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Weather History: March 1: Record temps, storms, snow, wind & floods

Meteorological events that happened on March 1st:


The first regularly scheduled 48-hour forecast occurred on this date. Up to this time, forecasts only covered the following 36 hours.


The deadliest avalanche on record in the U.S. thundered down the mountains near Wellington Station, WA sweeping three huge locomotive train engines and some passenger cars, snowbound on the grade leading to Stevens Pass, over the side and into a canyon, and burying them under tons of snow. The avalanche claimed the lives of more than 100 people. The station house at Wellington was also swept away.


A major winter storm brought high winds and heavy wet snow to New York and New Jersey. The crack passenger train, The Congressional Limited, was actually lost in the snow. Twenty four inches of snow fell at Asbury Park, NJ. New York City set a record low barometric pressure reading with 28.38 inHg.


It was 14° in Victorville, the lowest temperature on record for March. This also occurred on 3/2/1939.

A 46-hour ice storm, Newfoundland's worst in 30 years, coated tree branches and power lines with up to 2.5 inches of ice.


Arctic high pressure was responsible for extreme morning cold in the Plains. Morning temperatures were in the teens and 20s below zero across the northern Plains with International Falls, MN dropping to -38°. Morning lows dropped to near zero as far south as central Kansas & Missouri, the single digits to northern Oklahoma and Arkansas, teens and 20s to Central Texas and northern Louisiana and the 30s along the Texas coast to Brownsville.


A strong F3 tornado, 500 yards in width at times cut a six mile path near Ft. Lauderdale, FL before moving offshore into the Atlantic Ocean. One lady was killed when she was blown from her sixth floor balcony. Damage totaled $6 million dollars.

A major winter storm brought blizzard conditions to eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. 25 inches of snow fell at Elizabeth City, NC. The 13.7 inches that fell at Norfolk, VA was enough to establish a new single season snowfall record with 41.99 inches. This exceeded their previous record by more than 4 inches.


A series of El Niño storms battered Southern California, which began on this day and ended on 3/3. The storm produced heavy rain, gale force winds and waves up to 20 feet resulting in flooding and beach erosion, and in the mountains produced up to 7 feet of snow in five days. In a four-day period ending March 3, up to 18 inches of rain drenched the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas. Severe thunderstorms spawn two tornadoes which moved through the Los Angeles area. During the evening, an F2 tornado damaged seven businesses and 50 homes cutting a 3.5 mile path in South Central Los Angeles, caused 30 injuries and lifted about one mile before reaching the civic center. An F0 tornado injured a motorist when his Cadillac was lifted 15 feet and carried across a highway in San Marino. Also on this day 0.33 inch fell in five minutes in San Diego, their greatest five minute rainfall on record.


A storm crossing the Great Lakes Region produced heavy snow and gale force winds from Wisconsin to northern New England, with 8 inches of snow reported at Ironwood MI.


Thunderstorms produced large hail and damaging winds in north central Texas. Baseball size hail was reported at Lake Kickapoo. Hail fell continuously for thirty minutes in the Iowa Park area of Wichita Falls.


March came in like a lion, with snow and high winds, in the northwestern U.S. Winds gusted to 86 mph in the Rosario Strait of western Washington State.


Much of Europe was under the gun from a major storm system. The barometer dropped to 940 millibars or 27.75 inHg in Finland to set a record for that country. This single storm felled as much timber in Germany as would normally be cut there in an entire year.

A series of low pressure systems moving out of the Gulf of Alaska spread high winds and heavy snow across western Alaska. Winds in the Anchorage area gusted to 69 mph at Glen Alps, and Talkeetna was buried under three feet of snow in two days. Valdez received 21.4 inches of snow, raising their total for the winter season to 482.4 inches.


A series of storms that started on 2/27 and ended on this day produced three to 6 inches of rainfall at lower elevations, with 11 to 14 inches of precipitation in the mountains. 9.58 inches fell at Palomar Mountain on this day, the greatest daily rainfall on record. From 2.28 to 3.2, Palomar Mountain recorded a whopping three-day total of 17.48 inches! 6.09 inches fell in Idyllwild on this day, the greatest daily amount for March and the second greatest daily amount on record. This makes the two day total from 2.28 to this day an incredible 10.54 inches. 1.93 inches fell in Palm Springs on this day, the greatest daily amount for March on record. Two died and six were injured. Hazards included urban flooding, mudslides, and road washouts. Flood waters were five feet deep at Desert Hot Springs. Two to three feet of snow were dumped on the Big Bear area and up to two feet fell elsewhere in the mountains. Highways were closed.

Heavy snows occurred over northern Arizona. 50 inches fell at the Fairfield Snowbowl and Flagstaff picked up 31.5 inches.


Dodge City, KS broke their all-time snowfall record for a single season when 4.5 inches fell on this date bringing their seasonal total to 58.8 inches. This surpassed the 1911-12 record of 57.5 inches.


March roared in like a lion across parts of the Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys as thunderstorms and tornadoes killed as many as 30 people across five states. Hardest hit was Arkansas, where at least 23 people died in the storms. The downtown section of Arkadelphia, AR received very heavy damage. The Little Rock area was also hard-hit. As many as five people were killed by storms in Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio. All time 24 hour record rainfall at Louisville, KY with 10.48 inches. The unbelievable rains would cause record flooding on the Ohio River and its tributaries.

Many cities in Tennessee set record high temperatures for the date including Bristol with 81°.


73 inches of snow fell from a single storm at Lead, SD accompanied by huge drifts and winds of 60-65 mph.


Las Vegas, NV recorded 0.07 inches of rain. This was the sixth consecutive day of measurable rainfall, tying the all-time record. This last time Las Vegas recorded six consecutive days of measurable precipitation was January 1949.


Texas Heat: The day's high temperature of 93° at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport broke a 107-year-old record. Other hot North Texas cities included Wichita Falls: 96° and Fort Worth Meacham Airport with 90°.


On this date through the 2nd, a strong storm that brought heavy snowfall to the Pacific Northwest. A weather station at 10,000 feet on Mount Rainier measured a wind gust of 137 mph on this date with a sustained 1-minute wind reading of 112 mph; equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane. An automatic weather station on Mount Baker reported a 116-mph gust on the 2nd.


A strong winter storm brought snow to most of Jordan, including areas in Mafraq, Jerash, the Ajloun and Irbid areas, Madaba and Zarqa. The streets of Amman were covered in snow.


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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