Meteorological events that happened on October 26th:
New York City, NY had their earliest substantial snow on record as 4 inches fell.
New York City, NY ends it longest dry streak at 40 days.
The temperature plunged to -10° at Bismarck, ND, the earliest subzero reading on record for the city and a record low for the month of October. Other record lows included: Grand Forks, ND: -9°, Fargo, ND: -4°, Aberdeen, SD: -3°, Williston, ND: -2°, Huron, SD: 2°, International Falls, MN: 10° and Grand Island, NE: 19°-Tied.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada experienced its coldest October low as the temperature dipped to -14°.
Down south, Nashville, TN soared to a record high of 86°.
15 inches of snow fell at Barrow, AK, which was a record for the date. The melted equivalent of that snow equaled 1 inch, which was the most melted equivalent precipitation ever recorded on any date in Barrow up until that time. This record was broken on 7/21/1987.
There have been thousands of weather reconnaissance and research flights into hurricanes in the Atlantic and Pacific since the mid-1940s. There have been several close calls, but only four flights have been lost. A B-29 Super-fortress flight into Super Typhoon Wilma 350 miles east of Leyte in the Philippines disappeared on this date. No trace was ever found of the plane or crew. At last report, the flight was in the Super-typhoon's strongest winds, which were around 160 mph.
An early season snowstorm hit New England with the most snow over interior sections. Greenville, ME recorded 13.9 inches Worcester, MA recorded 4.7 inches and Portland, ME had 3.6 inches. All of these amounts were new records for the greatest amount of snow for so early in the season.
Canadian high pressure ushered record cold from the northern Plains to the Southeast. Locations recording their coldest October temperatures included: Owen, WI: 8°, Sparta, WI: 10°, Platteville, WI: 12°, Caledonia, MN: 13° and Rockford, IL: 18°.
Other daily record lows included: Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN: 16°, Dubuque, IA: 16°, Madison WI: 16°, La Crosse, WI: 18°, Beckley, WV: 18°-Tied, Peoria, IL: 19°, Cincinnati, OH: 19°, Moline, IL: 19°-Tied, Indianapolis, IN: 20°, Dayton, OH: 21°, Mansfield, OH: 21°, Huntington, WV: 21°, Springfield, IL: 22°, Evansville, IN: 23°, Columbus, OH: 23°, Lexington, KY: 23°, Flint, MI: 24°, Grand Rapids, MI: 24°, Akron, OH: 24°, Charleston, WV: 24°, Louisville, KY: 25°, Oak Ridge, TN: 25°, Lynchburg, VA: 25°, Pittsburgh, PA: 25°, Youngstown, OH: 25°-Tied, Knoxville, TN: 27°, Raleigh, NC: 27°, Bristol, TN: 27-Tied°, Columbia, SC: 29°, Charlotte, NC: 29°, Nashville, TN: 30°, Birmingham, AL: 30°, Atlanta, GA: 30°, Athens, GA: 31°, Augusta, GA: 31°, Columbus, GA: 31°, Montgomery, AL: 32°, Wilmington, NC: 32°, Charleston, SC: 33°, Savannah, GA: 34° and Norfolk, VA: 36°.
Canadian high pressure system behind a strong cold front brought chilly temperatures to the Southeast. Cross City, FL reported and all-time October record low of 30°. Other daily record lows included: Nashville, TN: 27°, Paducah, KY: 28°, Chattanooga, TN: 29°, Birmingham, AL: 29°, Atlanta, GA: 29°, Montgomery, AL: 31°, Macon, GA: 32°, Tallahassee, FL: 35°, Baton Rouge, LA: 37°-Tied, Pensacola, FL: 40°-Tied and Vero Beach, FL: 50°.
An Indian summer heat wave occurred over the Northern Rockies, with record highs of Santa Maria, CA: 96°, Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 94°, Long Beach, CA: 93°, San Diego, CA: 92°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 91°, San Francisco (Airport), CA: 84°, Sheridan, WY: 81°, Billings, MT: 81°, Havre, MT: 79°, Rapid City, SD: 79°-Tied and Kalispell, MT: 64°-Tied.
Six cities in south central Texas and two on the west coast reported record high temperatures for the date, including Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 93°, Corpus Christi, TX: 93°, Del Rio, TX: 93°, San Antonio, TX: 91°, Austin (Camp Mabry), TX: 90°-Tied, Redding, CA: 89° and Portland, OR: 74°. Laredo, TX was the hot spot in the nation with a high of 98°.
Thunderstorms moving over the Lower Mississippi Valley deluged Lake Charles, LA with 2.70 inches of rain in one hour resulting in severe local flooding.
Thunderstorms moving out of northern Texas spawned five tornadoes in Louisiana during the morning hours. The thunderstorms also produced wind gusts to 75 mph at Jennings, LA, and the driver of a vehicle was killed by a falling tree near Coushatta, LA.
Snow squalls in the Lower Great Lakes Region produced heavy snow in western New York State, with 12 inches reported at Colden.
Unseasonably warm weather continued across the north central states and Great Lakes. Afternoon highs of 78° at Alpena, MI, 75° at Duluth, MN, 79° at Fargo, ND, 77° at International Falls, MN, 76° at Marquette, MI, 75° at Sault Ste Marie, MI, and 80° at Saint Cloud, MN, were all the warmest on record for so late in the season. Green Bay, WI set a daily record high with 77°. Morning lows of 63° at Concordia, KS and Omaha, NE were the warmest on record for this late in the season.
A rapidly deepening coastal storm just east of Cape Hatteras, NC produced wind gusts in excess of 90 mph along coastal sections. A dredge barge broke loose from its moorings in the Oregon Inlet and struck the Bonner Bridge, the sole link highway between Hatteras Island and the mainland. A 369 foot segment of the bridge collapsed, leaving thousands stranded on the island. Further to the north, wind gusts of 92 mph at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel, 69 mph at Norfolk, VA, and 85 mph at Cape Henry, VA were reported. A day earlier, the storm produced 11 inches of snow on Mt. Mitchell, elevation 6,684 feet in western North Carolina.
The afternoon high of 87° at Eureka, CA set an all-time record high for the city. Other west coast locations that reported record highs included: Sacramento, CA: 88°, San Francisco (Airport), CA: 88°, Stockton, CA: 88°, Salem, OR: 75°, Quillayute, WA: 65°.
A windstorm blasted across the Colorado Rockies bringing wind gusts 100 to 110 mph to the foothills northwest of Denver, CO. The highest wind gusts included: Squaw Mountain west of Denver: 108 mph, Nederland: 100 mph and Coal Creek Canyon: 70 mph. The highest wind gust at Denver International Airport was 47 mph.
An intense storm pulling out of the Rockies at 988 millibars or 29.18 inHg brought heavy snow and blizzard conditions to parts of the upper Plains. The town of Lead in the Black Hills of South Dakota was buried under 38.9 inches of snow in 24 hours, the state's greatest 24 hour snowfall on record. Beginning the previous day, other snowfall amounts through this date included: Red Lodge, MT: 43 inches, Burgess Junction, MT: 32 inches, Mystic Lake, MT: 24 inches, Nye/Story, MT: 20 inches, Pryor, MT: 18 inches, Joliet, MT: 14 inches, Sheridan/Clearmont, WY: 8 inches and Billings, MT: 6 inches.
Scientists discovered a massive "blowdown" of 20,000 acres of spruce trees in north-central Colorado. 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 as a major blizzard pounded the Plains from the through the 26th.
Behind the storm, record low temperatures were reported across the Plains including: Scottsbluff, NE: 0°, Rapid City, SD: 2°, Goodland, KS: 10°, Grand Island, NE: 13°-Tied and Omaha, NE: 21°-Tied.
Hurricane Mitch bottomed out at 905 millibars or 26.72 inHg about 40 miles southeast of Swan Island in the western Caribbean, which made it the strongest October Atlantic hurricane on record up to that time and the fourth strongest overall, tied with Hurricane Camille in august 1969. Mitch's sustained winds at the time were 180 mph. Mitch slowly moved southward, weakened, and made landfall on the north coast of Honduras over the next few days. A tremendous amount of rain fell in the mountains of Honduras. Rainfall estimates ran as high at 75 inches in the higher mountainous areas. Catastrophic flooding wiped out 50 years of progress in only four days. 9,086 people were killed in Honduras and adjacent Nicaragua. Total damage in Central America was $5.5 billion dollars.
The football game between the Richmond Spiders and Rhode Island was suspended due to a flooded field at Meade Stadium in Kingston, RI. The field began to become covered with water during the first half, but a halftime downpour covered the entire field. Water was knee deep on parts of the field and no grass was visible by the time the game was suspended.
The summit on Mt. Washington, NH received an additional 27.5 inches of snow during the overnight to break their 24-hour snowfall record set just 9 days earlier. During the previous 12 days, 72 inches fell, nearly 25 % of the normal yearly total.
A strong Canadian cold front moved across the region late the previous night and into the morning hours. The winds switched to the northwest behind the front and a couple of hours after sunrise began to increase rapidly. By the late morning hours, the wind speeds were sustained between 20 and 35 mph with higher gusts. Widespread wind gust of 40 mph or higher were common for locations mainly west of Interstate 94 in central Wisconsin with gusts a little over 60 mph occurring from northeast Iowa west and south across Iowa as well as into central and southwest Minnesota. These wind gusts caused a few power outages and a little bit of damage for areas west of the Mississippi river, while more widespread power outages and damage occurred with the 60 mph wind gusts. In the local area, the highest recorded wind gust was 63 mph at St. Ansgar, IA. The highest recorded gust for this event in Iowa was 68 mph at Ventura in the north central part of the state and at Windsor Heights, just outside of Des Moines. In Minnesota, the highest recorded speed was 67 mph from a road sensor near Marietta in the far western part of the state.
A pair of weather systems brings heavy rains to the lower St. Lawrence and the Canadian Maritimes. The total rainfall through the 28th at Sept-Îles, Quebec measured 6.43 inches; a new record for three-day rainfall.
Tropical Cyclone Rashmi developed as a tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal and strengthened to a cyclone. The storm made landfall the next day along the south-central coast of Bangladesh with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph. The storm damaged thousands of homes and acres of crops. 15 people died from the storm, and 10 fishing boats with 50 people aboard were reported missing.
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