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Weather History: March 16: Record temps, snow, storms, tornadoes & flooding

Meteorological events that happened on March 16th:

Volcanic eruptions rich in sulfur may very well have an affect on the earth's climate. As sulfur gases, thrust high into the atmosphere by an eruption, react with sunlight and atmospheric gases they transform into tiny, bright sulfuric acid particles. These bright particles reflect and absorb a portion of the sun's energy. This increase in reflection and absorption means that less energy is reaching the earth's surface. A strong volcanic eruption can actually lead to a cooling of temperatures around much of the globe.


A great snowstorm affected areas from the Gulf of Mexico to Maine. Shelbyville, TN received 21 inches. Eight inches fell at Little Rock, AR. 10 inches fell at Memphis, TN and Washington, D.C. and a foot was reported at Baltimore, MD, New York City, NY and Philadelphia, PA.


24 trains between Springfield, MA and Albany, NY were blocked by a big snowstorm.


On this date through the 3/21, Pointe-des-Monts, Quebec Canada received 98 inches of snowfall.


Suffocating dust storms occurred frequently in southeast Colorado between the 12th and the 25th of the month. Six people died, and many livestock starved or suffocated. Up to six feet of dust covered the ground. Schools were closed, and many rural homes were deserted by tenants.


A widespread outbreak of tornadoes occurred across Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana. 25 tornadoes were of F2 intensity or greater. Baldwin, MS was hit by 2 tornadoes (one an F4 and the other an F3) only 24 minutes apart. A violent F5 tornado tore through Peoria and Marshall Counties in Illinois, killing 7 people and injuring 70 others. Sixty-five fatalities occurred in Mississippi.


High winds struck the metro Denver, CO area causing heavy damage. In Boulder, winds gusted as high as 100 mph. At the Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield, winds gusted to 98 mph causing severe damage to hangars and several light planes. Southwest of Littleton, Co reported a wind gust to 87 mph. A wind gust to 55 mph was recorded at Stapleton Airport at Denver, CO uprooting trees, downing signs and disrupting utility lines.


A late season winter storm occurred across the south-central Plains. Bartlesville, OK received 20 inches of snow.


A single storm brought 119 inches of snow to Crater Lake, OR establishing a state record.


A powerful, cold and unstable storm dropped heavy rain across the region. Almost three inches of rain fell in Fallbrook, more than two inches in Julian, 1.42 inches in San Diego and 1.18 inch in Los Angeles. A Compton boy died while swept away in the Los Angeles River. Heavy rain and snow that started on 3/15 and ended on this day caused mud slides along the coast in Orange County and in Malibu. Three feet of snow fell in the San Bernardino Mountains. On this day a tornado in Anaheim near Disneyland caused property damage and a funnel cloud was observed in San Diego Mira Mesa. Property damage in Anaheim was done to more than 12 roofs of industrial buildings. Gusts and debris broke windows, toppled trees and fences. Mature trees were snapped off at the trunk.


Softball size hail caused millions of dollars damage to automobiles at Del Rio, TX. Three people were injured when hailstones crashed through a shopping mall skylight.

Further north, the same storm system dropped three to six inches of snow across Denver, CO with higher amounts in the foothills. Most of the snow melted as it fell with only 1.9 inches reported at Stapleton Airport in Denver.


A winter storm produced heavy snow in the Central Rockies. Winds gusted to 80 mph at Centerville, UT. Many cities in the southeastern U.S. reported new record low temperatures for the date, including Tallahassee, FL with a reading of 24°.


A winter storm brought heavy snow and high winds to the southwestern U.S. Winds gusted to 60 mph at Lovelock, NV, Salt Lake City, UT, and Fort Carson, CO. Snow fell at a rate of three inches per hour in the Lake Tahoe area of Nevada.


Thunderstorms developing ahead of a cold front produced large hail and damaging winds from northwest Florida to western South Carolina. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 75 mph at Floridatown, FL located north of Pensacola. 7.75 inches of rain deluged Montgomery, AL.

The east coast heat wave was nearing an end. Many cities across the northeastern quarter of the nation reported record high temperatures for the date. The afternoon high of 78° at Burlington, VT smashed their previous record for the date by 23 degrees. New York City reported a record high of 82°. Other records included Dulles Airport, VA with 81°, Syracuse, NY with 80°, Windsor Locks, CT hit 79°, Georgetown, DE at 78°, Mt. Pocono, PA with 77° and closer to the coast Bridgeport, CT set a record with 65°.


Billings, MT reported a wind gust of 63 mph; a new record for March.


On this date through March 17, a snowstorm dumped 28.7 inches of snow on Anchorage, AK, breaking the old daily record of 15.6 inches. Snow amounts ranged from 24 to 29 inches at lower elevations.


A storm surge pushed 33 foot waves, rocks and tons of ice crashing along the Avalon and Baie Verte Peninsulas on the east coast of Newfoundland Canada, causing millions of dollars in damage.


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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