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Weather History: June 26: Record temps, storms, wind, tornadoes, snow & floods

Meteorological events that happened on June 26th:


Residents of New York City suffered through a record heat wave. Daily average temperatures were above 80° for 14 straight days. The heat wave was a sharp contrast to the severe blizzard in March of that year, which buried the city under nearly two feet of snow.


Lightning struck the John B. King drillship in the St. Lawrence River, igniting a storage of dynamite onboard. The resulting explosion killed 30 people and injured 11 others.


The temperature soars to 92° at Anchorage, AK, their hottest reading on record and the only time they have been at or above 90°.


A hailstorm swept a path of destruction 12 miles wide and 40 miles long across eastern Saskatchewan, Canada.


Under calm winds and a bright sunny sky a killer wave rose suddenly from a placid Lake Michigan sweeping 8 unsuspecting fishermen off a breakwater to their deaths. The water level at Montrose Harbor surged more than 10 feet within a few minutes. The “seiche” was caused by an earlier squall on the lake.


Residents of Cameron, LA went to bed believing that they had plenty of time to evacuate the following morning in advance of what was then Category 2 Hurricane Audrey. Official bulletins from the U.S. Weather Bureau stated that the storm would not come ashore until late the next day. They would be very surprised the next morning to find water covering much of their parish as a 12 foot storm surge was already impacting the area and the center was just offshore. Also, Audrey had intensified rapidly during the night, with the central pressure dropping 35 millibars from the last reconnaissance fix during the day. Winds correspondingly increased to 145 mph and the storm surge rose from an expected 5 to 8 feet to a devastating 12 feet and higher. Additionally, the forward movement of the hurricane increased from 6 to 15 mph, and residents were told that the hurricane would not strike until the following afternoon. 390 people died and another 192 were missing.

The high temperature at Palm Springs, CA hit 121°; tying their highest temperature set on 6/24 & 6/29/1994.


The Weather Bureau installed its first WSR-57 Weather Radar at Miami, FL.


This was the 10th consecutive day of temperatures in Las Vegas, NV reaching 110° or hotter making this the longest on record.


"The Human Lightning Conductor", park ranger Roy C. Sullivan was struck by lightning for the seventh time. He was first hit in 1942, then again in 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1976.


Strong thunderstorm winds caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage across central and eastern South Dakota. Severe weather was widespread across the east during this outbreak with high winds doing the most damage. Severe storms with winds over 60 mph were reported in at least 10 separate counties. The hardest hit area was Mitchell where 100 mph winds slammed into the city wiping out trees, blowing out windows, and damaging the airport. Damage in Mitchell alone exceeded $200,000 dollars.

Several locations across the Plains endured record breaking heat including: Dallas (DFW), TX: 113°, Wichita Falls, TX: 113°, Dallas (Love Field), TX: 112°, Wichita, KS: 109°, Waco, TX: 107°, Grand Junction, CO: 106, Houston, TX: 102°, San Antonio, TX: 102°, North Platte, NE: 101°, Corpus Christi: 100° and Victoria, TX: 100°.


Two days of severe thunderstorms battered much of western north Texas on this date and the 27th. On this date, winds stronger than 60 mph toppled a wall in a historic building in Vernon. The next day, 85 mph winds blew through Chillicothe, while a tornado passed just north of the town. The winds also blew down two miles of power lines near Odell, and destroyed a drive-in movie theater in Seymour.


The latest snowfall on record in the state of South Dakota occurred on this date in the Black Hills. Portions of the Black Hills received amounts from a trace to a 1 inch accumulation at O'Neill Pass.

A spectacular waterspout over the south end of the Great Salt Lake, UT was visible for 20 miles. It lasted four minutes.


Hurricane Bonnie made landfall on the upper Texas coast. A wind gust to 98 mph occurred at Sea Rim State Park. Ace, TX recorded a total of 13 inches of rain.


Hot weather prevailed in the Pacific Northwest. Afternoon highs of 111° at Redding, CA, 103° at Medford, OR and 88° at Seattle, WA were records for the date.

Cloudy and cool weather prevailed in the northeastern U.S. The high at Boston, MA was just 60°.


Several cities in the north-central U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date. In Montana, the record high of 102° at Billings was their 15th of the month, and the high of 108° at Glasgow equaled their record for June. Miles City, MT set their record high for June with 106°.

Thunderstorms in the Atlantic Coast Region produced wind gusts to 102 mph at Tall Timbers, MD. Lightning struck a main transmission line at Sandwich, MA which knocked out power to all of Cape Cod's and Martha's Vineyard 140,000 customers for up to six hours.


Thunderstorms produced severe weather from the Central Plains to the Middle Mississippi Valley. There were 129 reports of severe weather during the day and night. Thunderstorms in Kansas produced wind gusts to 90 mph at Liberal, and hail 4 inches in diameter at Quinter. Thunderstorms in Wisconsin spawned a tornado at Lake Delton injuring 4 people. Lightning struck and killed a woman at Junction City, KS when she got out of her car to photograph the lightning.


Unseasonably hot temperatures occurred across from the western Plains across to the southwest portions of the nation. 122° was recorded both in Phoenix and Yuma, AZ. 107° was reached in Amarillo, TX and Tucson, AZ checked in with a high of 117°. Lander, WY set a record high with 99°.


A very unstable air mass was situated over the upper Midwest. Thunderstorms developed over eastern Nebraska that afternoon and moved eastward into Iowa. Large hail was frequent with these storms. Two miles northwest of Little Sioux, golf ball size hail completely covered the ground and strong winds caused this hail to drift. The most significant hail damage occurred in Shelby County. Here, a thunderstorm dropped golf ball to softball size hail in a swath about two miles wide and 20 miles long. Baseball size hail covered the ground six miles north of Harlan. Reports of 75% crop destruction were common within this hail swath.


Searing heat was prevalent across the southwestern U.S. as a huge 600 decameter 500 millibar high pushed temperatures to record levels. Albuquerque, NM hit 107°, for its hottest temperature ever. The same record was set at Lubbock, TX with 111°. Both Midland and El Paso, TX reached 112°, to both tie their hottest temperatures on record. Escondido, CA hot 105° tying their hottest temperature for June (6/18/1957 & 6/11/1979). Daily record highs included: Roswell, NM: 111°, Denver, CO: 104°, Grand Junction, CO: 104°, Colorado Springs, CO: 98°, Alamosa, CO: 95°, Death Valley, CA had a morning low of 102°.


In two separate incidences in Florida, severe thunderstorm winds overturned a small aircraft at both Vero Beach Municipal Airport and Ft. Pierce Airport, where wind gusts to 81 mph were recorded.


Severe thunderstorms crossed the Niagara Frontier, the western southern tier and eastern Lake Ontario Region in New York during the early morning hours. The thunderstorms produced large hail and damaging winds which downed trees and power lines. One-inch hail fell in Batavia. Wind damage was reported in Sodus, Castorland, North Tonawanda, Alden and Collins. The damage from thunderstorm winds paled in comparison to the damage resulting from the flash floods the thunderstorms produced. Five to six inches of rain fell in a 200 square mile area sending small streams out of their banks causing several million dollars worth of property damage in the Villages of Arcade and Gowanda. Cattaraugus Creek rose faster than any time in memory and crested two feet over flood stage. This surge caused many boats to break loose from their moorings at the mouth of the creek at Sunset Bay and over a hundred boats were shoved out into Lake Erie and wrecked. Erie, Wyoming and Cattaraugus counties were declared state and federal disaster areas. In Arcade, 37 were rescued from treetops and rooftops by the Water Rescue Team. Over 130 homes were damaged in Arcade.


15 inches of rain fell, most of it between 9pm and midnight, over the Schriever, LA area as thunderstorms continuously redeveloped and “trained” over the same areas. Roads were underwater and about 100 homes were damaged.

The most damaging hailstorm to ever strike Cheyenne County, Wyoming occurred. Hail up to baseball size and winds up to 80 mph devastated much of the western part of the county. Damage to property and crops exceeded $26 million dollars.


Phenomenal flash flooding struck Fort Wayne, IN as thunderstorms developed and re-developed directly over the city for several hours during the evening. Times Corner reported 8 inches of rain in three hours. Spy Run Creek rose 9 feet in 8 hours to an all-time record level of 12.3 feet. Three inches of rain fell in 90 minutes.


The hottest day during a heat wave across Greece sent the thermometer to 115° in two towns. In Athens the afternoon temperature soared to 109.4°. Five people died in southern and central Greece from the heat.

In Catania in eastern Sicily, the afternoon temperature hit 107.6°.


During the evening hours, a compact upper level low pressure system tracking through the Northern Plains interacted with a very moist and unstable air mass over western and central South Dakota resulting in a widespread severe weather outbreak. Three confirmed tornadoes occurred briefly in western Dewey County. Little or no damage was reported and all three tornadoes were rated EF0. In addition to the tornadoes, multiple reports of large hail were received over Corson and Dewey Counties, including some to the size of baseballs near the communities of McLaughlin and Isabel. The large hail broke out many home and vehicle windows and damaged many roofs in Dewey, Corson, and Sully Counties. Significant wind damage occurred over sections of Sully County. There were multiple reports of wind gusts in excess of 70 mph, with the most concentrated swath of damaging winds extending from near Sutton Bay, eastward to the city of Onida, then southeast to the community of Harrold. The storm survey began near Sutton Bay on Lake Oahe, where a wind gust of 92 mph was recorded. The most significant property damage was found further east near the community of Agar where multiple grain bins were either damaged or destroyed. Nine miles west of Agar, a barn was destroyed and a large pine tree was snapped in half. Winds in this area were estimated to range from 80 to 100 mph. Close to the intersection of Highways 1804 and 175th street several Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) electrical transmission towers were completely collapsed. This is consistent with wind speeds ranging from 130 to 140 mph. In the city of Onida, a bank roof was damaged and the city was without power until the next day. Four miles north of Onida, a feed wagon was tossed nearly 40 feet. In Harrold, several railroad cars were tipped over. Also of great significance during the event was the peak wind speed of 124 mph recorded at the Onida airport. This wind speed is the strongest wind gust ever measured in the Aberdeen County Warning Area and the 4th strongest wind speed ever reported in South Dakota.


As drought and intense heat plagued West Texas, Childress hit 117°, the highest temperature in the nation on this day. The reading tied their all-time highest temperature also set on 6/27/1994.


McCook, NE set an all-time Nebraska state monthly heat record for June at 115°. It is also the all-time record for any month for McCook.


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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