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Weather History: March 23: Record temps, storms, snow, tornadoes & tropics

Meteorological events that happened on March 23rd:

Today is World Meteorological Day.


A major snowstorm struck the eastern seaboard from Massachusetts inland to Pennsylvania. Reports showed as much as 2.5 feet of snow fell in some locations.


An amazing 141 inches of snow fell at Ruby, CO between the 23rd and 30th to establish the state record for greatest snowfall from a single storm.


Washington, D.C. enjoyed their hottest March day on record as the mercury soared to 93°. Most of the east coast enjoyed early spring heat.


Olathe, KS picked up 37 inches of snow through the 24th to establish the state's record for greatest snowfall from single storm.


A strong F4 tornado hit Omaha, NE. The tornado struck during the late afternoon on Easter Sunday, and in just 12 minutes cut a swath of total destruction 5 miles long and 2 blocks wide across the city killing 94 people, destroying 600 homes and causing $3.5 million dollars property damage.

A tornado at Terre Haute, IN killed 21 people, causing a million dollars damage, and demolished 300 homes.

Massive flooding occurred on the Ohio River and its tributaries as 10 inches and more fell across a wide area of the Ohio River basin. 467 people were killed and 75,000 people were left homeless.


Pocatello, ID established their 24-hour snowfall record with 14.6 inches.


One of Indiana's deadliest tornadoes killed 45 people in New Albany, caused $1.5 million in damage, and left 350 families homeless. A smaller tornado went by Carlisle, IN killing one person. Another twister moved from near Preble to just outside Monmouth, IN. Six students were hurt when the tornado hit a school.


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.


Strong northerly winds gusting to 62 mph reduced visibilities to one mile or less at times at Stapleton Airport at Denver, CO as they dodged a major spring storm which produced heavy rain, snow, wind and dust over eastern Colorado through the 25th. Snow drifted to 15 feet in places. All traffic was blocked, power lines were downed and livestock and crop losses were high.


Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada had its wettest March day in history as 3.55 inches of mixed precipitation, mostly rain fell.


Oklahoma City, OK saw snow flurries on this date. Going back to 1891, this city has never had an accumulating snow on March 23 in any year.


A blizzard raged across western Kansas, and the panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma. Pampa, TX received 21 inches of snow; the worst in at least 70 years. 24 inches was recorded at Neligh, NE. Winds gusted to 78 mph at Dodge City, KS and Altus, OK. At Dodge City, KS, the winds continued up to 77 mph for about 4 hours. Snow and blowing snow continued to reduce visibilities to near zero with wind speeds of 40 to 50 mph until the early morning hours the next day. Dodge City reported 11 inches of heavy wet snow. The wet snow helped to prevent a tremendous amount of drifting even with 60 to 70 mph winds. Very solid snow drifts stood 6 feet tall on the Dodge City airport. Governor Hayden declared 46 counties in western Kansas a disaster area. In southwest Kansas, the storm was described as the worst in 30 years.


Thunderstorms developing along a strong cold front spawned tornadoes near Roberts, ID and Bridger, MT.

Strong and gusty winds prevailed in the western U.S. Wind gusts in the southwest part of Reno, NV reached 89 mph.


Charlotte and Wilmington, NC reported rainfall records for the date while freezing rain glazed parts of northern North Carolina and southern Virginia. Gale force winds produced heavy surf along the North Carolina coast.


An upper level storm system produced heavy snow in the Lower Missouri Valley. Snowfall totals ranged up to 9 inches at Kansas City, MO, with 8 inches reported at Falls City, NE, Columbia and St. Louis, MO. Thunderstorms produced heavy snow in the Kansas City area during the evening rush hour. Up to 8 inches of snow fell along the Ohio River in southern Indiana.

Several hours of freezing drizzle covered roadways with a thin layer of “black ice” which caused 100 traffic accidents in and around Denver, CO. In Boulder, CO, snow, ranging up to an inch east of town to 4 to 5 inches near Table Mesa, and freezing rain caused numerous accidents and brief power outages. At times thunder was heard during the snow.


The third storm in 10 days brought heavy snow to the parts of the Rockies. Golden Gate Canyon reported 18 inches and Nederland had 10 inches in the foothills of Colorado. Snowfall generally ranged from 4 to 8 inches across Denver, CO. As the storm moved east, blizzard conditions developed on the 24th and 25th closing both I-70 and I-76 east of Denver.


Severe Tropical Cyclone Vance devastated the northwest town of Exmouth, Australia producing a measured wind gust of 167 mph, which is the highest wind speed ever recorded on mainland Australia. The gust was recorded at 11.50 am local time at the Learmonth Meteorological Office, 24 miles south of Exmouth, as Vance passed nearby.


A tornado obliterated a section of Clovis, NM, flattening about 100 homes and businesses, snapping telephone poles and even heaving a trailer through a bowling alley. At least three schools were damaged. This tornado was one of 13 that strike a dozen communities along the New Mexico–Texas border on this date, leaving two people critically injured.


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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