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Weather History: March 8: Record temps, wind, storms, snow, tropics & floods

Meteorological events that happened on March 8th:

On Fishers Island in Long Island Sound, 1,200 sheep were discovered buried under a snow drift for four weeks. When finally uncovered, 100 sheep were still alive.


A tornado moved across the St. Louis, MO area at a reported 70 mph, crossing the Mississippi River near East St. Louis and Venice. There was considerable damage to docks and ferries on the river; debris was reported to have been carried 30 miles. Six railroad depots were destroyed, accounting for much of the $200,000 damage. Eight of the 9 deaths occurred at the East St. Louis railroad yards, while the 9th occurred on a bridge. 60 people were injured during the tornado, which peaked at F3 intensity.

An intense afternoon thunderstorm brought lightning and hail to Erin, Ontario Canada. Some hail stones measured 1.5 inches in diameter.

The town of Brinkley, AR was struck by an F4 tornado which killed 49 people, injured 671 others in Dallas & Monroe counties and caused $600,000 dollars damage. The 1200 yard wide tornado destroyed 860 buildings during its 15 mile track. Entire families were killed as houses were completely swept away. At least six other major tornadoes touched down in Arkansas that day, killing an additional 18 people.


A snowstorm dropped 10 to 20 inches of new snow across Vermont to raise snow depths to record levels. 116 inches was measured on the ground on top of Mount Mansfield, the second highest snow depth ever recorded on the mountain up to the time. The town of Orange measured 88 inches on the ground for a new state low elevation snow depth record.

A wind gust of 207 mph was recorded at the Thule Air Force Base in Greenland. Winds were sustained at over 146 mph for three hours during the storm.


Damaging thunderstorms moved across southeastern Pennsylvania during the evening accompanied by high wind gusts and hail. Winds gusted to 85 mph at Reading, PA, where 5 airplanes were flipped over. Hail accumulated 1 - 2 inches deep in spots.

A freak "thunder snowstorm" produced high winds, vivid lightning, and up to 7 inches of snow in the northern suburbs of Washington D.C.

Many cities in the eastern U.S. reported new record high temperatures for the date, including Madison, WI with a reading of 71°. Afternoon highs of 68° at Houghton Lake, MI and 72° at Flint, MI smashed their previous records for the date by 14 degrees.

A record 24 hour temperature fall began at Detroit, MI. It started at 1pm ET with a temperature of 74° and a cold front pushed through which brought the temperature down to 23° at 1pm ET on the 9th; a 51 degree drop in 24-hours.

A cold front brought wintry weather to the north central U.S. Snowfall totals in northwestern Minnesota ranged up to eight inches at Roseau and Hallock. Winds in South Dakota gusted to 61 mph at Brookings.

While arctic cold gripped the northeastern U.S., unseasonably warm weather prevailed across the southwestern states. Albany, NY reported a record low of -2°. Out west, Tucson AZ reported a record high of 90°.

Late afternoon thunderstorms produced severe weather in east central Iowa and west central Illinois. Thunderstorms spawned a tornado south of Augusta, IL which traveled 42 miles to Marbleton. Golf ball size hail was reported at Peoria, IL and near Vermont, IL.

A cold front that surged through the southern Plains caused severe thunderstorms over much of northern Texas, and southern and central Oklahoma. Four minor tornadoes occurred, along with widespread large hail. Softball size hail fell just east of Ratliff City in Carter County. High winds and hail destroyed several buildings in the Ardmore area, and in western north Texas, three inch hail fell just south of Holliday, in Archer County.

In the first eight days of March, Las Vegas, NV recorded 1.87 inches of rain setting a new monthly maximum March rainfall record. The previous record was 1.83 inches set in 1973.

A major snowstorm buried sections of Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas. Ozark Beach, MO recorded 19 inches of snow, while Harrison, AR checked in with 18 inches. Tulsa, OK had 12.9 inches, for their greatest single storm snowfall.

Elkins, WV received 2.1 inches of snow on this day to bring its seasonal snowfall to 125.8 inches, its snowiest winter on record. 3.8 inches of snowfall on this date pushed Washington D.C.'s records to the second snowiest winter ever with 46.0 inches. It was the snowiest winter ever at BWI/Marshall with 62.5 inches and Dulles with 58.7 inches up to that time.

Florida Citrus regions braced for another blast of cold air. A strong cold front swept through the entire state two days before, abruptly ended the summer-like weather the region had been enjoying. Low temperatures across the Panhandle dipped into the teens with widespread frost and freeze conditions occurring into the south-central part of the Sunshine State.

Three days of heavy rain breached a levee and sent floodwaters from Beaver Dam Creek churning through the small town of Elba, AL as a levee gave way with little warning. It was the second major flood to inundate the town in eight years. Five people died in the South Alabama flooding.

La Coruna in northwestern Spain had its wettest day on record with 5.23 inches of rain falling.

Ice falling as it thawed from cables on New York City suspension bridges caused nightmarish traffic jams as lanes had to be closed on the five bridges. Falling shards of ice shattered windshields and caused one injury.

A 112-year-old record fell at downtown San Francisco, CA when the temperature hit 82°, breaking the previous record of 78° set in 1892.

The temperature in downtown Los Angeles, CA soared to 93° which is 24 degrees above normal.

A line of strong to severe thunderstorms affected the eastern portions of the Carolinas, with wind damage and a few tornadoes reported. Winds gusted over 70 mph with some of the stronger storms.

A local resident reported a Kune Kune pig lifted by a tornado and flung through the air to land unharmed in a nearby paddock at South Caterbury, New Zealand.

Tropical Cyclone George hammered Port Hedland on Australia’s northwest coast with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph. The storm was the most destructive cyclone to affect Port Hedland since 1975.

Severe thunderstorms dropped 3.94 inches of rain in just a few hours in the Djelfa region, about 170 miles south of Algiers killing 6 people.


The Republic of the Congo in Africa set a new all-time record high when the temperature hit 102.6° at M'Pouya. Congo's previous all-time hottest temperature was 102.2° at Impfondo on 5/14/2005.


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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