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Weather History: March 25: Record temps, storms, snow, dust, tornadoes & floods

Meteorological events that happened on March 25th:

A second great snowstorm hit the northeastern U.S. The storm produced snow from Maine all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Natchez, MS received 3 inches of snow, and up to 15 inches buried eastern Tennessee. Parts of coastal Maine received 204 inches of snow that winter.

More than 20 people were killed by an F3 tornado that moved across parts of Birmingham, AL. The twister cut a 15 mile path from the south side of the city to Avondale and Irondale.

Society Hill, SC was buried under 18 inches of snow, establishing a state record.

Amarillo, TX received nearly 21 inches of snow in 24 hours, but the snow never got any deeper than 4.5 inches as most of it melted as it fell.

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.

For the second time in less than a week, airplanes were destroyed by a tornado at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City, OK. A March 20th tornado destroyed 50 planes at Tinker AFB causing more than $10 million dollars damage, and the March 25th tornado destroyed another 35 planes causing $6 million dollars damage. The first tornado struck without warning, and caused more damage than any previous tornado in the state of Oklahoma. The second tornado was predicted by Fawbush and Miller of the United States Air Force, and their accurate tornado forecast ushered in the modern era of severe weather forecasting.

The fifth major snowstorm of the month prompted the provincial government to declare a state of emergency on Prince Edward Island Canada. Snow drifts of 33 feet reached overhead power lines in places.

The town of Sandberg reported a wind gust to 101 mph, a record for the state of California. The one-minute average speed was 77 mph.

Hawaii's Mauna Loa, the largest and most active volcano on the Earth, began erupting on this date. The dramatic lava flow came to within just four miles of Hilo, narrowly averting a major disaster.

Heavy rain left rivers and streams swollen in Kansas and Nebraska, causing considerable crop damage due to flooding of agricultural areas. The Saline River near Wilson Reservoir in central Kansas reached its highest level since 1951. March rainfall at Grand Island, NE exceeded their previous record of 5.57 inches.

An early season heat wave prevailed in the southwestern U.S. The high of 93° at Tucson, AZ was a new record for March. Santa Ana winds brought intense early heat to southern California through the 27th. Santee, CA soared to 102° and Santa Ana, CA hit 98°, a March record. Temperatures soared to 97° throughout the San Diego Valleys all three days. Several brush fires resulted.

Windy conditions prevailed across the central and eastern U.S. Winds gusted to 60 mph at Minneapolis, MN, and reached 120 mph atop Rendezvous Peak, WY.

A Pacific storm brought wet weather to much of the western third of the country, with heavy snow in some of the higher elevations. La Porte, CA was drenched with 3.56 inches of rain in 24 hours. Up to 24 inches of snow blanketed the Sierra Nevada Range.

Temperatures dipped below 0° in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region. Hardin, MT was the cold spot in the nation with a morning low of -10°.
Freezing drizzle was reported in parts of the Southern Plains Region, with afternoon highs only in the 30s down into Missouri and Arkansas.

Severe thunderstorms moving through Lake, Orange, and Seminole counties in Florida dropped hailstones up to 4 inches in diameter and resulted in what is called "the most economically destructive force ever to hit the Orlando area" -- worse even than Hurricane Donna which struck Florida in 1960. Damage totaled $60 million dollars making this the costliest hailstorm ever in Florida, exceeding the damage done by another hailstorm which occurred only 19 days earlier on March 6th. The nursery industry in southern Lake county and western Orange county was virtually shut down by the hailstorm. Literally millions of glass panes were broken. Hail up to baseball size hit the University of Central Florida. The largest official hailstone recorded was 3.00" at the UCF -the second largest Florida hailstone on record, but residents reported larger hail that melted.

A severe thunderstorm produced hailstones up to 2 inches in diameter across parts of Austin, TX, resulting in the worst and costliest hailstorm in the city's history. An estimated $75 million dollars in damage was done to cars, roofs, skylights, greenhouses, and vegetation. 60 people were injured by the hail as they scrambled to protect their vehicles and other valuables.

The first of three big hailstorms of the spring struck the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in Texas. A severe thunderstorm moved across Dallas County, dumping hailstones up to 3 inches in diameter. Total damage reached $80 million dollars.

Massive sandstorms held up the U.S. led coalition as its ground forces continued to advance toward Baghdad, Iraq. The storms reduced visibilities to a few feet, bringing vehicles to a halt and canceling hundreds of air missions. Much of Iraq was covered by fine dust, making it much more prone to such dust storms.


A violent sandstorm pushed by gusty winds of 50 mph raised a thick wall of sand that reduced visibility to less than 1,600 feet. The storm closed the international airport and halted oil exports.


Check out my colleague Weather Examiners:

Baltimore, MD area weather with Tony Pann at

Washington, D.C. area weather with Scott Sumner 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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