Meteorological events that happened on October 12th:
Living in the mid-latitudes as we do allows us to experience a wide range of weather phenomena and temperature extremes. The range of recorded temperature extremes in the United States is 214 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest temperature on record in the U.S. is 134° and the coldest is -80°. The recorded temperature range for the entire planet is an amazing 261 degrees. With the hottest temperature on record being 134° and the coldest is -127°.
18 inches of snow fell at Bridgewater, NY and a foot at Madison, NY as the Empire State experienced its 3rd heavy snow of the season.
The Signal Corps of the United States Army opened the first official weather observing station in St. Louis, MO.
A hurricane that formed in the Gulf of Mexico moved across northern Florida, then northeast to south of Cape Hatteras, NC and out to sea. Atlantic City, NJ measured a gust to 47 mph.
Charlotte, NC recorded its' earliest freezing temperature with a morning low of 31°.
Forest fires ravaged parts of Minnesota from the Duluth area northeastward, claiming the lives of 600 people. Smoke with a smell of burnt wood spread to Albany, NY and Washington, D.C. within 24 hours. Smoke was noted at Charleston, SC on the 14th, and by the 15th was reported in northeastern Texas.
The three biggest flood events of this century in the D.C. area were the "Great Spring Flood" on March 20, 1936 and two tropical related rain events, October 1942 and Agnes in June of 1972. The October 1942 storm is the flood of record for Washington, DC, Front Royal and Fredericksburg, VA. Still it was a very tough choice because the March 1936 flood is the flood of record at many points along the Potomac River including Cumberland, Hancock, Williamsport, Shepardstown, Harpers Ferry, Point of Rocks and Little Falls. The 1942 flood reached a similar height. It is remarkable that these 2 record floods occurred just six years apart. A tropical storm moved in across eastern North Carolina into central Virginia. Torrential rains fell from through the 16th in Northern Virginia and Maryland. It caused the worst river flood in the history of the Virginia and DC. 10 to 12 inches of rain fell from Fredericksburg to Warrenton. 17 inches was recorded in Front Royal. In Shenandoah National Park, along Skyline Drive, rainfall totals reached 18 to 19 inches. To the south, Nelson County received 16 inches. 12 to 16 inches fell from near Paw Paw, WV south along the Shenandoah Mountains to west of Harrisonburg. About 6 to 8 inches fell over much of central and western Maryland. Highways and bridges were washed away across the region. Over 1,300 people were left homeless in Albemarle, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Warren Counties in Virginia. About 750 people were displaced from homes in Maryland. Hundreds of homes were flooded in Georgetown. Miraculously, only one person died. Transportation was interrupted for three days. Severe damage occurred to crops: peanuts, cotton, sweet potatoes, soybeans, shocked corn and late hay. The heavy rains caused a million bushels of apples to drop before they were picked. The hardest hit was the mid portion of the Rappahannock River and the Shenandoah River. On the Rappahannock, damages came to $2.5 million 1942 dollars and most of that was in Fredericksburg, where the river rose to 41 feet, 27 feet above flood stage. On the Shenandoah River, a stage of almost 50 feet was reached at Riverton on the morning of the 16th. Flood stage was 22 feet and it broke the record set by the March 1936 flood by 12 feet. Flood losses on the Potomac River were $4.5 million dollars. Water was 3.5 feet deep in downtown Cumberland and 8 feet deep on the main business street in Hancock. At Williamsport, the river expanded 4 miles from its normal banks. Two homes were swept away at Harpers Ferry where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet. At Point of Rocks, more houses were lifted off their foundations. The Potomac at Washington reached 17.6 feet, flood stage is 7 feet. Areas of Alexandria and Arlington were seriously flooded. The Anacostia River flooded as well as 6 feet of water was across the boulevard in Bladensburg.
A ridge of high pressure across the Great Basin provided an offshore flow to the west bringing record heat. Record high temperatures for the date included: Yuma, AZ: 109°, Riverside, CA: 108°, Escondido, CA: 105°, Santa Ana, CA: 104°, Phoenix, AZ: 103°, Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 99°, Las Vegas, NV: 97°, Fresno, CA: 95°, Long Beach, CA: 94°, Bishop, CA: 93°, Idyllwild, CA: 93°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 91°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 90°, Winslow, AZ: 87° and Flagstaff, AZ: 83°.
Charlotte, NC recorded their latest 90° reading ever.
Hurricane Hazel pounded the island of Haiti with winds of 125 mph. Many villages were reported totally destroyed and 1,000 people died.
The "Columbus Day Big Blow" courtesy of the remnants of Typhoon Freda occurred in the Pacific Northwest as a 960 millibar low (28.35 inHg) moved north-northeast just offshore. Winds gusting to 140 mph lashed the shoreline for five hours. Winds reached 120 mph even inland as frontal squalls funneled through the area west of the Cascade Range. Approximately 11 billion feet of timber were blown down, more than in any other storm ever and nearly as much as the combined annual log production of Oregon and Washington at the time. Extensive structural damage was widespread. The storm claimed 48 lives, and damage exceeded $225 million dollars. In British Columbia, Canada, sustained winds at Victoria reached 44 mph with gusts to 87 mph. Seven people died and damage totaled $10 million dollars.
A strong upper level low carved a deep trough from the Rockies to the west coast bringing unsettled weather and record cold. The high temperature at Billings, MT was only 29°. The temperature did not reach 30° from the 11th to the 13th, the record earliest occurrence of 3 consecutive days with highs less than 30°. Other daily record lows included: Alamosa, CO: 3°, Cheyenne, WY: 7°, Casper, WY: 9°, Flagstaff, AZ: 9°, Virginia City, MT: 10°, Denver, CO: 10°, Colorado Springs, MT: 12°, Lander, WY: 12°, Winnemucca, NV: 16°, Ely, NV: 17°, Lewistown, MT: 18°, Livingston, MT: 18°, Clayton, NM: 19°, Reno, NV: 19°, Scottsbluff, NE: 19°-Tied, Sheridan, WY: 20°, Pocatello, ID: 20°, Great Falls, MT: 21°, Billings, MT: 22°, Missoula, MT: 22°, Winslow, AZ: 25°, Bishop, CA: 27°, Lubbock, TX: 28°, Olympia, WA: 29°, Grand Junction, CO: 30°-Tied, Lubbock, TX: 33°-Tied, Fresno, CA: 39°, Stockton, CA: 40°, Sacramento, CA: 42° and San Francisco, (Airport), CA: 46°.
Hurricane and typhoon reconnaissance flights have been remarkably accident free, but an Air Force WC-130 flying over the South China Sea on this date was never heard from again.
A car in Indianapolis, IN was struck by lightning, blowing out the tires and destroying all of the electrical systems. Luckily, the driver was uninjured.
A central pressure of 870 millibars or 25.69 inHg was measured in the eye of Typhoon Tip in the western north Pacific; the lowest surface pressure ever recorded in the world. Sustained winds around the eye at the time were estimated at 190 mph. Tip remains the largest tropical cyclone on Earth with a diameter of 1,380 miles. Amazingly, tropical storm force winds extended outward 675 miles away from the center. At its peak Tip was nearly as large as half of the continental U.S.
Hurricane Norma crossed from the Pacific over Mexico and into Southwestern Texas. 25 inches of rain fell in the area around Gainesville and Bridgeport, TX. The elephant from the Gainesville Zoo reportedly survived the massive flooding by holding its trunk above the water.
Angoon, AK received 15.20 inches of precipitation, to set a 24-hour maximum precipitation record for the 49th State.
Hurricane Floyd moved east-northeast along the Florida Keys and passed south of Miami during the evening as a disorganized and weakening storm. Wind gusts up to 59 mph were recorded at Duck Key, and most of the Keys reported 45 to 55 mph winds. Over south Florida, wind of 35 to 40 mph with gusts up to 55 mph reported. Rainfall of 2 to 4 inches was reported across southern Florida, with a band of 5 to 9 inches from Naples to Lake Okeechobee to Fort Pierce. Trees and power lines were downed in several areas of south Florida and the Keys.
Some locations in the Ohio Valley and the Middle Mississippi Valley reported record low temperatures for the date courtesy of Canadian high pressure. Locations included: Rockford, IL: 24°, Springfield, IL: 24°, Dubuque, IA: 25°, Peoria, IL: 25°, Moline, IL: 26°, Paducah, KY: 27°, Springfield, MO: 27°-Tied, Indianapolis, IN: 27°-Tied, Grand Rapids, MI: 27°-Tied, Chicago, IL: 28°, Evansville, IN: 30°, St. Louis, MO: 31°, Cincinnati, OH: 32°-Tied and Oklahoma City, OK: 34°-Tied.
A trough across the east combined with high pressure over southern Canada combined to bring record cold to parts of the Upper Midwest and Ohio Valley. Locations reporting record low temperatures for the date included: International Falls, MN: 17°, Duluth, MN: 18°-Tied, Marquette, MI: 19°, St. La Crosse, WI: 21°, Madison, WI: 21°, Cloud, MN: 21°-Tied, Waterloo, IA: 22°, Rochester, MN: 23°, Dubuque, IA: 23°, Green Bay, WI: 24°, Rockford, IL: 24°-Tied, Indianapolis, IN: 26°, Cincinnati, OH: 26°, Moline, IL: 26°-Tied, Chicago, IL: 28°-Tied, Evansville, IN: 29°, Lexington, KY: 29°-Tied, Oak Ridge, TN: 32° and Jackson, KY: 33°. The town of Embarrass, MN reported a morning low of 8°.
Snow showers in the northeastern U.S. produced 5 inches at Corry, PA.
Temperatures again warmed into the 80s in the Central Plains and the Mid-Mississippi Valley, with 90s in the south central U.S. Fort Smith, AR set a record high with 92°. Out west, Borrego Springs, CA also set a record high with 109°.
Strong winds along a cold front crossing the Great Lakes Region and the Ohio Valley gusted to 61 mph at Johnstown, PA.
Western north Texas was pelted with large hail during the late afternoon and evening. Hail up to the size of softballs fell from the storms, which also produced damaging winds and one tornado. In the Vernon area, hail accumulated up to six inches deep and stripped trees bare. Hail destroyed the roof of a house and severely damaged several vehicles just east of Seymour. The public reported 70 mph winds in Dryden, TX and a brief touchdown of a rope-like tornado in an open field two miles east of Dryden.
On this date through the 14th, on its way to setting a local record for the month, Central Park in New York City received 8.5 inches of rain over the 3-day period. 16.73 inches fell during October to eclipse a 102-year record.
The Scotland–England border region of Keswick experienced heavy rain. Keswick received 3.2 inches in a 24-hour period. The rain caused flooding which temporarily closed the West Coast Main Line between Carlisle in northwest England and Glasgow, Scotland.
With 0.3 inches of snow falling at O'Hare International Airport, Chicago set a new record for the earliest measurable snowfall since record-keeping began in 1871. The previous earliest date was 10/18/1972 & 1989.
An unusually-early and intense lake-effect snow storm, dubbed Aphid by the local Weather Service office, hit the Buffalo region in New York with up to 2 feet of snow. The storm was punctuated by several thundersnow bursts. The storm knocked out power to 155,000 residents. The 8.3 inches measured at the official Buffalo weather station set a record for the snowiest October day in the station's 137-year history. The record did not last long, however, as the measurement the next morning totaled 10.9 inches. The two day event of 22.6 inches broke the October record for a single snowfall event.
A record early season snowstorm brings up to eight inches of snow to southwest Lower Michigan. Tree damage and power outages were extensive around Hastings in Barry County as the wet, heavy snow clings to the tree branches, which still had leaves on them.
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