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Weather History: May 25: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, fog, hail, wind & snow

Meteorological events that happened on May 25th:


Vicksburg, MS had a series of frosts, "which were extraordinary" for this time of year.


A child was reportedly sucked up by a waterspout at Iowa City, IA and blown 500 yards, but miraculously survived the ordeal.


An estimated F2 tornado moved northeast through the town of Mitchell, SD. Two men were killed when they ran out the back door of a saloon in order to reach the cellar entrance. The Caulk Stone Saloon was destroyed along with two homes and several businesses. This tornado was one of the first significant tornadoes on record for the state of South Dakota.


A tornado causing F5 damage hit Oakwood, Ortonville, and Thomas, MI. 47 people were killed and 100 were injured. Trees were debarked "even to the twigs, as though done by the careful hand of an experienced artisan". Parts of houses were found up to 12 miles away.

San Diego, CA soared to 98°; a record high temperature for the month of May.


A tornado ripped through southeast Kansas, traveling at 65 mph. The average speed was a record for any tornado.


Fussen, Bavaria Germany recorded 4.96 inches of rain in just 8 minutes to set the world’s rainfall record for that length of time.


The Netherlands recorded their hottest May temperature on record when the high reached 96° at Sittard and Gemert.


Lansing, MI recorded their latest snow on record with a morning low of 32°.


A gravel dam at Dawson, Northwest Territories Canada collapsed during spring flooding causing tons of ice, over 10 feet deep, to clog the streets of downtown.


A major storm dumped 10 inches of snow at Denver, CO and close to 11 inches at the airport. The storm caused extensive damage to utility wires and trees which were in full leaf. Denver set a record low of 31°. This reading remains the lowest for so late in the season.


An F5 tornado cut through the heart of Blackwell, OK, killing 24 people, destroying 400 homes, and caused $8 million dollars damage. The same supercell thunderstorm produced another F5 tornado a short time later across the border in Kansas. Over half the population of Udall: 75 people were killed as the F5 tornado leveled most of the town. Damage was set at $2.2 million dollars.


A slow moving nor'easter battered New England with high winds, heavy rain, and record late season snow from this date into the 26th. Boston, MA reported a wind gust of 70 mph. Wind gusts of 70 to 90 mph occurred along the coast. Severe damage occurred from very high tides. Over 7 inches of rain fell at Nantucket, MA with 6.57 inches falling in 24 hours to set a new 24 hour rainfall record. 24.9 inches of snow fell at Mt. Washington, NH to set a new May snowfall record. 10 inches of snow fell near Keene, NH and 6 inches was recorded at Dublin, NH.


Dense fog caused a 90 minute delay with the major league baseball game between the Pirates and the Mets in New York's Shea Stadium.


On this date through the 26th, a severe weather outbreak occurred across the state of Florida. A large area of thunderstorms developed over the Mississippi Delta during the evening of the 24th, and moved rapidly southeastward toward Florida while growing in size and intensity. Severe weather was experienced in virtually every section of Florida at some time on this date and mostly over southern Florida again the next day. Widespread damage occurred with severe thunderstorm winds, hail, lightning, and heavy rain. Nine tornadoes were reported across Manatee, Dade, Alachua, Suwannee, Marion, Hendry, Charlotte, Lee, and Monroe counties and funnel clouds were sighted in practically every section of the state. Damage was widespread including airplanes flipped over, boats capsized, widespread power failures with lines down, trees blown over on houses and cars, broken windows, signs, and TV antennas blown down, and fires caused by lightning. Widespread crop damage occurred in the northern counties from hail and high

winds. Wind gusts over 50 mph were common in many sections with reports of winds 75 to 80 mph in several areas. One death was reported. A woman drowned when she was trapped under an overturned 16 foot boat off Pine Island along the lower southwest coast. The Coast Guard reported that 39 boats capsized along the lower southwest Florida coast alone during the weekend between Gasparilla and Marco Island. A 38-foot shrimp boat sank 15 miles offshore from Hudson, above Clearwater. In view of the widespread severe weather, it is miraculous that only one death and no serious injuries were reported in Florida.

A severe thunderstorm crossed the southern part of Knox County in northern Texas. The storm mainly affected the community of Munday, and to a lesser extent, Knox City. The storm produced hail up to softball size and an incredible 4 to 10 inches of rain.


Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX reported flooding from 2 inches of rain. The rain brought the month total to over 13 inches, which made it the wettest May on record.


Thunderstorms developed along the east side of the Black Hills in South Dakota. The storms produced quite a bit of lightning and over the course of two hours started 18 small fires in the Black Hills. Fortunately, most of the fires were small and easily contained. One unfortunate fire fighter was struck by lightning as he was helping to extinguish a blaze that burned some 50 acres of grassland and forest. Thankfully, the man lived, but he did suffer several broken bones, burns, and major damage to his ears. The strike was so powerful that a man standing over 150 feet away was dropped to his knees.


Thunderstorms spawned 15 tornadoes in West Texas. One thunderstorm spawned a powerful tornado near Gruver, TX, along with golf ball size hail and 75 mph winds. A man on a boat on Lake Bistineau in northwest Louisiana was struck and killed by lightning, while the other three in the boat were unharmed. The man reportedly stood up in the boat and asked to be struck.


Unseasonably cool weather prevailed in the Upper Midwest. Marquette, MI reported a record low of 26°.


Thunderstorms developing ahead of a strong cold front produced severe weather from Oklahoma to Ohio through the day and night. Thunderstorms spawned 9 tornadoes, and there were 155 reports of large hail and damaging winds. Hail 3.5 inches in diameter was reported at Dittmer, MO, and thunderstorm winds gusting to 90 mph caused $20 million dollars damage at Rockville, IN.

A late season snow storm dropped snow as low as 6,000 feet along the Front Range in northern Colorado. Most places in the foothills received between 2 to 5 inches of snow.


Evening thunderstorms spawned 4 tornadoes in Kansas and Missouri, along with three dozen reports of large hail or damaging winds. Thunderstorms produced hail two inches in diameter at Cole Camp, and wind gusts to 72 mph at Rosebud. Heavy thunderstorm rains produced flash flooding in central Missouri. Flood waters swept through Washington State Park southwest of St. Louis, MO and nearly 100 people had to be rescued from water as much as 20 feet deep. The floodwaters swept away a number of vehicles; some were carried as much as 4 miles away.


Hot weather prevailed across the Mid-Atlantic States. Philadelphia, PA recorded 96°, making it the sixth 90-degree reading in the month, which set a record. There would be a dozen 90-degree days in the month. Baltimore, MD hit 94° and Dulles Airport at Sterling, VA hit 92° to set record highs for the date.

80% or 160 of the homes in Wesley, IA, had either water or structural damage as a result of 6.5 inches rain which fell in 2.5 hours in the late evening. For all practical intents and purposes, the entire town was flooded.


Chicago, IL dropped to 32°, making this the latest springtime freeze on record besting the previous latest freeze on 5/14/1895.

Widespread freezing temperatures do heavy damage to the fruit crop across southwest Lower Michigan. Record lows for today included: Lansing: 29°, Grand Rapids: 31° and Muskegon: 32°.


Eleven people were injured by lightning while picnicking at C. B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, FL. The lightning struck a tree then jumped to a picnic table and shocked 11 of the 23 people nearby. One person was seriously injured and hospitalized after the lightning burned a gold chain into his neck. It was not raining at the time.


Daily high and low records both fell on consecutive days at Hilo, HI. This date saw a record low of 60° and a record high of 91°. The next day: a record of 60° was followed by a record high of 88°.


A rare, large and destructive EF5 tornado created a 43 mile long path across Butler and Black Hawk counties in Iowa. This tornado killed 8 people, injured dozens and caused several millions of dollars worth of damage. After the initial touchdown, the tornado quickly grew in size and intensity as it approached the town of Parkersburg. The tornado was nearly three quarters of a mile wide as it moved through the southern end of Parkersburg. A third of the town was affected by devastating damage with nearly 200 homes destroyed. This was the first EF5 tornado to strike Iowa since 6/13/1976 and only the third EF5 tornado to occur in the United States in the past 10 years.


Two tornadoes touched down in Quebec, Canada. An F0 hit Brownsburg-Chatham at 8:00 p.m. local time destroying two grain silos and uprooting dozens of trees. The second touched down 15 minutes later, about 25 miles east at St. Benoit De Mirabel. Several buildings were destroyed.


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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