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Weather History: March 24: Record temps, storms, snow, tornadoes & dust

Meteorological events that happened on March 24th:

Trees help keep the planet warm. Recent computer simulations of global climate and climates' interactions with the environment suggest that the dense northern forests that line the North Polar Region help warm the planet. These forests absorb much more of the sun's energy than the bare or snow covered ground would. This absorption keeps the Arctic air as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it would if the trees were not there.


A major snowstorm hit from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. From Philadelphia, PA came this report: "On Sunday night last there came on here a very severe snowstorm, the wind blowing very high, which continued all the next day, when it is believed there fell the greatest quantity of snow that has been known for many years past; it being generally held to be two feet, or two feet and a half, on the level, and in some places deeper".


Residents of Kansas City, MO began to dig out from a storm that produced 25 inches of snow in 24 hours. The snowfall total was nearly twice that of any other storm of modern record in Kansas City before or since that time. A record 40 inches of snow fell during the month of March that year, and the total for the winter season of 67 inches was also a record. By late February, Kansas City had received just 6 inches of snow. Olathe, KS received 37 inches of snow, establishing a single storm record for the state of Kansas.


St. Louis, MO soared to 92°; their all-time record high for March.


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.


Royal Air Force crews flying bombing missions over Germany encountered the tremendous upper level winds we now know as the Jet Stream. Scientists at the University of Chicago gave the name to the high altitude ribbon of high winds in 1947.


Amarillo, TX picked up 11 inches of snow from an early spring storm. Drifts piled up to 14 feet in places.


The second major spring snowstorm in less than a week dumped 10 to 20 inches of snow across northeastern Colorado. 14.3 inches was reported in Denver where winds gusted over 35 mph creating near blizzard conditions with visibilities frequently down to ½ mile. Many travelers were stranded.


A strong cold front produced a wind gust to 60 mph at Denver, CO where a little over three inches of snow fell following the frontal passage. The strong winds caused minor damage in and north of Denver. Following the frontal passage, blowing dust reduced visibilities and the temperature at Denver dropped 25 degrees in one hour from 65° to 40°.


"The Governor's Tornado" hop-scotched a 13-mile path across the western part of Atlanta, GA during the early morning hours, causing considerable damage to the Governor's mansion. Hundreds of expensive homes, businesses and apartment complexes were damaged. Total losses were estimated at $56 million dollars. Three people lost their lives and another 152 were injured by the F3 tornado.


A late March snowstorm set many heavy snow records for so late in the season from east-central Alabama, across northern Georgia and parts of the Carolinas. Records included 11 inches at Cornelia, GA, 10 inches at Charlotte, NC, 8.7 inches at Athens, GA, and 7.9 inches at Atlanta, GA. It was the heaviest snowfall ever for the Georgia capital and the most ever recorded in March.


An early spring snow storm in the central U.S. produced blizzard conditions from South Dakota to western Kansas. Snowfall totals ranged up to 24 inches at Neligh, NE, with 19 inches at Winner, SD. Winds gusting to 60 mph created 12 foot snow drifts in Nebraska stranding thousands on highways.


Thunderstorms developing along a cold front produced severe weather from Minnesota to northeastern Texas. The thunderstorms spawned 10 tornadoes, including one which injured 5 people near Raymondville, MO.


Low pressure off the coast of Virginia brought heavy rain to the Mid-Atlantic Coast, and heavy snow to the Northern Appalachians. Cape Hatteras, NC was soaked with 5.20 inches of rain in 24 hours, and snowfall totals in Vermont ranged up to 12 inches. Winds gusted to 52 mph at New York City.


The storm system which produced heavy snow in the Lower Missouri Valley the previous day spread heavy snow across parts of the Ohio Valley and the Mid-Atlantic Coast Region. Snowfall totals of 2.2 inches at Philadelphia, PA and 2.4 inches at Atlantic City, NJ were records for the date. Up to 6 inches of snow blanketed southern Ohio. In Washington, D.C., snow coated the blossoms of cherry trees which had bloomed in 80 degree weather the previous week.


"The Winter of the Return of the Big Snows" continued to set records. Boston, MA had 8.6 inches of snow on this day to push its monthly total to 38.9 inches, which set a new March monthly snowfall record.


160 people were killed and 2,000 injured when tornadoes affected 20 coastal villages in the states of West Bengal and Orissa in India. More than 15,000 homes were destroyed and more than 10,000 people were left homeless.


The worst sand/dust storm in 40 years affected Korea caused by gale-force winds in the desert areas of Mongolia and northern China.


On this date through March 26, a strong storm system crossing the eastern Mediterranean brought significant storms to the Middle East. Strong winds raised severe sandstorms over large portions of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait, severely affecting U.S. and coalition military operations.

7.29 inches of rain fell in 24 hours in Phuket, Thailand. The average March rainfall there is just 2.36 inches. This was the wettest day since 9/24/2001 when 7.88 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.


This was the first day of a four day rain event that brought some portions of the Mississippi Valley region nearly 10 inches of rainfall. Locations along and south of a line from Kemper County to Simpson County and down to Franklin County in Southern Mississippi had between 6 to 8 inches.


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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