Meteorological events that happened on October 17th:
A Hurricane moved out of the Caribbean and across the lower Florida Keys to Miami leaving 164 people dead. The storm weakened in the Atlantic and turned back to Florida, crossing the coast near Daytona Beach as tropical storm.
A hurricane made an unusual loop off the southwest coast of Florida. The storm's eye passed just west of Key West and then made landfall near Cape Romano. At Sand Key, FL, the barometer dropped to 962 millibars or 28.40 inHg with winds estimated at 125 mph. Fort Myers, FL measured winds in excess of 100 mph.
A hurricane passed near Key West and made landfall near Ft. Myers. Winds to 125 mph were reported on Sand Key. 30 deaths were reported.
This was the first of 176 days with a minimum temperature at or below 32° at Langdon, ND. This stands as the record for the United States.
Small, but powerful Hurricane King made landfall near Miami FL then moved up the central peninsula and dissipated on the morning of the 19th. The path of principal destruction was only 7 to 10 miles wide through the greater Miami area and northward to West Fort Lauderdale. Winds were sustained at 122 mph with gusts to 150 mph at Miami and gusts to 138 mph at Fort Lauderdale. Reconnaissance during the day indicated that the hurricane had winds in excess of 100 mph, but because it was so small, it weaved through the observation network of the Keys and Florida Straits, and forecasters believed its intensity had either dropped or been overestimated. It turned out they were wrong. The tornado-like hurricane killed four people and caused $28 million dollars in damage.
Upper level high pressure combined with an offshore flow brought record heat to parts of the West. Some record high temperatures for the date included: Palm Springs, CA: 105°, Yuma, AZ: 104°, Riverside, CA: 103°, Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 102°, Long Beach, CA: 101°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 100°, San Diego, CA: 98°, San Diego, CA: 98°, Bakersfield, CA: 96°-Tied, Fresno, CA: 93°-Tied, Palomar Mountain, CA: 89°, Idyllwild, CA: 87°, Salt Lake City, UT: 83°, Elko, NV: 83°, Pocatello, ID: 81°, Ely and NV: 80°.
Hail and wind destroyed 300 acres of sweet corn and badly damaged 1500 acres of sugar cane at Pahokee, FL in Palm Beach County. Winds gusted to 60 mph and hail of all sizes covered the ground.
On this date through the 19th, Xinliao, Taiwan received 108.31 inches of rain courtesy of a tropical storm.
Great balls of fire were observed just ahead of a tornado moving down the main street of Wray, CO. However, little other electrical activity accompanied the storm. Nine people were injured in the tornado, all at a trailer court at the edge of town.
Many birds were victims of a severe thunderstorm that crossed the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma during the early morning hours. Hail up to one inch in diameter killed more than 3,500 birds and injured 1,500 to 2,000 others.
Prolonged very heavy rain, from October 10th through October 17th, led to serious flooding across parts of south-central Oklahoma. In northwest Marshall County, 26.2 inches of rain fell during those eight days, with 16 inches of that total falling in just 16 hours. Two men drowned, and many people were injured and evacuated, due to the flooding. Estimates of the flood-related losses amounted to between $23 million and $60 million dollars. Then-President Ronald Reagan declared six Oklahoma counties as disaster areas.
The remnants of Hurricane Tico caused widespread flooding across central and southwest Oklahoma through the 21st. Rainfall amounts up to 15 inches caused flooding that resulted in about $94 million dollars in damages. President Ronald Reagan designated 16 counties as disaster areas.
A snowstorm struck northern Utah producing a record 18 inches in 24 hours at Salt Lake City, and 40 inches at the nearby Alta Ski Resort. The town of Magna, located 10 miles west of Salt Lake City, did not receive any snow at all. The storm was responsible for a 50 vehicle pile-up along Interstate 15 near Farmington, UT.
At Yosemite National Park in California, the storm was described as the worst in 20 years. Two climbers near the top of El Capitan were killed and five others were stranded in the park. Up to 25 inches of snow fell in just 12 hours.
It was a great day for an Oktoberfest, or to enjoy the colors of autumn, as much of the nation enjoyed sunny and mild weather. Columbia, SC dipped to 34°, marking their 3rd morning in a row of record cold. Bakersfield, CA reached 80° for the 143rd day in a row breaking a record set back in 1940.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather in the Mid-Mississippi Valley and the Lower Ohio Valley. Severe thunderstorms spawned three tornadoes in Indiana, including one that injured four people. Four inches of rain fell during a short time at Fort Wayne, IN, causing extensive flooding. Severe thunderstorms produced 63 mph winds at the Fort Wayne International Airport and 3.49 inches of rain to South Bend's Michiana Regional Airport. Strong thunderstorm winds at Connerville, IN caused $3 million dollars damage. Thunderstorms in Illinois produced hail 2 inches in diameter at Colfax.
Showers and thunderstorms representing the remnants of Hurricane Jerry deluged southeast Kentucky with 4 to 6 inches of rain in 18 to 24 hours, resulting in widespread flash flooding. Flooding resulted in more than $5 million dollars damage.
Temperatures again warmed into the 80s and 90s in the southeastern U.S with record high temperatures set in Florida including: Lakeland, FL: 95°, Orlando, FL: 93°, Fort Myers, FL: 92° and Jacksonville, FL: 89°.
Sleet fell in the Blue Ridge Mountains as a major coastal storm caused extensive coastal flooding from North Carolina to Massachusetts.
Record heat continued across parts of the west. Record highs for the date included: Borrego Springs, CA: 104°, Phoenix, AZ: 100°, Victorville, CA: 95°, Las Vegas, NV: 94°, Roswell, NM: 93°, Pueblo, CO: 93°, Albuquerque, NM: 85°, Colorado Springs, CO: 83°, Big Bear Lake, CA: 77° and Alamosa, CO: 75°.
Heavy rain and strong winds caused beach erosion from Hatteras to Cape Cod. Two to four inches of rain and winds in excess of 60 mph were reported along the coast of New Jersey.
A huge storm went through “bombogenesis” battered Vancouver Island with winds as high as 100 mph and produced waves as high as 98 feet. The storm caused massive power outages, knocked down trees, set 50 pleasure boats adrift and ripped apart docks.
Super Typhoons Ivan and Joan both peaked on this day with sustained of 185 mph in the western Pacific. They were both super typhoons for more than 60 hours at this point, breaking the previous record of 48 hours set by Super Typhoon Tip in October 1979. Joan went on to extend this record to nearly five days.
Torrential rains over south and southeast Texas on this date through the 18th led to widespread and deadly flooding. A total of 31 people died during this event, and property damage estimates approached $750 million dollars. At least 17 of the drowning victims were in vehicles which were either driven into water or were swept away by rapidly rising water. Up to 22 inches of rain fell which first resulted in deadly flash flooding from San Antonio to Austin followed by record breaking river floods along several south Texas tributaries the following week. The peak flood stages that occurred following the event at 15 locations were the highest ever. The rainfall was not associated with a tropical system, but had rainfall amounts reminiscent of some of the worst hurricanes and tropical storms. 11.26 inches of rain fell in San Antonio, TX to establish their all-time record for most rainfall in a single day. The amount would contribute to the monthly total of 18.04 inches, which made it the wettest month ever. Randolph AFB in the San Antonio area recorded a 3-day rainfall total of 19.59 inches.
Dense fog in the San Joaquin Valley of California on the mornings of this date through the 21st reduced visibilities to well less than 150 feet. California Highway Patrol cars had to pace cars on major thoroughfares to prevent accidents.
A waterspout came onshore becoming a tornado at Oceanside, CA. Damage was done to structures, trees and windows. This was the first day with measurable rain at San Diego, CA since 4/17. This is a streak of 182 consecutive days, their longest on record. Incredibly, this was the start of their wettest October on record.
On this date through the 18th, heavy rains in Las Vegas, NV accumulated to 1.42 inches breaking the monthly record previously set in 1992. Roads were flooded and power was knocked out.
According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK, 87 tornadoes were reported in the United States from this date through the 19th, a new record outbreak for the month. With the outbreak, the monthly total of confirmed tornado reached 105, the second highest for October, behind the 117 in October 2001. Records began in 1950. Over 300 reports of severe weather were filed on the 18th across the lower and mid-Mississippi Valleys.
A strong storm brought heavy rain and flooding to portions of southern Bangladesh. The Chittagong Port City reported about 9 inches of rain. The heavy rains triggered fatal mudslides.
Check out my colleague Weather Examiners:
Baltimore, MD area weather with Tony Pann at http://www.examiner.com/x-11224-Baltimore-Weather-Examiner
Orlando, FL area weather with Dr. Steve Oliver at http://www.examiner.com/x-23601-Orlando-Weather-Examiner
Houston, TX area weather & the weekly Weather America Newsletter with Larry Cosgrove at http://www.examiner.com/x-3775-Houston-Weather-Examiner
NOAA Headlines Examiner with Dr. Steve Oliver and IPR at http://www.examiner.com/x-40324-NOAA-Headlines-Examiner