Meteorological events that happened on October 24th:
A 4-day rain swelled the Merrimack River in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to the greatest height on record causing extensive damage to bridges and mills.
A hurricane produced widespread damage across North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Cape May, New Jersey had an 84 mph wind gust and the barometer at Annapolis, MD dropped to 28.82 inHg. At Philadelphia, PA, the hurricane was the worst on record. 72 people lost their lives.
A High Fog settled over London, England causing "midnight at mid-day" as a temperature inversion formed over the city, trapping fog and smoke beneath it. The sun turned yellow, red and sometimes disappeared altogether.
A snow squall in Buffalo, NY tied up traffic in 6 inches of slushy accumulation.
A major forest fire, known as the Bar Harbor Holocaust consumed homes and a medical research institute, claiming 17 lives in Maine. Damage totaled $30 million.
Unseasonably cold air gripped the northeastern U.S. Lows of 6° at Albany, NY, 10° at Concord, NH, 15° at Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA, 16° at Albany, NY and 20° at Frederick, MD established October records. Other daily record lows included: Elkins, WV: 13°, Toledo, OH: 18°, Charleston, WV: 20°, Williamsport, PA: 20°, Youngstown, OH: 20°, Worcester, MA: 20°, Caribou, ME: 20°, Lynchburg, VA: 21°, Avoca, PA: 21°, Pittsburgh, PA: 21°, Hartford, CT: 21°, Providence, RI: 21°, Burlington, VT: 21°, Burlington, VT: 21°, Detroit, MI: 22°, Akron, OH: 22°, Cleveland, OH: 22°, Allentown, PA: 22°, Binghamton, NY: 22°, Milton, MA: 22°, Portland, ME: 22°, Atlantic City, NJ: 23°, Harrisburg, PA: 23°, Roanoke, VA: 24°, Wilmington, DE: 24°, Grand Rapids, MI: 24°, Baltimore, MD: 25°, Philadelphia, PA: 25°, Columbus, OH: 25°-Tied, Bridgeport, CT: 26°, Erie, PA: 27°, Richmond, VA: 27°, Mansfield, OH: 27°-Tied, Newark, NJ: 28°, Washington, (National Airport), D.C.: 29°, Bristol, TN: 29°-Tied, Wallops Island, VA: 30°, New York (LaGuardia), NY: 30°, Boston, MA: 30°, New York (Central Park), NY: 31°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 32° and Norfolk, VA: 36°.
33 inches of snow fell during a 2-day period at the Mesa Lake, CA reservoir.
Strong winds circulating around a deep area of low pressure produced snow squalls in the Great Lakes Region, with 6 inches reported at Ironwood, MI. Wind gusts to 80 mph were reported at State College, PA.
A storm in the western U.S. produced up to 3 feet of snow in the mountains around Lake Tahoe, CA with 21 inches reported at Donner Summit.
Thunderstorms in northern California produced 3.36 inches of rain at Redding to establish a 24 hour record for October, and brought their rainfall total for the month to a record 5.11 inches.
"Indian Summer" weather prevailed across the rest of the nation. A few cities in the north central U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date as readings soared into the 70s and 80s. Record highs included: Yankton, SD: 86°, Huron, SD: 84°, Aberdeen, SD: 83°, Sioux City, IA: 82°-Tied, Sioux Falls, SD: 81°, Fargo, ND: 78°, Grand Forks, ND: 78°, Green Bay, WI: 76° and International Falls, MN: 74°.
Thunderstorms associated with a low pressure system spawned 3 tornadoes in the Flagstaff, AZ area. One tornado raced 5 miles through Sunset Crater National Monument, downing 260 acres of ponderosa pine. The National Weather Service Office at Pullman Airport had golfball size hail and was drenched with 1.91 inches of rain.
A tremendous early season snowstorm, one of the worst in a decade pounded Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska from the 24th to the 26th with blizzard conditions, high winds and very heavy snowfalls. 21.9 inches of snow at Denver, CO was the second-highest storm total in the city's history. 2 to 4 foot snowfall totals were common, particularly in the foothills west of Denver. Some Colorado totals included: Palmer Lake: 52 inches, Coal Creek Canyon: 51 inches, Silver Spruce Ranch near Ward: 48 inches, Sedalia: 37 inches, Aspen Springs: 35 inches, Conifer: 35 inches, Eldorado Springs: 31 inches, southeast Aurora: 31 inches, Englewood: 31 inches, Estes Park: 28 inches, 20 to 30 inches fell around Boulder, Colorado Springs: 19.9 inches and 14 inches at Denver International Airport. Further north, the blizzard raged across much of southeast Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle. High winds and between 5 to 10 inches of snow with amounts as high as 20 inches closed many roads including all roads in and out of Cheyenne, WY. Heavy snow also fell along the Beartooth and Bog Horn Foothills in Montana. Local amounts included: Burgess Junction, MT: 24 inches, Story, MT: 22 inches, Mystic Lake, MT: 18 inches, Nye, MT: 12 inches and Red Lodge, MT: 11 inches.
The 17.4 inches at Hastings, KS was more than it had ever snowed in any month of October. Sustained winds of 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph whipped the snow into drifts 4 to 15 feet high and produced wind chill readings from -25° to -40°. 10 people lost their lives as a result of the storm. Hundreds of miles of roads and interstates were closed and 4,000 travelers were stranded at Denver International Airport when the venue was forced to shut down. The storm damaged or destroyed 85% of the trees in Omaha, NE. Scientists discovered a massive "blowdown" of 20,000 acres of spruce trees in north-central Colorado. Some 31-square miles of old-growth forests high in the Rockies were destroyed by unusual "mountain wave" clouds that blew 120-mph winds along the western side of the Continental Divide.
Mitch became a hurricane in the Caribbean south of Jamaica and began to intensify rapidly. During a 24-hour period beginning at 11pm on the 23rd, Mitch went from a 60 mph tropical storm and a pressure of 997 millibars of 29.44 inHg to a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and a minimum central pressure of 965 millibars.
A long lived supercell moved across northern Illinois during the early morning hours dropping hail up to the size of half dollars across Winnebago, Boone and McHenry Counties. Later in the morning, isolated severe storms developed ahead of a strong cold front. The storms developed in to a squall line producing widespread wind damage across northeast and eastern Illinois. Trees and power lines were blown down across southern Cook County.
This area's second largest tornado outbreak (tied with the Palm Sunday outbreak of 4/11/1965) took place as ten tornadoes spun across parts of Indiana and Ohio. Two of the tornadoes produced F3 damage in St. Joseph County, Indiana and Putnam County, Ohio.
A squall line moves across southern Lower Michigan producing widespread wind damage and several tornadoes. The town of Schoolcraft in Kalamazoo County is hit by winds estimated up to 100 mph, causing extensive tree damage and some structural damage. The town of Marshall in Calhoun County also sustains some damage to homes as winds gust between 60 and 80 mph.
It had been over 100 years since a tornado had hit in the Corpus Christi, TX area. A series of three tornadoes touched down in the Texas coastal city on this date. One of them caused a wall to collapse on the West Campus of Del Mar College. A teacher was killed and 6 other people were injured. Heavy rains associated with the thunderstorm caused flooding. A tornado warning was issued 10 minutes before the first twister hit.
Widespread snow fell across most of the Netherlands. Although the snow was short-lived several inches fell in some parts. The far west of the country tended to avoid the wintry weather, but sleet did affect Rotterdam for a time.
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