thunderstorms also produced as much as 5 inches of rain in an 8-hour period.

Ken Venturi won Professional Golf's U.S. Open at Washington, D.C., playing under almost unbearable conditions of heat and humidity. The high on this date was 92° and the humidity was 85%. The high the day before had been 95°. Ice for the golfers' use was allowed for the final round.


A line of severe thunderstorms moved rapidly, about 60 mph, across the state with winds of up to 100 mph or more. Many areas received extensive hail damage with one and a half inch hail common, although larger sizes up to three inches were reported. Many barns and silos along with other farm buildings were damaged or destroyed. Widespread tree damage occurred, along with extensive damage to utility lines. A number of tornadoes were sighted. Overall damage was estimated from $10 to $15 million dollars.


Norway's hottest day on record occurred as the town of Nesbyen reached 96.1°.


Severe thunderstorms with winds of 70 to 95 mph moved across the northern half of Illinois, injuring 36 people. At the DuPage County Airport west of Chicago, 20 airplanes were destroyed. A wind gust of 63 mph at the Peoria airport blew over two airplanes. The storms also spawned a few tornadoes, causing minor damage.


Thunderstorms prevailed east of the Rockies, producing severe weather in the Central High Plains Region. Thunderstorms spawned four tornadoes in Colorado, and produced wind gusts to 70 mph at Goodland, KS.


38 cities in the central U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date. Afternoon highs of 97° at Flint, MI and 104° at Chicago, IL equaled records for the month of June.

Locations that broke monthly June high temperature records included: WI: Dodge, WI: 101°, Platteville, WI: 101°, Lynxville, WI: 100°, and Mauston, WI: 100°.

Thunderstorms in North Dakota produced baseball size hail near Kief, and wind gusts to 100 mph near McGregor.


A rare meteorological event occurred in Pierre, SD. Strong thunderstorm winds exceeding 50 mph struck the Pierre airport causing minor damage to commercial aircraft. However, what was unusual was that the thunderstorm produced what is called a "hot flash". At midnight the temperature at Pierre was 86°; by 1am it had risen to 96° and by 2am the thunderstorm had pushed Pierre's temperatures all the way to 104°.

Butte, MT and Yellowstone Park, WY reported snow during the afternoon.


Thunderstorms continued to dump additional rain over an already saturated northeastern South Dakota. The worst flooding occurred in Watertown, where between 9 to 12 inches of rain fell during the month of June. The Sioux River overflowed its banks in Watertown, and many houses became surrounded by water. Pastures became flooded, and several head of livestock were lost. Flood water also swept across areas east of Verblen. Some rainfall amounts include, 3.20 inches near Victor, 2.73 inches near Waubay, 2.66 inches in Wheaton, MN, 2.53 inches in Watertown, and 1.93 inches near Big Stone City.

Nearly 5.5 inches of rain deluged Waterton Lakes in Alberta, Canada.

A record high of 86° at Annette, AK easily beat the old record of 79° set in 1958.


Snow mixed with rain was reported a few miles north of Alpena, MI.


Tropical Storm Arlene dumped 9 to 10 inches of rain on Corpus Christi, TX.


A weak cold front dropped southeast into northwest Iowa and developed a line of thunderstorms during the late afternoon hours. A tornado briefly touched down in Plymouth County at Merrill, but did not cause any significant damage. Most of the damage by the storms was due to strong straight-line winds. The strongest winds were in Plymouth County where a 77 mph gust tore through Le Mars. Numerous trees and power lines were downed as well as some roof damage. 60 to 65 mph winds were also reported at Remsen and Kingsley.


A supercell thunderstorm dumped unusually large hail for New England in Connecticut. Baseball size hail fell at Vernon, Manchester, Deep River, and Old Saybrook. At Deep River, the large hail lasted for 20 minutes, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Some automobiles were totaled. In one historic building, 25 windows were broken, including a 100 year old curved window.


Parts of eastern Nebraska woke up to a very hot morning. After overnight in the upper 70s, the temperature spiked up to 89° at Lincoln, NE at 5 a.m., 90° in the western suburbs of Omaha, NE and to 93° near Gretna, NE. The biggest warm up was at Millard, NE, where the temperature soared to 97°. By 6am, the warming reached Eppley Airfield, where the temperature moved up to 88° from 81° at 4am. The temperature rises were caused by compressional warming as dying thunderstorms collapsed over the area.

Jackson, MS, finally reached 90° for the first time in 1997. This is the latest ever for the first 90-degree reading. The old record was 6/19/1974. There had only been 14 years out of 102 years that the temperature has not reached 90° at Jackson by June 1st.


The town of Barrow on Alaska's North Slope experienced its first recorded thunderstorm ever which dropped 0.16 inches of rain in just a couple minutes.


A major hailstorm pounded Denver International Airport, damaging 93 commercial planes and causing the cancellation of hundreds of flights over the next several days. There were two minor injuries. Over 14,000 holes and cracks were punched in the flat roofs of the terminal buildings by the hail that was up to two inches in diameter. The airport was completely shut down for about 20 minutes. Over 4,000 automobiles received hail damage. The hail did $10 million dollars in damage to the airport facilities alone, not including the airliners. At least 30 private planes at the Front Range Airport were destroyed. The Radome protecting the NWS Doppler Radar also sustained damage. Excluding the damage at Denver International Airport, total damage was estimated at $49 million dollars.


Jeddah, Saudi Arabia saw their temperature climb to 125° and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, hit 122°. Doha, Qatar saw a reading of 119.8°. The same day, Manama, in the tiny island nation of Bahrain, reports a temperature of 116.4°, said to be its highest June temperature on record.


An early morning tornado came in from the sea ripped through the North Island town of New Plymouth, New Zealand, leaving significant damage in its aftermath in the central business district, damaging at least 15 buildings.


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

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