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Weather History: May 10: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, hail, wind & snow

Meteorological events that happened on May 10th:


A tornado estimated to be F4 intensity moved across 20 miles of Scott and Morgan Counties in central Illinois. The tornado touched down near Alsey and moved northeast, passing 8 miles south of Jacksonville. The tornado was strongest in the Pisgah area, where 30 buildings were destroyed. Seven people were killed. Further east, a tornado causing F3 damage touched down just north of Clinton, and moved northeast to near Arrowsmith, across De Witt and McLean Counties.


A tornado struck the Hondo Coal Mine in Mexico; 100 miles south of Eagle Pass, TX killing 22 people and tossing coal cars over 100 yards.


A monstrous supercell thunderstorm formed near the Red River in the southwestern part of the Oklahoma Territory and spawned two killer tornadoes. The first tornado moved through Jackson County, which was part of old Greer County, growing to a mile in width at one point. The tornado killed at least 10 people, and destroyed homes in and near the towns of Carmel and Lock. The second tornado formed 3 miles south-southwest of Humphreys in old Greer County (now Jackson County) and moved east-northeast crossing the North Fork of the Red River into old Kiowa County (now Tillman County) near the mouth of Otter Creek. The half-mile-wide tornado moved along and near Otter Creek and then curved to the northeast through what is now northern Tillman County. The tornado continued northeast until it struck the city of Snyder around 8:45 pm CT. The tornado killed 97 people and destroyed the western side of Snyder, including more than 100 homes. Its roar could reportedly be heard up to 12 miles away.


Washington, D.C. recorded their latest snowfall on record with a trace.


Fresno, CA began their longest stretch without any precipitation.


No precipitation fell on this date at Denver, CO. This was only one of two days without precipitation during the entire month. The other day was the 21st. Their monthly precipitation total was 4.95 inches.


A late season snowstorm struck New England with up to 3 feet of heavy wet snow reported in parts of New Hampshire.


A rare late season coastal storm dumped 7 inches of snow on Portland, ME.

0.3 inches of snow fell at Fort Wayne, IN; their latest measurable snow.


Four F4 tornadoes touched down in parts of eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. One F4 tornado moved northeast from northeast of Fountain City, WI to Colburn, WI. This tornado struck about a hundred farms. Eight farms were hit in Glencoe Township, northeast of Fountain City. Total damage from this tornado was $1 million dollars and it caused 10 injuries. The second F4 tornado moved from 5 miles southwest of Chester, IA to 4 miles northeast of Chatfield, MN. Eleven farms were heavily damaged in northern Iowa before this tornado crossed into Fillmore County, Minnesota. Twenty barns were damaged or destroyed in Minnesota and one man was killed as his barn was destroyed one mile southeast of Wykoff. A rural school was leveled 3 miles south of Chatfield as well. The third F4 tornado moved northeast and passed about 2 miles northwest of St. Charles, MN. Farms were torn up all along the track. An infant was killed and 4 other people were injured in a car that was thrown 100 feet, about 1.5 miles west of St. Charles, IA. Hundreds of trees were snapped at Whitewater State Park. Overall this tornado killed one person and injured 11 people. The final F4 tornado moved across Rusk, Price, and Taylor counties in Wisconsin. This storm tracked north-northeast to 7 miles north of Phillips, but the damage path was not continuous. One farm house was leveled and pieces of it were found 7 miles away. The tornado was most intense in Price County where F4 damage was witnessed for 12 miles. Over $150,000 worth of damage resulted. An F3 tornado moved northeast across Clayton County, Iowa from 7 miles north northeast of Elkader to just northeast of Giard. Barns and silos were destroyed as the tornado struck 8 farms. At least 60 head of cattle were killed. A farmer was carried 700 feet, but suffered only minor injures.


Record cold hit the upper Midwest as many cities reported record low temperatures for May including: Necedah, WI: 16°, Preston, MN: 18°, Theilman, MN: 18°, Hillsboro, WI: 19°, Sparta, WI: 21°, Bloomington, IL: 21°, Aurora, IL: 21°, Decorah, IA: 22° and Quincy, IL: 28°.

Snow flurries were reported at Fort Wayne, IN, Kansas City, MO and Chicago, IL.

Windsor, Ontario Canada set their low temperature record for May as they dropped to 27°.


A very powerful tornado struck the city of Lubbock, TX, killing 26 people, injuring more than 500 others, and causing $135 million dollars damage. It was the most destructive tornado of record up until that time, and came on the 17th anniversary of the twister which struck Waco, TX killing 114 people. A second tornado killed two others people in Lubbock, and the two tornadoes damaged or destroyed nearly a quarter of the city.


An unprecedented spring snowstorm, spawned by a huge 500 millibar cutoff low, hit southern New England and southeastern New York. This storm, which began on the 9th, was an elevation storm. 20 inches of snow fell at Norfolk, CT (elevation 1,337 feet) while downtown Hartford received only 1.2 inches. The highest total occurred at Slide Mountain, NY (elevation 2,600 feet) with 26 inches falling. Extensive damage to trees and power lines occurred with 500,000 people without power following the storm. This was the first May snow in 107 years of records at Boston, MA although only 0.5 inches fell there. However, in the nearby suburb of Bedford, 9.5 inches fell. Worcester, MA recorded 12.7 inches, the Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, MA measured 7.8 inches, and Providence, RI had 7 inches.

Thunderstorm winds gusted to 60 mph and 3.25" of rain fell south of Punta Gorda, FL. Luckily, no significant damage reported.


An F3 tornado was first sighted six miles west of Tintah, MN. The tornado moved into town of Tintah and then northeastward, dissipating north of Wendell. Two farms sites were damaged west of Tintah. Nearly one dozen farm buildings were destroyed and 50 cows were killed. Hail as large as softballs preceded the tornado into Tintah where there was extensive damage. A school and church received heavy damage, two railroad cars were overturned, homes and grain buildings were damaged and utility poles and trees were up rooted.


Three feet of snow fell over the Bears Paw Mountains of north central Montana and snow and high winds created near blizzard conditions over portions of central Montana.


Bangkok, Thailand received 15.79 inches of rain in 24 hours ending the next day setting their national record.


Summer-like "Father's Day" type weather prevailed in the north central and western U.S. for "Mother's Day", as many cities reported record high temperatures for the date including Jamestown, ND with 96°.

Thunderstorms along the Central Gulf Coast deluged Lillian, AL with 14.5 inches of rain, and nearby Perdido Key, FL with 12.8 inches of rain.


Thunderstorms produced hail and high winds over the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast States marking the end of a five day episode of severe weather associated with low pressure tracking out of the Great Basin into southeastern Canada. An F3 tornado struck Middleboro, KY causing $22 million dollars in damage.

Lightning struck a house in Boulder, CO setting it afire. The house valued at $170,000 was a total loss.


Thunderstorms developing ahead of a cold front crossing the Plateau Region produced wind gusts to 75 mph at Butte, MT, and gusts to 77 mph at Choteau, MT.


A spring snowstorm produced heavy snow in upper Michigan and eastern Wisconsin. Marquette, MI recorded 22.4 inches of snow to set not only a new single storm snowfall record for May but also a new monthly record for snowfall in May besting the old record of 1.4 inches set back in 1980. 8 inches fell at Muskegon, MI and Hartford, WI. The heavy wet snow and winds gusting to 35 mph damaged or destroyed thousands of trees and downed power lines. Total damage from the storm was more than $4 million dollars.

An F2 tornado hit Vineland, NJ, blowing out a concrete wall at a school. People were injured by flying glass at an auto dealership. An F0 tornado also touched down in Carmel, Cumberland Co, with wind gusts measured at 76 mph. Hundreds of trees were either uprooted or broken off and utility poles were downed. Thunderstorms produced wind gusts of 61 mph in Somers Point and Hammonton, NJ, and golf ball sized hail at South Toms River, NJ.


Severe thunderstorms blasted western Texas and Nebraska. 15 tornadoes were reported in western Texas. Three miles northwest of Lazbuddie, a complex of 5 tornadoes touched down within 10 minutes of one another. This consisted of the main funnel, rated an F2 and 4 'satellite' tornadoes that rotated around the main vortex at a distance of about a quarter of a mile. Hail 6 inches in diameter broke many windshields and did extensive damage to roofs in Pyote, TX. 5-inch hailstones fell from a supercell thunderstorm near Crawford, NE.

A very slow moving severe thunderstorm produced up to 7 inches of rain over northeastern Sioux county of the Nebraska panhandle. This resulted in major flooding of the White River, which swept into the Crawford, NE area. The river crested at 16.3 feet at Crawford, while numerous roads, bridges, and 20 miles of railroad tracks were washed out. In addition, hail up to 5 inches in diameter was reported near Fort Robinson and Crawford. Damage estimates from the storms exceeded $16 million dollars.

On this date through the 12th, heavy rainfall led to devastating flash floods in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. Rain amounts ranged from 4 to 10 inches in most locations. The runoff poured into creeks and rivers, rapidly driving them out of their banks. The city of Oral was the hardest hit as flood waters carried several houses a few hundred feet from where they originally stood. Many roads, culverts, and bridges were completely washed out by the floods causing over $1 million dollars in damage.

Shreveport LA eclipsed their annual average rainfall for the year as 45 inches of rain had fallen by this date. The normal for an average year is only 43.84 inches. This was the earliest date the average annual rainfall total had been surpassed.


Graduation ceremony was ready to commence when softball hail struck Howard College at Big Spring, TX. Skylights on the coliseum roof were shattered sending glass falling onto the floor that would have been filled with graduates just a few minutes later. A Boy Scout caravan of 5 vehicles was pummeled by 5 inch diameter hail. The hail knocked out every window in every vehicle.

Thunderstorms produced 3 to 5 inches of rain across parts of east central Illinois during the morning, leading to flash floods. In southern Champaign County, the town of Broadlands sustained major flood damage to 5 homes and minor damage to another 29, as well as to the local high school. In Vermilion County, parts of Danville had to be evacuated after flood gates were opened on Lake Vermilion.


A tornado outbreak produced 4 separate tornadoes that caused F2 and F3 damage in Knox, Lewis, Monroe, Marion and Ralls counties in Missouri and Adams and Brown counties in Illinois. The outbreak was responsible for only two injuries, but the property damage was estimated at $5.5 million dollars.

Several tornadoes touched down during the evening across central and western Illinois. A long track tornado caused extensive damage in eastern parts of South Pekin, destroying 50 homes and damaging another 80 others. This tornado moved northeast into Morton, destroying several apartment buildings and damaging many vehicles on I-155 and I-74. Over 100 homes in Morton were damaged.


A strong area of low pressure lifted northeast out of southwest Missouri and into central Missouri during the evening. Instability increased over southeast Kansas and the southwest corner of Missouri during the late afternoon as temperatures rose into the mid to upper 70s. The instability along with the strong cold front caused severe thunderstorms to develop. With strong wind shear in the area, the storms in this area quickly became tornadic along with producing large hail to the size of softballs. The tornadic storms were mainly concentrated in an area from Cherokee County, Kansas to Newton and Barry counties in Missouri.


Violent thunderstorms exploded across Kansas and Oklahoma, spawning a major outbreak of more than three dozen tornadoes, of which several caused fatalities. One tornado in Oklahoma hit the farm where scenes from the movie, “Twister” were filmed. The 24 tornadoes reported in Oklahoma was the fourth highest 24-hour total ever recorded in the state.


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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