Meteorological events that happened on October 28th:
The Northern Lights are actually caused by high-energy particles from the Sun entering the Earth's atmosphere. These particles collide with air molecules, causing them to vibrate. When the molecules stop vibrating, they sometimes produce visible light. Northern Lights can be colored green, violet, red, or white.
A group of inexperienced travelers was caught unaware by a major storm which dumped 5 feet of snow on Donner Pass in California. Their wagons and cattle were trapped along with them and only 45 of the 79 people in the party survived the winter. The group came to be known as the Donner Party, a part of western folklore.
Washington, D.C. experienced its warmest temperature for so late in the season with 87°.
Record highs were up and down the East Coast including: Athens, GA: 89°, Columbia, SC: 88°, Lynchburg, VA: 88°, Baltimore, MD: 87°, Richmond, VA: 87°, Washington, D.C.: 87°, Charlotte, NC: 86°, Greensboro, NC: 86°, Raleigh, NC: 86°, Savannah, GA: 86°, Norfolk, VA: 86°, Roanoke, VA: 86°, Philadelphia, PA: 85°, Huntington, WV: 85°, Wilmington, NC: 85°, Atlanta, GA: 84°, Wilmington, DE: 83°, New York (Central Park), NY: 83°, Hartford, CT: 81°, Boston, MA: 81°, Milton, MA: 81°, Asheville, NC: 80°, Harrisburg, PA: 79°, Worcester, MA: 76°, Avoca, PA: 75° and Williamsport, PA: 75°.
New Jersey experienced their coldest October reading ever as Layton dropped to 9°.
Record lows were set from the Mid-Atlantic into the Northeast including: Concord, NH: 16°, Williamsport, PA: 19°, Worcester, MA: 19°, Allentown, PA: 21°, Avoca, PA: 21°, Albany, NY: 22°, Burlington, VT: 22°, Wilmington, DE: 23°, Lynchburg, VA: 23°, Newark, NJ: 25°, Roanoke, VA: 25°, Harrisburg, PA: 26°, Rochester, NY: 26°, Washington, D.C.: 27°, Richmond, VA: 28°, Boston, MA: 28°, Baltimore, MD: 30° and New York (Central Park), NY: 33°-Tied.
A severe early season blizzard raged across the Plateau and Rocky Mountain Region. Heavy snow blocked railroads and interstate highways, and record cold accompanied the storm. Lusk, WY recorded a foot of snow on this date and Rawlins, WY saw 16 inches on this date and a total for the event of 29.4 inches. 20 inches fell at Muddy Gap, WY. Lander, WY received 27 inches of snow, and the temperature at Big Piney, WY plunged to -15°.
Behind the storm a deep upper level trough brought record cold to parts of the northern Rockies. Record lows for the date included: Shelby, MT: 0°, Butte, MT: 1°, Billings, MT: 3°, Missoula, MT: 4°, Bozeman, MT: 5°, Helena, MT: 6°-Tied, Kalispell, MT: 8°, Casper, WY: 9°, Sheridan, WY: 10°, Pocatello, ID: 16° and Lewiston, ID: 18°.
An early season winter storm whitened the north Georgia Mountains with several inches of snow.
Two airmen at Sheppard Air Force Base in Oklahoma were killed by lightning early in the morning. As they walked to class, lightning stuck a nearby hangar, and jumped to the ground, striking the two men. One was killed instantly, and the other died several days later in the base hospital.
A severe thunderstorm struck Al-Khafqi in Saudi Arabia, producing softball size hail and flooding rains for nearly four hours. 11 people were killed as vehicles and buildings were destroyed.
Persistent high winds caused high water and waves along the west coast and panhandle of Florida, resulting in minor beach erosion and flooding as Hurricane Juan passed well west of Florida. Some seawalls previously weakened by Hurricane Elena were destroyed. Most of the severe weather reported on this date through the 31st was related to the fringes of Juan. Four tornadoes and waterspouts struck during the evening in the Panhandle injured six people.
Thunderstorms over the San Joaquin Valley of California produced three-quarters of an inch of rain in 30 minutes at Placerville, and caused numerous power outages due to lightning strikes.
Rain began to diminish in the northeastern U.S., but some flooding continued in Vermont, eastern New York and northern New Jersey. One inch rains in Vermont clogged culverts and sewers with fallen leaves, resulting in erosion of dirt roads.
Arctic cold invaded the north central U.S. Valentine, NE dipped to 8°, and Cutbank, MT reported a morning low of 1°. The temperature at Estes Park, CO dipped to 15°, but then soared 30 degrees in less than 30 minutes. Further east, Islip, NY set a record low with 31°.
A storm crossing the western U.S. produced 10 to 20 inches of snow across parts of the northern Rockies. Sheridan, WY recorded their snowiest October day with 13 inches. Other snowfall totals included: Burgess Junction, WY: 22 inches, Red Lodge, MT: 18 inches, Joliet, MT: 12 inches, Nye, MT: 10 inches, Pryor, MT: 9 inches, Columbus, MT: 6 inches and Billings, MT: 3 inches.
Ahead of the storm, a few cities in the Lower Ohio Valley and the Upper Great Lakes Region reported record high temperatures for the date as readings again warmed into the 70s including: Jackson, KY: 78°, Alpena, MI: 75°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 75°-Tied, Grand Rapids, MI: 74°, Islip, NY: 74°, Lansing, MI: 74°-Tied and Houghton Lake, MI: 73°-Tied.
A powerful cold front dropped out of Canada. Yakima, WA recorded 2.4 inches of snow. This equaled the record amount of snowfall in October previously set on 10/31/1973.
Behind the storm record low temperatures fell across the Rockies including:
Havre, MT: -14°, Del Bonita, MT: -10°, Lewistown, MT: -7°, West Yellowstone, MT: 0°, Helena, MT: 3°, Casper, WY: 7°, Miles City, MT: 10°, Colorado Springs, CO: 13°-Tied and Pocatello, ID: 16°-Tied.
A newlywed bride was swept to her death as she and her fiancee took photographs of tremendous waves from a ferocious Pacific storm at Pacific Grove, CA. The storm generated waves up to 27 feet high. The powerful storm swirled offshore for a day before moving inland, pounding Washington, Oregon and California with the tremendous surf.
Hurricane Peter dissipated making the 2003 Atlantic Hurricane season the longest on record. The season began with the formation of Tropical Storm Ana on April 21st.
An on-going drought that was in its third year continued across most of Kansas. The state of Kansas declared drought disaster areas with an estimated cost of $275 million for this growing season alone.
Record heat continued out west. Record high temperatures for the date included: Redding, CA: 97°, Bakersfield, CA: 92°-Tied, Fresno, CA: 89°, Madera, CA: 89°, Merced, CA: 88°, Bishop, CA: 87°, Stockton, CA: 87°, Hanford, CA: 86°, Sacramento, CA: 86°, San Francisco (Airport), CA: 85°, Idyllwild, CA: 81°, Medford, OR: 80°-Tied, Yakima, WA: 77°, Big Bear Lake, CA: 74° and Portland, OR: 72°.
A strong Pacific storm battered British Columbia including Greater Vancouver. Vancouver Airport reported sustained winds of 50 mph, breaking the previous record for October. The winds knocked out power slowing the rush-hour traffic on the Lower Mainland to a crawl because of darkened traffic lights and disrupted SkyTrain service.
Tropical Storm Noel dumps heavy rains on the island of Hispaniola. The resulting floodwaters and mudslides killed at least 90 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Noel's wrath damaged the Dominican Republic's rice, plantain, and cacao plantations leading to an estimated $30 million in losses.
All eyes were on the developing unprecedented early season snowstorm that would be dubbed "Snowtober" across the northeastern U.S.
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