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Weather History: March 4: Record temps, storms, snow, tornadoes & tropics

Meteorological events that happened on March 4th:


New England's "Great Snow." occurred between 2/27 and 3/7. Four storms dumped 36 inches of snow at Boston, MA and as much as 4 feet further north. Drifts up to 25 feet were reported near Dorchester, MA. Travel was virtually impossible for nearly 3 weeks.


Cyclone Mahina, aka “The Bathurst Bay Hurricane” in Australia was credited with having produced the highest storm surge on record in the world. The cyclone, with an estimated central pressure of 911 millibars or 26.90 inHg caused a 42.6 foot surge when it came ashore on the coast of northern Australia. The storm killed as many as 400 people.


Though fair weather was forecasted, President Taft was inaugurated amidst a furious winter storm. About 10 inches of wet snow disrupted travel and communications. The head of the Washington Weather Bureau personally called Mr. Taft at midnight before and stated that the snow would soon be over. He reiterated his promise that the weather would not interfere with any of the inaugural activities. What happen was the storm rapidly intensified over southern NJ an a unusually heavy wraparound snow event occurred. The storm drew much criticism against the U.S. Weather Bureau.


An avalanche swept down Cheops Mountain and hit a work train and crew cleaning a previous slide at Rogers Pass, British Columbia Canada. All but one of the 63-man crew died.


In Riverside, CA it was 28°, their lowest temperature on record for March.


It was 29° at Palm Springs, CA; their lowest temperature on record for March. This also occurred on 3/13/1936.


A ferocious blizzard that began on the 3rd struck the mid-Atlantic and northeast. Some snowfall totals included 17 inches at Roanoke, VA and 18 inches at Scranton, PA. The storm was especially fierce in eastern New England where the winds approached hurricane force. In Massachusetts, Blue Hill in Milton, totaled 30 inches, Nantucket was buried under 31 inches, and Boston recorded 20 inches. Just offshore the storm's central pressure bottomed out at 960 millibars or 28.35 inHg; equivalent to the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.


A severe blizzard raged across Minnesota and North Dakota. The blizzard lasted four days producing up to 35 inches of snow at Mobridge, SD, and wind gusting to 100 mph at Broken Bow, NE produced snowdrifts 30 to 40 feet high. Bismarck, ND reported zero visibility for 11 hours and had 22.4 inches of snow to set a new single storm snowfall record. Traffic was paralyzed for three days from the 2nd through the 5th. Thirteen people died as a result of the blizzard and livestock losses were heavy.

Across the border in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada the blizzard dropped 13 inches of snow with wind gusts up to 75 mph, paralyzing the city for two days.


A snowstorm struck Quebec, Canada. Montreal reported 18.5 inches with wind gusts to 70 mph creating huge drifts. Electric power was out up to a week in some areas. The snowfall at Dorval totaled 17 inches; officially the city's greatest 24 hour snow.


Brownsville, TX recorded a high of 100°, the earliest the city has ever hit the century mark.


A blizzard, which began on the 2nd, battered the Upper Midwest. 15 to 25 inches of snow was common across South Dakota with drifts up to 20 feet. 24 inches was recorded at Benson, MN and Duluth, MN had a wind gust to 71 mph. Most highways and state roads were closed for 2 days. Thunderstorms with brilliant lightning displays were also reported with the heavy snow.


Snow and freezing rain made travel hazardous in Ohio and Indiana. A 6-car pile-up resulted near Columbus, OH, with 7 injuries reported. Up to 2 inches of ice glazed parts of central Indiana while up to 10 inches of snow blanketed parts of northern Ohio.


Thunderstorms produced severe weather in the Lower Mississippi Valley. A strong F3 tornado injured 5 people and livestock near Brownsville, MS. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 90 mph at Canton, MS.

On the backside of the storm, precipitation started as sleet and freezing rain, and later changed to snow across western north Texas and southeast Oklahoma that continued through the 5th. Near blizzard conditions occurred the morning of the 5th. The heaviest snow extended from Healdton, in south-central Oklahoma, to Pauls Valley and Chandler. 16 inches of snow fell at Pauls Valley, and drifts of 3 to 6 feet were common. Over western north Texas, totals of 9 to 11 inches stretched from Coleman to Wichita Falls. The 9.7 inch snowfall on the 5th at Wichita Falls set their record for greatest snowfall for any one day in the month of March. This all occurred after their high temperature reached 83° just two days earlier.

Billings, MT dropped to -19°. This tied their all-time March low temperature. Their low temperatures were below zero for the first five days of the month.


The river front area of Cincinnati, OH was under water, as the Ohio River hit 63.33 feet; more than 11 feet above flood stage.


A snowstorm dumped heavy snow from Maryland to New England. Rochester, NY set their all time 24-hour snowfall record with 24.3 inches.


A storm that began on this date and ended on the 6th brought up to 17 inches of snow in 24 hours to the mountains of southern California. 14 inches fell at Forest Falls. Strong thunderstorms produced golf ball size hail at Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Running Springs. Strong thunderstorm wind gusts measured 60 mph at Huntington Beach. Property was damaged and trees were downed along the coast from Huntington Beach to Sunset Cliffs. Three illegal immigrants died south of Mt. Laguna.


Oklahoma reported its first tornado in 292 days, a record stretch of days without a reported tornado that began 5/16/2003. An F-0 tornado touched down 2 miles north of Muldrow to break the string.

On this date through the 6th, a heavy snowstorm stranded 4,000 motorists in the central provinces of North and South Chungcheong in central South Korea. Nearly 2 feet of snow accumulated in some areas, the greatest single-day snowfall on record


A tornado in the southern part of the Bagerhat District in Bangladesh destroyed approximately 500 dwellings and uprooted hundreds of trees. Four people were killed and more than 50 people were injured.


Only two days after basking in spring-like readings of 78°, St. Louis, MO was buried under nearly a foot of snow in 7 hours, the biggest snowstorm in 15 years.


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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