Meteorological events that happened on March 18th:
King Alexander III of Scotland died when he was blown off a cliff at Inverkeithing, Scotland by a violent easterly gale.
An F4 tornado killed 12 people and injured 30 on a 17 mile track through Calhoun and Cleburne counties in Alabama.
San Francisco, CA recorded their highest temperature ever in March when the mercury soared to 86°.
The infamous Tri-State Tornado raced 219 miles across Missouri, Illinois and Indiana at an average speed of 62 mph. to become the deadliest single tornado in U.S. history. The storm left 695 people dead, 2,027 injured and an estimated $17 million dollars in damage with 15,000 homes totally leveled. The twister touched down at 1:01pm 3 miles north-northwest of Ellington, MO and dissipated about 3 miles southwest of Petersburg, IN at 4:30pm local time. 234 people died at Murphysboro, IL; the most tornado fatalities ever at a single city. Of the 500 people in Parrish, IL, only 3 escaped injury. In Indiana the tornado raced across Posey, Gibson, and Pike counties killing 103 people. Not a single structure was left standing at Griffin, IN where there were 52 fatalities. 17 people died in Owensville and 24 fatalities were reported at Princeton. 148 people perished at West Frankfort, IL with 200 people seriously injured. In some places the storm's path was one mile wide. 16 students at a school in West Frankfort were left unharmed even though the building was leveled and the children were blown 150 yards. Easily an F5 tornado, the forward speed was 73 mph at one point. A different tornado swept through Harrison County, Indiana near Elizabeth killing four people. Seven other tornadoes claimed an additional 97 lives that day.
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.
Beginning the previous day through this date, Pittsburgh, PA witnessed the worst flood in its history when flood levels at the source of the Ohio River peaked at 46 feet (21 feet above flood stage) after heavy rains fell on top of snow cover. 100,000 buildings were destroyed, 65% of downtown went under water, and 60,000 steelworkers were temporarily put out of work. About 70 people were killed.
151.73 inches of rain fell at Cilaos, La Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean over a five day period to set, then the world rainfall record. This record was broken 2/24-28, 2007 when Commerce La Reunion Island picked up 196.06 inches.
A late-season winter storm brought heavy, wet snow to parts of the northeast from Virginia to New England. In parts of Maryland and eastern Pennsylvania, it was the heaviest snowfall ever recorded at that time. The most snow reported at a major reporting station was 11.7 inches at Central Park in New York City, but parts of Philadelphia, PA, New York, NY, Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C. saw as much as 20 inches. 800 people were trapped along the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Morganton, WV where the 3-day snowfall total was 50 inches.
High winds accompanied a low pressure system from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes. Winds gusted to 100 mph at Hastings, NE, and reached 115 mph at Hays, KS. High winds caused $2 million dollars damage in Kansas while fire burned 50,000 acres in eastern Oklahoma. Further to the north, blizzard conditions moved across Iowa just north of Sioux City, with up to 8 inches of snow in Sioux and O'Brien counties. Nearly 12 inches of snow fell over extreme northwestern Iowa near the Minnesota border. Other snowfall amounts included 6 inches at Hawarden, Alton and Rock Valley, and 7.5 inches at Sheldon. Average wind speeds of 28 to 35 mph with gusts to 47 mph at Sioux City, IA. Damage was very extensive to electric and telephone lines, many tree limbs were broken and some plate glass windows were blown in.
Borrego Springs, CA dropped to 28°, their lowest temperature in March.
28 people were killed and 300 injured as a tornado touched down and stayed on the ground for over three miles in the northern suburbs of New Delhi, India.
A farm home was destroyed by a tornado, and outbuildings were damaged 6 miles north-northwest of Liberal, KS. Debris was scattered for a half mile. About 2 miles N of Sublette, a mobile home was overturned. No injuries were reported.
In southern California, a storm that started on 3/16 finally came to an end on this date, producing 2 to 4 inches of rain in San Diego County. 2.13 inches of rain fell in 24 hours at Pt. Loma causing local flooding that closed many streets. 25 inches of snow was recorded at Palomar Mountain, their greatest daily snowfall on record.
A storm in the central U.S. produced up to 10 inches of snow in western Nebraska, and up to 6 inches of rain in eastern sections of the state. The heavy rains pushed the Elkhorn River out of its banks, submerging the streets of Inman under 3 feet of water.
A storm in the western U.S. produced heavy rain in California, with heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada Range. Venado, CA was drenched with 5.40 inches of rain in 24 hours.
Many cities in the eastern U.S. reported new record high temperatures for the date, including Baltimore, MD with a reading of 82°. Washington D.C. soared to 81°.
Flooding in the Southeast continued, with streams and rivers in Georgia overflowing. $2.5 million in damage was reported around Columbus, GA, which had received a record 24-hour rainfall total of 7.22 inches the previous day. Up to 9 inches of rain was reported over the northern Kinchafoonee River Basin in Georgia.
An intense hailstorm struck the Sydney region in Australia producing strong winds and heavy rain in a swathe from Camden to Narrabeen, causing extensive damage. Hailstones were measured up to 3 inches in diameter. The total insured damage was estimated at $314 million Australian dollars, the third largest loss event in Australian insurance history.
A vigorous storm that started on 3/17 and ended on 3/20 produced 1 to 8 inches of rainfall in lower elevations of southern California and up to 14 inches of precipitation in the mountains. 6.17 inches of rain fell at Mt. Wilson and four inches fell in Santa Barbara. Two to five feet of snow fell in the mountains. Local flooding and mud slides resulted.
Total snow accumulations in southwest Kansas ranged up to 8 to 12 inches in Stafford, Comanche, Ford, Gray, Finney, Grant, Morton, Seward, Meade and Clark counties. 20 to 30 mph winds accompanied the snowfall resulting in visibilities under a half mile and significant drifting of the snow.
A snowstorm over coastal British Columbia, Canada produced the latest and heaviest single-day snowfall on record for the city of Vancouver as 2.55 inches fell.
A cold core storm brought three inches of snow to Apple Valley, CA, their greatest daily snow amount for March. One inch fell at Hesperia.
Utility poles in Madison, WI reportedly ignited as fog combined with leftover salt from the winter season to create a conductive solution that allowed the poles to catch fire.
Denver, CO dug out from their second biggest snowstorm in their history. Almost 2 ½ feet of wet snow over 36 hours shut down the city. The month ended as their snowiest March on record.
Heavy snow occurred across the Upper Midwest. 24 inches was recorded at Lyle, MN, 23 inches at Alma Center, WI, and 19 inches at Otranto, IA. Rochester, MN was buried under 20.2 inches of snow for its greatest snowstorm on record.
A strong Pacific storm brought heavy snow across the mountains of southern California beginning on the 17th and ending on the 19th. The Arrowbear Lake ski resort reported over two feet of snow. 15 inches fell at Big Bear Lake, 14 inches in Mt. Laguna, up to 13 inches in Wrightwood, 11 inches in Pine Cove and 10 inches in Forest Falls and Idyllwild. A trace of snow fell as low as 1,500 feet at Hemet.
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