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Weather History: September 1: Record temps, fire, storms, tropics & flooding

Meteorological events that happened on September 1st:


Professor Cleveland Abbe of the Cincinnati Astronomical Society realized the value of plotting telegraph weather reports to forewarn about killer storm on the Great Lakes. Abbe assembled a partnership with the Associated Press, Western Union and the remaining Smithsonian observers. His bulletins would be the first public weather forecasts.


A forest fire driven by high winds burned down the town of Hinkley, MN killing 418 people.


A trace of snow fell at Long Falls Dam, ME and a half inch was reported atop Mt. Washington, NH.

9.78 inches of rain fell at Bloomington, MI, establishing the state's 24 hour rainfall record.


A typhoon which swept over Tokyo, Japan was followed by an earthquake that evening. The high winds fanned fires set by quake. 143,000 people died in the multi-disaster.


The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane began intensifying from a tropical storm early in the day to a Category 2 by the end of this day. Over the next 24 hours the cyclone would go through "bombogenesis" intensifying to a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds estimated at 160 mph with gusts exceeding 200 mph. This was the first Category 5 storm to hit the U.S.


Lightning struck a hillside in Box Elder County, Utah killing 835 sheep out of a herd of 850. The shepherd was knocked unconscious also.


A tornado moved across northwestern Alberta Canada from Rycroft to Eaglesham damaging crops, farm buildings and machinery.

Mecca, CA set the U.S. September high temperature record for September with 126°. Palm Springs, CA set their all-time September high temperature record with 121°. Other daily record highs included: Yuma, AZ: 123°, Phoenix, AZ: 116°, Las Vegas, NV: 113°, Sacramento, CA: 108°, Tucson, AZ: 107°, Stockton, CA: 105°, Bishop, CA: 104°, Winnemucca, NV: 101°, Winslow, AZ: 99°, Reno, NV: 99°, Elko, NV: 97° and Ely, NV: 93°.


A heat wave that began in late August continued into early September continued across parts of the Midwest. Platteville, WI & South Bend, IN recorded their hottest September temperatures with 100° and 99° respectively. Fort Wayne, IN & Muskegon, MI tied their all-time September high temperature record with 100° & 95°. Other daily record highs included: Goshen, IN: 101°, Grand Rapids, MI: 97°, Lansing, MI: 96°.


A heat wave caused temperatures to soar to record levels across parts of southern California. The temperature in Downtown Los Angeles, CA soared to an all-time high of 110° during an 8 day string of 100 degree weather. Los Angeles (LAX Airport), CA set a daily record high with 108°.

Other daily record highs included: Santa Ana, CA: 108°, Escondido, CA: 107°, San Diego, CA: 104°, Santa Maria, CA: 102°, Idyllwild, CA: 96° and San Francisco, CA: 94°.


Lt. Judy Neuffer became the first female to fly a Hurricane Hunter aircraft through the eye of a hurricane.


An explosion aboard an oil tanker in the Houston Ship Channel was caused by lightning from a thunderstorm associated with Tropical Storm Elena. 3 people were killed. People downwind from the explosion reported black, oily raindrops.

A home in Centerville, TN was hit by lightning and totally destroyed. It marked the third time the house had been struck since being built in 1970.


A strong cold front barreled through the Northern Plains causing severe weather damage in several states. In northeast Nebraska, high winds and large hail downed trees and power lines and damaged crops in Knox, Antelope, Pierce and Madison Counties. Especially hard hit were the Creighton and Norfolk areas where 65 mph winds were clocked.


Record heat gripped parts of the northern Rockies. Several locations recorded record highs for September including: Miles City, MT: 106°, Billings, MT: 103° and Sheridan, WY: 103°. At Billings, it was the 8th consecutive day with high temperatures above 90°.


The new month started out hot across parts of the Missouri Valley, with temperatures near the century mark. St. Louis, MO & Springfield, IL set their high temperature record for September with 104° & 101° respectively.


Erratic Hurricane Elena baffled forecasters and Gulf Coast residents on the Sunday before Labor Day. The Hurricane had threatened the central Gulf Coast on Friday, only to turn east and spend Saturday menacing the Tampa Bay area with high winds, tides and heavy rains. By lunchtime Sunday, Elena was on the move again, but this time back to the west. The storm reached its minimum pressure of 951 millibars or 28.08 inHg while the storm was 75 miles south of Apalachicola, FL. Elena's maximum reported coastal winds were over Dauphin Island, AL, where sustained winds of 105 mph with gusts to 135 mph were reported. Other maximum gusts reported ranged from 120 mph at Gulfport, MS, to 92 mph at Pensacola, FL. Maximum tides of 10 feet above normal were recorded at Apalachicola, FL, with reports of 6 to 8 feet above normal on Dauphin Island, AL. Approximately 1 million people were evacuated from low lying coastal areas during Elena’s approach. This large evacuation contributed to the fact that there were no deaths in the area of landfall. The four deaths which occurred resulted from falling trees and automobile accidents. One resident died of a heart attack. Total damage ranged from $1 to $1.5 billion dollars.


Cool Canadian air invaded the Midwest. Several cities reported record low temperatures for the date, including Indianapolis, IN with 44°.

Remnants of Tropical Storm Lidia brought thunderstorms to the San Diego valleys with lightning and strong damaging winds, possibly a tornado. Lightning struck a power pole in El Cajon, which ruptured gas lines. Another bolt started a house fire there. Lightning caused several small fires in the area. What was reported as a dust devil was probably a microburst or a tornado that damaged awnings and other items to mobile homes near Lake Jennings. In El Cajon a tree with an 8-inch trunk was snapped in half. 35 mph winds were reported at Pt. Loma.

Hot weather continued in the western U.S. Record highs included: Wild Animal Park, CA: 109°, Hanover, WA: 106°, El Cajon, CA: 106°, Escondido, CA: 105°, Santee, CA: 105°, San Diego State University, CA: 99°, National City, CA: 89° and San Diego, CA: 83°.


Thunderstorms produced heavy rain in the Upper Mississippi Valley. Ely, MN was drenched with 3 inches of rain in 2 hours, and pelted with 1 inch diameter hail. The heavy rain flooded streets and basements, and the high water pressure blew the covers off manholes.


Thunderstorms developing ahead of a cold front produced severe weather in Oklahoma during the late afternoon and evening hours. Thunderstorms produced hail 2 inches in diameter west of Arapahoe, and wind gusts to 70 mph at Luther and south of Harrah. Early morning thunderstorms over Indiana drenched Kokomo with 5 to 8 inches of rain, and spawned a tornado which injured 3 people at Bruce Lake.


Severe thunderstorms tore across portions of northwest South Dakota. The thunderstorms produced huge hail and damaging winds. Hail as big as grapefruit fell at Sorum doing tremendous damage to houses and farm buildings. The next day, thunderstorm winds approaching 90 mph ripped the roofs of outbuildings and in some cases carried the debris for over 2 miles.


Death Valley, CA set their September high temperature record with 123°.


Erratic Dennis was downgraded to a Tropical Storm as he drifted aimlessly just off Cape Hatteras, NC. Dennis would move southward, then northwestward before making landfall on the 4th with winds of 70 mph. Dennis' heavy rains would set the stage for massive flooding when Hurricane Floyd arrived a few weeks later.


Across southern California, a heat wave sent temperatures soaring to 118° at Dulzura, 113° at Temecula, and 112° at Riverside and Menifee. Temperature gradients were remarkable near the coast. It was 77° at Newport Beach and 107° in Santa Ana, only ten miles difference, 72° in Oceanside Harbor and 87° in Oceanside Airport, only two miles difference, 81° in Sea World to 91° in San Diego - Lindbergh Field, only three miles difference.

In Tapachula in southern Mexico 5.67 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. 5.48 inches of this fell in just 6 hours. Their average September rainfall is 17.71 inches.


By midnight, Indianapolis, IN recorded its wettest day on record with 7.20 inches.


Norfolk, VA set their all-time record for wettest day with 8.93 inches of rain.

Hurricane John hit Baja California with maximum sustained winds near 110 mph. John caused four deaths in Mexico.


A heat wave began on this day across the southwest with abnormally high humidity. Temperatures exceeded 95° along the coasts and the mountains, 105° in the valleys, 110° in the Inland Empire and high deserts, and 115° in the lower deserts. At least six deaths were reported from heat related illnesses.


Temperature records were smashed throughout the Canadian Maritimes. Records included: Fredericton, New Brunswick: 93.4°, Halifax, Nova Scotia: 90.3° and Bathurst, New Brunswick: 77.7°.

The temperature soared to 100.6° at Rostov-na-Donu, Russia, near the mouth of the Don River during a five-day heat wave between the Caucasus Mountains and the lower Volga River Valley.


Check out my colleague Weather Examiners:

Baltimore, MD area weather with Tony Pann at

Orlando, FL area weather with Dr. Steve Oliver at

Houston, TX area weather & the weekly Weather America Newsletter with Larry Cosgrove at

NOAA Headlines Examiner with Dr. Steve Oliver and IPR at

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