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Weather History: March 6: Record temps, storms, fire, wind, snow & flooding

Meteorological events that happened on March 6th:


A cold wave hit the East coast sending the mercury plunging to -8° at Boston, MA. It was the most severe March cold wave in modern history.


A Chinook wind blowing down the slopes of the Rockies through Havre, MT raised the temperature 31 degrees in just 3 minutes.


Northwest Florida recorded an unusual snowfall. Four inches fell at the Milton Experimental Station setting the state all-time record for both 24-hour snowfall and for a single storm. Nearby Pensacola recorded 2.1 inches to tie their 24-hour record.


The Ash Wednesday Storm began a ferocious attack on the U.S. East Coast through the 9th. It caused over $200 million dollars (1962 dollars) in property damage and major coastal erosion from North Carolina to Long Island, NY. In New Jersey alone, it was estimated to have destroyed or greatly damaged 45,000 homes. The Red Cross recorded that the storm killed 40 people. It hit during "Spring Tide": when the sun and moon are in phase, producing a higher than normal astronomical tide. Tides reached 9 feet above normal at Norfolk, VA (flooding begins around 5 feet). Houses were toppled into the ocean and boardwalks were broken and twisted. The islands of Chincoteague and Assateague, MD were completely inundated. Ocean City, MD sustained major damage as a 3 mile stretch of the boardwalk was wiped out. Along the coast, winds up to 70 mph built 40-foot waves, caused tides to run 2 to 6 feet above normal.

Inland, heavy snow fell in the Appalachian Mountains. The town of Big Meadows, southeast of Luray, recorded Virginia's greatest 24-hour snowfall with 33 inches and the greatest single storm snowfall with 42 inches. Nearly 2 feet of snow fell from Charlottesville: 21 inches to Luray: 24 inches to Winchester: 22 inches. Roads were blocked and electrical service was out for several days. Washington and Baltimore fell into the mixed precipitation zone. National Airport received only 4 inches of snow with a liquid equivalent of 1.33 inches. However, close-in suburbs, such as Silver Spring, MD and Falls Church, VA received 11 inches of snow. Outlying areas such as Rockville, MD received 19 inches and Leesburg, VA received 20 inches.


An F4 tornado cut a 30 mile path across Walker and Jefferson Counties in Alabama, killing 2 people. Hardest hit locations included Sumiton, Rocky Hollow, Empire and Warrior.

The UK's strongest gust on record occurred as a gust to 144 mph was reported at Cairngorm, Scotland.


Italy's coldest night on record occurred as the temperature dropped to -30° at Palteau Roas, Italy elevation 11,443 feet.


Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada was hit by severe ice storm that closed the International Airport and brought down television towers.

This day marked the end of nine consecutive days of measurable precipitation at San Diego, CA which started on 2/26. This tied their all-time record which also occurred on 2/13-21/1980 and 2/5-13/1978.

This day marked the end of 11 consecutive days of measurable precipitation at Idyllwild, CA which started on 2/24. This is a record for that location.


Heavy rains soaked Florida for 24 hours with rainfall totals reaching as high as 9 inches at Whigham and 9.55 inches at Marianna.


Many cities in the north central U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date. Pickstown, SD was the hot spot in the nation with a reading of 83°. The high of 71° at Saint Cloud, MN smashed their previous record by 21 degrees.


Wintry weather developed in the Rockies and the Plateau Region as arctic air swept in from the northwest while thunderstorms developed in Utah and Idaho. Blizzard conditions in southeast Idaho claimed the lives of two teenagers.


A winter storm in the south central U.S. left parts of Missouri and Arkansas buried under more than a foot of snow. Heavier snowfall totals in Missouri included 14 inches at Springfield and 16 inches at Lebanon. Totals in Benton County, AR ranged up to 14 inches.


Colorado's strongest winter storm of the season moved northeastward across the state producing 50 inches of snow at Echo Lake, 46.5 inches on Buckhorn Mountain, and 46 inches near the top of Coal Canyon. Snow fell at the rate of several inches per hour during the height of the storm, while winds gusted above 50 mph. Several hundred rush hour commuters, including the state governor, were stranded in blizzard conditions along Highway 36 between Denver and Boulder. Drifts up to 12 feet high had to be cleared southeast of Boulder.

At the University of Denver High Altitude Lab, Mount Evans reported 50 inches of snow in a 24 hour period. Winds gusting up to 40 mph caused whiteout conditions.

The storm extended further north in to Wyoming. Wheatland, WY picked up 18 inches, Douglas, WY picked up 15.2 inches and Cheyenne, WY received 10 inches.


Early Texas heat occurred as Corpus Christi & San Antonio hit 100°, were both records for the day and the warmest ever so early in season.


Severe thunderstorms dumped large amounts of hail over sections of Georgia and Florida. Hail accumulated to a depth of 6 inches at Marietta, Georgia. Hail the size of golf balls covered the ground 3 to 4 inches deep uniformly at Longwood and Altamonte Springs, FL. Hail damage was extensive with broken windows and vehicle and roof damage widespread. Total damage in Florida amounted to $25 million dollars, the most damaging hailstorm in Florida's history (until 3/25/92).


Alabama tornadoes killed 7 people and injured 45 others. Just after 4:00 am, a tornado touched down 9 miles west of Selma, AL, and moved east-northeast on a path at least 10 miles long. A trailer park was hit just north of Selma, killing 4 people. Another tornado just east of Montgomery killed 2 people.

An early morning strong F3 tornado killed 4 people and injured 40 others on a 19 mile track through Dallas County in Alabama. Damages totaled $8 million dollars.


Rochester, NY recorded its deepest snow cover on record with 36 inches on the ground.


For the first time since 1979, Lake Superior was nearly frozen over. A winter of relentlessly cold temperatures resulted in the extensive ice. Lake Huron and shallower Lake Erie were both completely covered with ice. The ice threatened to push the opening of shipping on the lake back from late March when it would normally open to late May.

In Canada, the thermometer struggled to reach a high of -29° at Timmins Ontario. Further to the west, extreme cold was felt in British Columbia as MacKenzie established a new record low of -27°. Blue River recorded a low of -29°, surpassing their previous record low by 12° as did Bonilla Island at -33°.


On this date through the 7th, heavy rainfall produced flooding in the Saharan desert region of Algeria causing 2 deaths and 9 injuries.


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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