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Weather History: May 2: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, wind, tropics & snow

Listed are Meteorological events that happened on May 2nd:


A tornado struck Port Royal Island, SC. It left a path 400 yards wide, tore up trees by the roots, and carried away houses and bridges.


A storm buried Havre, MT under 24.8 inches of snow, an all-time record for that location. The water equivalent of 2.48 inches was a record 24-hour total for the month of May.


Peggs, OK was completely destroyed by a tornado. 71 people were killed which was 30% of the town's population.


Six tornadoes, two west of the Blue Mountains killed 22 people in Virginia's worst tornado disaster. A school was destroyed at Rye Cove, VA. Administrators at the school saw the approaching funnel but did not want to start a panic, hoping that it would miss the school. Most of the 155 students were outside at recess when the twister slammed into the building, which sat on a knoll in the center of a valley. 12 students and a teacher were killed and 42 injured. Four schools were destroyed by the storms.

A tornado destroyed seven homes and damaged 15 others at Jackson Heights & Ortega, FL in Duval County. One man was killed.

6.1 inches of snow fell at Springfield, MO, their latest big snow on record. Springfield, IL reported just over a half inch of an inch of snow, their latest measurable snowfall. Goshen, IN reported 2 inches of snow. Parts of southwest Lower Michigan reported 2 to 3 inches of slushy accumulation


A trace of snow fell on this date at Raleigh, NC, their latest snow on record.


Chicago, IL received 2.2 inches of snow, setting a record for the most snow in May. Fort Wayne, IN recorded their coldest May high temperature on record with 38°.


A group of strong tornadoes moved across central Illinois. Tornadoes touched down in eastern Morgan County, then moved northeast. The tornadoes hit south of New Berlin, then moved across far northwestern Springfield, passing south of Elkhart, and lifting near Waynesville in De Witt County. In the town of Franklin, 105 homes were damaged or destroyed, with some debris carried four miles. One person died, and 12 others were injured.

Cheyenne, WY reported 14 inches of heavy wet snow.


Las Vegas, NV recorded a high temperature of 107°, setting a daily record. This was also the earliest that temperatures climbed above 105 degrees.


A major late season snowstorm struck the Arrowhead of Minnesota, leaving 18 inches of snow in the town of Virginia.

Several locations in the northern Rockies reported record low temperatures for the date including Billings, MT: 14°, Sheridan, WY: 14°, Great Falls, MT: 16°, Helena, MT: 17°, Cheyenne, WY: 17°, Glasgow, MT: 18°, and Miles City, MT: 18°.


Record chill hit parts of the southeast. Charlotte dropped to 32° and Greensboro & Raleigh fell to 29°; all records for May. Daily record lows included: Bristol/Johnson City, TN: 30°, Oak Ridge, TN: 31°, Louisville, KY: 32°, Asheville, NC: 33°, Knoxville, TN: 34°, Nashville, TN: 34°, Columbia, SC: 34°, Wilmington, NC: 35°, Augusta, GA: 35°, Charleston, SC: 36, Chattanooga, TN: 36°, Athens, GA: 38°, Greenville/Spartanburg, SC: 38°, Birmingham, AL: 38°, Columbus, GA: 39°, Savannah, GA: 39° and Macon, GA: 43°.


Heavy rains from a slow moving low pressure system caused considerable local flooding on most streams and forced evacuation of some residential areas across northern Florida. The communities of Maxville and Middleburg were hardest hit. Two people drowned at Maxville while fleeing rising waters. Hail fell in scattered areas and caused some crop damage. Early the next morning thunderstorm winds unroofed two houses and damaged other homes and commercial buildings at Roseland in Indian River County.


An extremely cold May night in Regina, Saskatchewan Canada saw their low drop to 8.1°.


There was an amazing range of temperatures occurred at Juniper Lake, OR. After a morning low of 0°, the afternoon high soared to 81°. This same dramatic range of temperatures would happen every day from the 1st to the 5th.


Severe thunderstorms produced tornadoes and very large hail over northern Oklahoma through the next day. One tornado, which formed near Cleo Springs, in Major County, damaged the southern and eastern parts of Tahoma. The storm killed one person and injured 25 others. A second tornado struck the Fairview area and flipped an airplane that was taxiing down a runway. The two occupants were not injured. Extremely large hail was also common. A huge chunk of hail, with an incredible circumference of 17 inches, fell in Woods County. Softball size hail fell in Mulhall, and baseball size hail fell in Enid.


The Weather Channel went on the air with 4.2 million cable subscribers. Created by network television weathercaster John Coleman, the all-weather network would boast 50 million subscribers by its tenth anniversary. The most popular part of the networks programming is specific local forecast and warning information, beamed to local cable systems by satellite and displayed on subscribers sets.


Severe thunderstorms produced 21 tornadoes across the northeastern states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Six tornadoes occurred in western New York killing three people and causing $3 million dollars in damage. A large part of the town of Booneville, NY was destroyed. Damage there totaled $15 million. Golf ball size hail accumulated to a depth of 6 inches at Pine City. 8 tornadoes affected southern Ontario in Canada, injuring 12 people.

One tornado even occurred at Ontario, Canada. Of the 21 tornadoes in the United States, 9 were rated F3 and 6 were rated F2. The tornadoes caused 5 deaths.


Thunderstorms in the Lower Mississippi Valley produced golf ball size hail in northern Louisiana, and wind gusts to 77 mph at Lake Providence, LA. Thunderstorms in Arkansas produced 4.20 inches of rain at Arkadelphia and 4.00 inches at Bismarck.


A powerful storm produced snow and high winds in the Central Rockies and the Central High Plains Region. I-70 east of Denver, CO was closed for the second straight day due to snow and blowing snow producing up to 2 foot drifts. Snowfall totals in Colorado ranged up to 12 inches at Strasburg, and winds in southeastern Colorado gusted to 87 mph at Lamar. Snow and high winds created blizzard conditions in eastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming.


Thunderstorms developing to the north of a warm front produced severe weather in Oklahoma and Texas. There were 93 reports of severe weather. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 80 mph at Beattie, and baseball size hail was reported at Ranger and Breckenridge.

Juneau, AK reported a record high temperature of 72° while Honolulu equaled their record low for the month of May with a reading of 60°.


Many cities in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina reported record high temperatures for the date as readings soared into the 90s. Daily records included: Tampa, FL: 97°, Gainesville, FL: 96°, Tallahassee, FL: 96°, Jacksonville, FL: 95°, Orlando, FL: 95°, Charleston, SC: 95°, Columbia, SC: 95°, Macon, GA: 94°, Atlanta, GA: 90°. Fort Stewart, GA was the hot spot in the nation with a reading of 100°.

Thunderstorms produced severe weather from northeastern Texas to western Arkansas during the evening and early nighttime hours. Thunderstorms spawned a tornado which injured 13 people at Paris, TX, and produced baseball size hail at Rio Vista, TX. Thunderstorm rains of 4 to 7 inches caused flash flooding in west central Arkansas, southern and eastern Oklahoma, and northern Texas.


A fast moving squall line produced a 98 mph wind gust at Scholes Field in Galveston, TX. Two airplanes and three hangars were destroyed. Over 64 apartment complexes and businesses suffered damage.


Thunderstorms unleashed locally heavy rain over the rugged terrain northeast of Bakersfield, CA causing rapid runoff that resulted in flash flooding on several streets in the Bakersfield area. Many vehicles became stalled in the high water and some residences were flooded with as much as 3 feet of water. A storm spotter reported 1.50 inches of rain in about an hour.


A chilly start to May for the Sunshine State as record lows fell across Central and South Florida. Record lows included: Vero Beach, FL: 51°, Orlando: 54° and Fort Myers: 55°. Record lows for the month of May included: Tampa: 52°, St. Petersburg-Clearwater: 56°.


A very slow moving Pacific storm system stalled near the four corners region which allowed heavy snow to develop over 6,500 feet in the foothills with a mix of rain and snow over lower elevations around Denver, CO. Snowfall totals included: 21 inches atop Crow Hill and at Idaho Springs, CO, 19 inches near Blackhawk and 18 inches at Coal Canyon Creek, Genesee and 11 miles southwest of Morrison, CO.

A minor earthquake centered on the Missouri-Arkansas border occurred. The quake measured 2.8 on the Richter scale.


An F2 tornado touched down near Rising Sun, MD at 5:38 pm EDT. It was
the first F2 tornado in Cecil County, Maryland since 5/15/1981. There were no injuries, but 21 structures suffered moderate to extensive damage, with the worst damage occurring at the Tailwind Estates Development.

Devastating flash flooding struck the Tug Fork River that separates Kentucky and West Virginia for the second time in 10 months. The river crested 20 feet above normal after heavy rains fell during a short time period over the mountainous region. At least 6 people died in the flooding. Several counties in West Virginia were declared disaster areas. In Fort Gay, WV, thousands were left without water after millions of gallons of coal waste spilled into the town's drinking supply, the third such occurrence in just 3 years.

Locarno, Magadino, Switzerland recorded 60 consecutive hours of rainfall ending at early on May 4th, totaling 19.4 inches.


This was the last day measurable rain fell at San Diego, CA for 181 consecutive days until 11/1/2003, making this their second longest dry streak on record.


Lightning struck a large tree between two houses in Greenville, MO causing the tree to literally explode. Branches from the tree went through the roof of a garage damaging a truck inside. Fencing between the homes and a swing set were also damaged. The damage amounted to about $25,000.


Late season snow blanketed the Texas Panhandle. Amarillo picked up 4.7 inches.


Tropical Cyclone Nargis, a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, hammered the Myanmar coast with peak winds near 132 mph. The cyclone wreaked havoc in Yangon and the Irrawaddy delta town of Bassein and many coastal villages were washed away. After three weeks, the official death toll reached 84,537, with 53,836 still missing.


Lightning struck and killed at least 16 people and left many others injured in parts of Bangladesh; six in the northeastern district of Habiganj.


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