Meteorological events that happened on October 18th:
A hurricane moved northeastward through the Florida Keys and the Miami area. Miami was in the eye for 30 minutes and recorded a low pressure of 28.55 inches. 124 people were killed in the Keys.
Northeasterly winds up to 70 mph from a hurricane moving northward up the Florida peninsula carried water out of Tampa Bay and the Hillsboro River. The water level lowered to 9 feet below mean low water. 40 ships were grounded in shallow water.
A hurricane made landfall near Pensacola, FL. The wind instrument tower at the Weather Bureau Office blew down registering a gust of 120 mph. About 200 trees throughout the city were blown down.
A huge early season lake effect snowstorm dumped 48 inches of snow just south of Buffalo, NY. 47 inches fell at Gouveneur, NY.
The outer fringes of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico spawned three weak tornadoes in Polk, Hardee, and Desoto Counties in Florida during the afternoon hours. The hurricane then made landfall near Sarasota, FL early on the 19th and moved across the state, exiting near Jacksonville. This storm was noteworthy for producing damaging inland winds. Dangerous winds extended fully 200 miles to the right or east of the center, about 100 miles to the left or west, thus affecting the entire peninsula of Florida. Winds of hurricane force were widespread with gusts to 100 mph at Tampa and Orlando, FL. Tides were high from Sarasota southward on the Gulf and from Melbourne northward on the Atlantic. Naples and Jacksonville Beach both reported 12 foot tides. Citrus and other agricultural damage were extensive. Orlando suffered the most property damage, estimated at over $1 million dollars. 18 people were killed, 14 by drowning, and 24 were seriously injured.
The mercury hits 78° at St. John, New Brunswick Canada setting the city's high temperature record for October.
Tropical Storm Judith rapidly crossed central Florida during the morning hours. Two tornadoes were reported in southeast Florida on the afternoon of the 17th in advance of Judith
Canadian high pressure brought chilly temperatures from the Plains to the Great Lakes. Record low temperatures included: Toledo, OH: 17°, Lansing, MI: 17°-Tied, Madison, WI: 18°-Tied, Grand Rapids, MI: 19°, Goodland, KS: 22°, Elkins, WV: 22°, Muskegon, MI: 23°-Tied, Fort Wayne, IN: 24°, Detroit, MI: 24°, Dayton, OH: 24°, Columbus, OH: 25°, Pittsburgh, PA: 26°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 26°, St. Louis, MO: 27°, Akron, OH: 27°, Paducah, KY: 27°, Providence, RI: 28°-Tied, Tupelo, MS: 31°, Oak Ridge, TN: 31°-Tied, Little Rock, AR: 33°, Wallops Island, VA: 36°, Shreveport, LA: 37°-Tied, Houston, TX: 41°-Tied and San Antonio, TX: 45°-Tied.
Heavy snow began falling late on the 17th at Salt Lake City, UT and by the time it ended on this date, 18.4 inches had piled up to set a new all-time 24 hour snowfall record. 40 inches of snow fell at Alta in the Wasatch Range.
During the evening thunderstorms produced an F3 tornado in Oregon County, Missouri. During its 26 mile long track one person was killed and another injured. Property damage estimates were near $5 million dollars.
Typhoon Dot slammed into the Philippines with wind gusts of over 130 mph.
Thunderstorms in the southeastern U.S. produced golf ball size hail at Atlanta, GA, along with wind gusts to 86 mph, and 4 inches of rain. Damage from the storm was estimated at more than $1 million dollars.
Several cities in the southwestern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date.
China Lake Naval Air Station, CA hit 100°, their latest reading of triple digit heat on record there. Other daily record highs included: Red Bluff, CA: 96°, Redding, CA: 95°, Sacramento, CA: 93°, Bishop, CA: 88°, Reno, NV: 86°, San Francisco, Airport, CA: 85° and Winnemucca, NV: 82°-Tied.
Unseasonably cold air began to invade the central and eastern U.S. Light snow fell across northern Maine, and snow was also reported in the Great Lakes Region, including the Chicago area. Bismarck, ND was the cold spot in the nation with a low of 9°. Huron, SD: 15°, Dodge City, KS: 24°, Wichita, KS: 31°, Wichita Falls, TX: 33° and Midland-Odessa, TX: 37°-Tied.
Several cities in Florida reported record high readings for the date, as temperatures warmed into the upper 80s to low 90s. Record highs included: Fort Myers, FL: 91°-Tied, Miami, FL: 90°-Tied, Tampa, FL: 90°-Tied, West Palm Beach, FL: 90°-Tied and Key West, FL: 89°.
An F3 tornado destroyed 3 homes in Montgomery and Somerset Counties in New Jersey, injuring 8 people, and an F2 tornado damaged homes along the northern edge of Greenville in New Castle County, Delaware. Also, F1 tornadoes touched down in Burlington and Atlantic Counties in New Jersey. Thunderstorm winds injured 4 people in Atlantic County, New Jersey.
3.9 inches of snow fell at Rochester, MN. This set a new record for the greatest amount of snowfall for so early in the season.
A tremendous four day heavy rain event came to an end over southeastern Texas. 10 to 20 inches of rain was widespread, with Liberty checking in with 30.50 inches. Massive flooding occurred, with 18 people losing their lives. Over 13,000 people were evacuated and 22,000 homes were damaged by the floods. Total damage was $900 million dollars.
Tropical Storm Warnings were lowered along with storm shutters in the Florida Keys as Hurricane Lili passed the state by heading for the Bahamas. Many places in South Florida were under water after several days of heavy rain.
Hurricane Irene passed just east of North Carolina's Outer Banks and accelerated northeastward, intensifying rapidly. The hurricane attained its maximum strength with winds of 105 mph and a minimum central pressure of 958 millibars or 28.29 inHg.
A large 588 decameter heat ridge dominated an area from the central Plains to California. Daily record highs included: Phoenix, AZ: 103°, Pueblo, CO: 88°, Clayton, NM: 86°, Sheridan, WY: 85°, Glasgow, MT: 84°, Denver, CO: 84°-Tied, Boise, ID: 82°, Bozeman, MT: 82°, Miles City, MT: 82°, Elko, NV: 82°-Tied, Helena, MT: 82°-Tied, Colorado Springs, CO: 81°, Ely, NV: 80°, Cheyenne, WY: 80°-Tied, Burns OR: 79°-Tied, Casper, WY: 78°, Cut Bank, MT: 77°, Butte, MT: 76°, Alamosa, CO: 75° and Wisdom, MT: 74°.
Early morning Spring thunderstorms flashed 4,000 lightning strikes across the sky in the southeastern portion of New South Wales in Australia.
A destructive fall tornado hit Nappanee, IN causing extensive damage along its 20 mile path across northeast Marshall, northwest Kosciusko and southwest Elkhart Counties. High end EF3 intensity winds near 165 mph were estimated based on the most severe damage over southeast Nappanee. Over 100 structures sustained significant damage or were destroyed in town alone. Despite the widespread damage and time of day, only minor injuries were reported.
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