Meteorological events that happened on October 4th:
The Racer Storm hurricane destroyed Brazos Santiago, Mexico and sank or severely damaged all vessels in the harbor. The storm then moved up the western Gulf of Mexico coast into Texas.
Galveston, TX has a track record of severe hurricanes. Almost 30 years to the day after the famous Racer's Hurricane struck the island city; another major hurricane brought violent winds and inundation. All of the wharves in Galveston were reportedly destroyed.
"Saxby's Gale" and the great New England rainstorm and flood occurred. The storm was predicted one year before and caused great wind and tide damage in Maine and New Brunswick. High floods resulted in all of New England with 12.35 inches of rain recorded at Canton, CT.
Beginning on this date through the 6th, three days of rain at Tacajo, Cuba totaled 79.72 inches.
Hurricane Flora spent 11 days wreaking havoc along her path through the Caribbean. The storm brought 170 mph winds and an 11 foot storm surge to Haiti, killing 5,000 people, making it the island nation's most destructive hurricane. The slow moving storm brought 15 - 20 inches of rain in 72 hours to parts of Cuba. The floods and mudslides killed 1,300 people in that island nation. Castro refused the United States' offer of help.
Denver, CO received 9.6 inches of snow. October of that year proved to be the coldest and snowiest on record, with a total of 31.2 inches for the month.
On this date through the 7th, the remnants of Hurricane Joanne brought heavy rain and flooding to much of Arizona. It was the first documented tropical storm to reach the state with its cyclonic circulation intact.
A killing frost occurred on the 3rd and 4th in the suburbs outside of National Airport in Washington, D.C. as the low dropped to 34°.
Elkins, WV: 13°, Mt. Pocono, PA: 20°, Beckley, WV: 23°-Tied, Binghamton, NY: 24°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 26°, Lynchburg, VA: 26°, Reading, PA: 26°, Asheville, NC: 27°, Charleston, WV: 27°, Atlantic City, NJ: 27°, Georgetown, DE: 27°, Avoca, PA: 27°, Scranton-Wilkes Barre, PA: 27°, Akron, OH: 28°, Bristol, TN: 28°, Richmond, VA: 28°, Roanoke, VA: 28°, Toledo, OH: 29°, Huntington, WV: 29°, Allentown, PA: 29°, Rochester, MN: 29°, Oak Ridge, TN: 30°, Columbia, SC: 30°, Salisbury, MD: 30°, Erie, PA: 30°, Youngstown, OH: 30°-Tied, Wilmington, DE: 30°-Tied, Columbus, OH: 31°, Greensboro, NC: 31°, Raleigh, NC: 31°, Baltimore, MD: 31°, Pittsburgh, PA: 31°, Buffalo, NY: 31°, Harrisburg, PA: 31°-Tied, Tupelo, MS: 32°, Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: 32°, Chattanooga, TN: 33°, Charlotte, NC: 33°, Elizabeth City, NC: 33°, Cleveland, OH: 33°-Tied, Knoxville, TN: 34°, Augusta, GA: 34°, Philadelphia, PA: 34°, Wallops Island, VA: 35°, Macon, GA: 36°, Wilmington, NC: 36°, Meridian, MS: 37°, Athens, GA: 37°, Savannah, GA: 37°, Charleston, SC: 37°, Huntsville, AL: 38°, Bridgeport, CT: 38°, Atlanta, GA: 39°, Birmingham, AL: 40°, Montgomery, AL: 40°, Columbus, GA: 40°, New York (LaGuardia Airport), NY: 40°, Norfolk, VA: 43°, Mobile, AL: 44°, Baton Rouge, LA: 45°, Tallahassee, FL: 47°, Lake Charles, LA: 48°, Cape Hatteras, NC: 48°, New Orleans, LA: 49°, Jacksonville, FL: 50°, Tampa, FL: 53° and Orlando, FL: 58°.
The average wind speed reached 88.5 mph at Melfort, Saskatchewan Canada, the province's highest ever sustained wind.
A heat ridge out west brought record heat. Borrego Springs, CA hit 110°; their latest reading of 110° or higher. Fresno, CA soared to 102°, not only a record for October, but also the fifth time during that month of 100° highs or above, also a record. Stockton, CA had their third consecutive day at 101°, tying their October record. Other daily record highs included: Victorville, CA: 100°, Bishop, CA: 94°, Winslow, AZ: 89°-Tied, Elko, NV: 88°, Winnemucca, NV: 88° and Reno, NV: 88°-Tied.
With the ridge out west, there was a deep trough from the Great Lakes to the Deep South responsible for some morning cold. Daily record low temperatures included: Ste. St. Marie, MI: 25°, Madison, WI: 27°, Chicago, IL: 32°, Paducah, KY: 36°-Tied and Jacksonville, FL: 50°-Tied.
Excessive flooding continued on the Mississippi River and all over the Midwest. Rainfall totals for the period since September 27th to this date included 20.07 inches at Hale, KS, nearly 18 inches at Coffeyville, KS, and over 18 inches at Walnut, KS.
16.21 inches of rain fell at McCamey, TX on this date. A car was swept from a bridge which was covered by the flooding water near Rankin, TX, killing the motorist.
A rapidly deepening coastal storm brought record snows to the northeastern U.S. Grafton, NY reported 22 inches, 21 inches at North Springfield, VT and 18 inches was reported at Pownal, VT. Damage to trees was extensive since many of them were still in full leaf. The storm caught many by surprise, especially the snowplow teams. It was the earliest snow on record for some locations. The 6 inches of snow at Albany, NY was their earliest measurable snow in 117 years of records. The storm claimed 17 lives in central New York State, injured 332 people, and in Vermont caused $17 million dollars damage.
Eastern New York/Western New England received the earliest snow of record. Great Barrington, MA received 12 inches and Norfolk, CT reported 9.5 inches. One million people were without power at one time and 94% of trees in Vermont's Bennington County were damaged.
There was a strong upper level trough from the Plains to the East Coast that brought record low temperatures for the date including: Cincinnati, OH: 29°, Columbus, OH: 29°, Paducah, KY: 30°, Knoxville, TN: 30°, Evansville, IN: 31°, Indianapolis, IN: 31°, Jackson, KY: 31°, Lexington, KY: 32°, Bridgeport, CT: 34°, Louisville, KY: 35°, Birmingham, AL: 35°, Fort Smith, AR: 36°, Huntsville, AL: 36°, Athens, GA: 36°, Nashville, TN: 36°-Tied, Macon, GA: 36°-Tied, Meridian, MS: 37°-Tied, Jackson, MS: 38°, Atlanta, GA: 39°-Tied, Islip, NY: 40°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 40°-Tied, Montgomery, AL: 40°-Tied, Little Rock, AR: 40°-Tied, Memphis, TN: 41°, Waco, TX: 41°, Shreveport, LA: 41°, New York (LaGuardia Airport), NY: 41°-Tied, Mobile, AL: 44°-Tied, Dallas (DFW), TX: 45°, Lake Charles, LA: 45°, Baton Rouge, LA: 45°-Tied, Gainesville, FL: 47° and Jacksonville, FL: 48°.
Southern California continued bake with the heat ridge across the west. An earthquake was reported during the morning, the second in a matter of days, and during the afternoon temperatures soared well above 100 degrees. The high of 108° at Santa Maria set an October record. Downtown Los Angeles, CA hit 108° tying their October record set the previous day. San Luis Obispo, CA was the hot spot in the nation with an afternoon high of 111°.
Other daily record highs included: Palm Springs, CA: 109°, Riverside, CA: 105°, Long Beach, CA: 105°, Santa Ana, CA: 104°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 103°, Redding, CA: 102°, Phoenix, AZ: 102°-Tied, Sacramento, CA: 98°-Tied, San Diego, CA: 97°, Bishop, CA: 95°, San Francisco (Airport), CA: 95°, Reno, NV: 89°, Ely, NV: 83° and Alamosa, CO: 77°.
Canadian high pressure behind a cold front brought record low temperatures to parts of the northern Plains including: Bismarck, ND: 17°, Valentine, NE: 22°, Fargo, ND: 23°-Tied and Grand Island, NE: 29°. Low pressure brought snow and sleet to parts of Upper Michigan.
3.57 inches of rain fell in one hour at Davie, FL.
Unseasonably cold weather continued in the north central U.S., with freezing temperatures reported across much of the area from eastern North Dakota to Michigan and northwest Ohio. Many cities reported record low temperatures for the date, including Saint Cloud, MN, which was the cold spot in the nation with a morning low of 19°. Other daily record lows included: Rockford, IL: 24°, Dubuque, IA: 25°, Green Bay, WI: 25°, Madison, WI: 25°, La Crosse, WI: 27°, Toledo, OH: 27°, Flint, MI: 28°, Chicago, IL: 29°, Fort Wayne, IN: 29°, South Bend, IN: 30°-Tied and Detroit, MI: 32°-Tied.
Hurricane Opal developed over the south central Gulf of Mexico on the 2nd, and intensified to a category 4 hurricane during the early morning hours of the 4th, as it moved rapidly northeast across the Gulf of Mexico. At 4:45am CDT, Air Force Reconnaissance reported an alarming central pressure of 916 millibars or 27.05 inHg and winds were estimated at 150 mph, making the storm the strongest on record in the Atlantic in October. The storm had rapidly intensified that morning, dropping from 951 to 916 millibars in just 9 hours. At that time Opal was 290 miles south-southwest of Pensacola, FL. Opal diminished to a marginal category 3 hurricane before making landfall near Pensacola Beach during the late afternoon of the 4th, yet was still the strongest hurricane to hit the Florida panhandle in 20 years. The center of the storm moved ashore at almost the same location as hurricane Erin about two months earlier. As Opal moved ashore, minimum central pressure was 942 millibars or 27.82 inHg, and estimated maximum sustained wind speeds were 115 mph. Highest observed wind speeds were 84 mph gusting to 144 mph at Hurlburt Field in Mary Esther. The storm surge reached approximately 10 feet above mean sea level, with debris lines up to 25 feet above mean sea level. By far the greatest amount of damage from Opal in northwest Florida occurred due to devastating storm surge and waves along the beaches of Walton, Bay and Gulf counties. Almost 300 homes were destroyed with another 1,000 homes suffering major damage. The storm surge destroyed highway 399 that runs from Pensacola Beach to Navarre Beach, and U.S. highway 98 between Fort Walton Beach and Destin. Several tornadoes were reported with one fatality near Crestview. There were no reported deaths due to storm surge flooding. The most rainfall occurred at Ellyson Field where 15.45 inches fell on the 3rd and 4th. Crop damage was estimated at $5 million dollars. It was estimated that $50 million in damage was done to recreational boats, with almost 1,000 boats damaged, and about 70 boats lost or sunken. Opal killed nine people and insured property damage was estimated at an excess of $2 billion dollars, ranking Opal as one of the costliest twentieth century U.S. hurricanes. The outer fringes of Opal caused tidal flooding and beach erosion as far south as the lower Florida Keys. In Key West, major beach erosion, with estimated restoration costs near $3 million dollars occurred, and streets in old town were inundated with sea water. Many people in Florida were without water for several days. Inland, Opal downed numerous trees and knocked out power to nearly two million people.
Two rounds of thunderstorms at Kansas City, MO produced flash floods that killed 12 people. Most people died after driving their automobiles into rushing water. Over 100 water rescues were required during the event. 7 people died when their cars became stranded on a single bridge over Brush Creek. The National Weather Service received a commendation for their excellent warnings during the event. The first of numerous flash flood warnings had a lead time of over 30 minutes. Total damage exceeded $50 million dollars.
This day brought the greatest October tornado outbreak in history to Oklahoma. 26 tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma that day, more than in any other October outbreak in any state. Meteorologists at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK were able to view a tornado passing in the distance.
On the backside of this storm, an early season blizzard struck much of Converse and Niobrara Counties in Wyoming. 8 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow fell from late on the 4th into the 5th over many areas. This combined with 40 mph winds snapped about 200 power poles and left about 4,000 people without power in Lusk and Manville for up to 5 days.
Hurricane Stan made landfall along the Mexican coastline southeast of Veracruz. Torrential rains of 10 to 15 inches caused extensive flooding and loss of life across Central America. Death tolls reached 23 in Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras, and 62 in El Salvador, but the greatest loss of life came in Guatemala, where as many as 2,000 people were killed in rain-related flooding and landslides.
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN received 4.61 inches of rain, breaking the local daily rainfall record for October. North of the Twin Cities, weather spotters reported 9 inches of rain at Spencer Brook.
A rare October tornado touches down near Shoshone, ID but caused no significant damage. National Weather Service reported this was only the second recorded October tornado in the state. The previous occurred in October 1984 in Ada County.
An early season winter storm brought snow flurries mixed with rain as low as 4,000 feet in parts of the central Sierra Nevada in California. Snow flurries mixed with rain were observed on the valley floor of Yosemite National Park and accumulating snow reported as low as 5,000 feet.
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