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Weather History: May 27: Record temps, storms, hail, tornadoes, wind & flooding

Meteorological events that happened on May 27th:


150 lives were lost in the Richmond, VA area in the Great James River Flood.


A tremendous hail storm struck the eastern shore of Maryland during the evening damaging wheat and vegetable crops from Hillsborough in Caroline County to
Easton in Talbot County. One person was killed. Between the Severn and Patapsco Rivers, hail the size of eggs fell. Across the bay in Calvert County, a man was killed by hail.


The Mormon temple at Nauvoo, IL was destroyed by a tornado.


A massive tornado struck St. Louis, MO killing 306 people and causing $13 million dollars damage. The tornado path was short, but cut across a densely populated area. It touched down 6 miles west of Eads Bridge in St. Louis and widened to a mile as it crossed into East St. Louis. The tornado was the most destructive on record in the U.S. up until that time. It pierced a five-eighths inch thick iron sheet with a 2 x 4 inch pine plank. A brilliant display of lightning also accompanied the storm.


Salton, CA set the U.S. high temperature record for May with 124°.


Bakersfield, CA reached 104°; their hottest temperature for May which featured 12 days with triple digit temperatures, the most ever for that location.


67 people were killed and 345 were injured when an F4 tornado tracked 50 miles through Lake County in Tennessee and Fulton, Hickman, and Graves Counties in Kentucky.


A tornado struck the "Empire Builder" near Moorhead, MN. Five coaches weighing 70 tons each were lifted off the track. One was carried 80 feet. 57 of the 117 passengers were injured and one was blown through a window and killed.


The 1.5 inches of rainfall at Victoria, British Columbia Canada set the record for the wettest day in May observed.


A large F4 tornado cut a 135-mile path across central Alabama. Hardest hit was the town of Brent where five people perished and 90% of the town was demolished. Seven people died along the path of the twister. Cancelled checks from Greensboro, AL were found at Gadsden, AL, over 100 miles away. Another killer tornado struck Centerpoint on the northeast side of Birmingham, killing one person. One person was killed and 35 people were injured when an F3 tornado stormed across Jones County, Mississippi. Another 3 people were injured when an F2 tornado swept across Clarke County. A second F2 tornado also moved across Scott County that evening.

A strong spring storm system brought high winds to much of central Oklahoma. Sustained winds reached near 50 mph and gusts approached 80 mph in many locations. Extensive roof, tree, and power line damage resulted. One person was killed when the strong winds caused them to lose control of their vehicle.


Thunderstorms dumped 8.63 inches of rain on Tulsa, OK in only 6 hours. The resultant flash flooding killed 14 people and total damage was $89.6 million dollars.


Severe thunderstorms in West Texas produced baseball size hail at Crane, hail up to 3.5 inches in diameter at Post, and grapefruit size hail south of Midland.

Five days of flooding commenced in Oklahoma. Thunderstorms produced 7 to 9 inches of rain in central Oklahoma. Oklahoma City reported 4.33 inches of rain in six hours. Up to 6 inches of rain caused flooding in north central Texas.


Sunny and warm weather prevailed across much of the nation to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. Afternoon thunderstorms in southern Florida caused the mercury at Miami to dip to a record low reading of 69°.


Unseasonably hot weather prevailed over the southeastern U.S. Several cities reported record high temperatures for the date as readings soared into the 90s. Lakeland, FL reported a record high of 99°. Biloxi, MS reported a temperature of 90° with a relative humidity of 75%, creating a dewpoint temperature of 81°. This equated to a heat index temperature of 108°.


Thunderstorms produced severe weather from north central Texas to the Central Gulf Coast Region. Severe thunderstorms spawned 4 tornadoes, and there were 81 reports of large hail or damaging winds. Late afternoon thunderstorms over southeast Louisiana produced high winds which injured 27 people at an outdoor music concert in Baton Rouge, and high winds which gusted to 78 mph at the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway.


Thunderstorms erupted across southwest South Dakota during the evening and made their way into southeast sections of the state by early the next morning. In the southwest, already saturated ground and swollen creeks were drenched with 4 to 6 inches of rain. The rain produced flash flooding that damaged many roads and several bridges. Across the east central and southeast part of the state, storms produced gusty winds and large hail. From this date through the 28th, severe thunderstorms produced wind gusts of over 80 mph with numerous reports of over 60 mph. However, the real threat with these storms was the hail. Over 1,000 nesting birds were killed by falling hail at La Creek Refuge in Bennett County. Softball size hail was reported just north of Artesian in Sanborn County, and near Arlington in Kingsbury County. The hail completely destroyed a grain bin near Arlington. Many areas had golf ball size hail or larger. Many homes had windows knocked out and roofs damaged. The storms produced millions of dollars in damage.


San Antonio, TX had already received its normal annual rainfall by this date. 29.28 inches had fallen since January, surpassing the average of 29.13 inches.


A large storm system developed over the southern Rockies and moved northeast into the central United States. Severe thunderstorms developed over eastern Nebraska and moved into Iowa, where they became tornadic. A violent tornado moved from near Carroll to near Fonda. This tornado caused extensive damage wiping out many farmsteads. Carroll County was also clipped by another violent tornado which moved from near Coon Rapids to near Churdan. This tornado picked up a car and tossed it more than a quarter-mile into a field. One student’s homework papers were found some 55 miles away in the town of Gilmore City. Another tornado touched down near Creston and tracked north to Perry. The Iowa State Patrol closed off a four mile section of the interstate to allow the half-mile wide tornado to pass. Greene, Adair, Carroll, Guthrie, Sac and Union counties were declared disaster areas. Some damage estimates included $2 million dollars in Greene County, $1.2 million in Carrol and Union Counties, $828,000 in Adair County and $642,000 in Sac County.


Between 4 to 6 inches of rain fell in a 24 hour period over the lower Bad River Basin in South Dakota. In addition, 3 to 5 inches of rain fell over much of western South Dakota. This runoff caused the Bad River at Fort Pierre to crest at 26.25 feet or about 5 feet above flood stage late on this date before falling back below flood stage on the 30th. The entire length of the Bad River Road from U.S. Highway 83 near Fort Pierre to U.S. Highway 14 near Midland was closed to all except local traffic. 25 to 35 volunteers were filling sandbags all day around two homes along the river. Most of the damage was associated with flooding of agricultural land and some county roads. One resident along the river said the river was the highest it has been in 32 years.

Big Spring, TX was hit by a hailstorm with 5 inch diameter hail. Nearly 50 people were injured and damage was estimated at $30 million dollars.


An F5 tornado killed 27 people in Jarrell, TX. Although tornado warnings were issued 30 minutes in advance and local sirens were sounded, there were few places to go for safety. Most homes were on slabs, with no basements to shelter in. Houses were swept clean off their foundations, with little debris left behind. Total damage was $20 million dollars. The same thunderstorm complex produced a wind gust to 122 mph at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.


This day brought one of the most destructive and widespread windstorms to much of Oklahoma and north Texas in recent memory. Severe thunderstorms developed over southwest Kansas during the late afternoon, and rapidly merged into a large severe thunderstorm complex that moved rapidly southeastward at nearly 60 mph across the western half of Oklahoma and into north Texas during the evening and overnight hours. These storms produced widespread and significant wind damage along their path, leaving one person dead, 4 injured, 160,000 people without power and over $350 million dollars in damage in Oklahoma alone. Several non-tornadic wind reports in excess of 100 mph were recorded, and it took nearly a week to restore power to all of the affected areas.

The first of three hail storms in a six day period hit Dodge City, KS. Severe weather also occurred across Southwestern Kansas with several reports of 80 to 100 mph winds. 270 pivot irrigation sprinklers were damaged or destroyed across southwestern Kansas. In addition, hail storms moved through Dodge City on the 29th and June 1st. All three storms

produced at least golf ball sized hail resulting in lots of roof damage.


As much as 11 inches of rain fell during the afternoon and evening hours in eastern Broward County, Florida flooding streets with up to two feet of water. 10.22 inches of rain fell in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Seven inches of it fell in just two hours.

An earthen dam near Fayetteville, NC broke after days of heavy rains. The floodwaters inundated residential areas and threatened a nursing home.


A storm system dropped 0.08 inches of rain at Bakersfield, CA. This was the only measurable rain to fall in the entire March to May period and tied 1992 for the driest Meteorological spring on record.


Blistering heat blasted into northern Sindh and easternmost Balochistan, Pakistan. The community of Sibi soared to 123° and Jacobabad hit 122°.


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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