Meteorological events that happened on September 10th:
Today is the climatological peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
As a tropical storm passed near Charleston, SC, it produced a significant tornado that moved northwest across the center of the city. 60 homes, many of them mansions, were destroyed. 11 people were killed.
South Dakota registered its maximum 24 hour precipitation record as 8.01 inches of rain fell at Elk Point.
Duluth, MN saw its earliest freezing temperature reading with a record low of 31°.
A hurricane struck the Florida Keys drowning more than 500 people.
Navy and Army Air Force B-24 Liberator planes flew into the "Great Atlantic Hurricane" from September 10th through the 15th. These were the first sanctioned military flights to obtain data on a hurricane. The data sent back was instrumental in helping hold the death toll from the destructive hurricane to 27 people.
Hurricane Donna crossed over the middle Florida Keys between 2 and 3am on the 10th. After keeping a short distance offshore it reached the coastline again south of Naples and then turned north over Ft. Myers, then more northeastward, going out to sea a short distance north of Daytona Beach. At Sombrero light on the Keys, the highest wind speed was 106 mph with gusts to 150 mph. At Tavernier, the highest winds were 120 mph, which was the highest point on the dial. Maximum sustained winds on the Keys were estimated around 140 mph, with gusts possibly as high as 175 mph to 180 mph. The lowest barometric pressure reported was at Craig Key where three barometers ranged from 27.40 to 27.50 inHg. The pipeline supplying the Keys with fresh water was broken in at least three places. The Overseas Highway was overflowed by storm tides at several places. 75% of the buildings and docks between Marathon and Tavernier were damaged or destroyed. Fort Myers was in the eye for 71 minutes. In the Citrus Belt, most of the avocado crop was blown from the trees. Wind damage was enormous on the Keys and on the southwest coast from Everglades City to Punta Gorda. Rainfall ranged from 5 to 10 inches in an 80 to 100 mile wide belt extending roughly 50 to 75 miles to the right of the storm track and 40 to 50 miles to the left of the track. Lake and stream overflow forced evacuation of some homes on the central peninsula. High waters also closed many roads and inundated considerable agricultural land throughout the southern and central peninsula. At least a dozen people were killed in Florida and 1,794 injuries reported. Once offshore, Donna accelerated north and made landfall during the early morning on the 12th on the North Carolina coast near Wilmington with sustained winds of 105 mph with gusts to 115 mph and a minimum central pressure of 958 millibars or 28.29 inHg. Charleston, SC reported a wind gust to 121 mph. Donna continued northward making another landfall on Long Island, NY shortly after noon on the 12th with sustained winds near 100 mph and a minimum central pressure of 965 millibars or 28.50 inHg. Blue Hill Observatory, MA reported a wind gust of 138 mph. Donna transitioned to an extratropical cyclone over Maine two days later before moving into the Canadian Maritimes, producing more than 5 inches of rain. Overall, Donna claimed at least 364 lives and caused more than $900 million dollars damage.
As the center of Hurricane Carla approached the Texas coast, reconnaissance aircraft indicated a central pressure of 931 millibars or 27.49 inHg just prior to landfall with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. When the center of Hurricane Carla made landfall early in the morning of the 11th, the intensity had weakened slightly but the storm was still packing winds of 120 mph in areas from Port O’Connor up the coast to Galveston. Port Lavaca, recorded the lowest pressure anywhere on land at 935 millibars or 27.61 inHg before the needle dipped below the reported scale. Storm tides reached 10 to 15 feet all along the beaches east of the storm's landfall to Galveston, 120 miles away. The maximum storm surge height recorded was 18.5 feet. Bay City, TX received 17.48 inches of rain. The highest reported sustained wind speeds were 115 mph in Matagorda, 110 mph in Victoria and 88 mph in Galveston. Peak wind gusts were estimated at 150 mph in Victoria and 175 mph at Port Lavaca. Corpus Christi, TX reported a peak wind gust of 81 mph at the tower of the Weather Bureau Office, before the instrument failed. Carla was a huge storm, with her circulation affecting the entire Gulf of Mexico. Carla also spawned a tornado which swept across Galveston Island killing 8 people. Overall, 45 people died and damage was estimated at $408 million dollars. The remnants of Carla produced heavy rain in the Lower Missouri Valley and southern sections of the Upper Great Lakes Region.
Paishih, Taiwan received 49.13 inches of rain in association with a Super-Typhoon.
Dora was the first hurricane to cross the coast of northeast Florida from the Atlantic. The storm made landfall near St. Augustine with sustained winds of 100 to 110 mph, gusts to 125 mph and a minimum central pressure of 966 millibars or 28.53 inHg. Tides reached 12 feet above normal, four feet higher than ever recorded previously. Jacksonville, FL recorded their first ever hurricane force winds of 82 mph. 23.73 inches of rain was recorded at Mayo, FL. Damage totaled $280 million dollars.
After ravaging the Florida Keys on the 8th, Hurricane Betsy slammed in Louisiana with sustained winds of 125 to 130 mph and a minimum central pressure near 948 millibars or 28.00 inHg. Houma, LA reported a wind gust of 130 mph. There were as many as 76 deaths and thousands injured. The storm surge and flooding from torrential rains caused an enormous amount of damage making this the greatest insured property loss in the U.S. up to the time. Betsy is known as first billion dollar hurricane with damage exceeding $1.4 billion dollars.
Birmingham AL dipped to 49°; their earliest recorded temperature under 50°. Other record low temperatures included: Atlanta, GA: 49°, Tupelo, MS: 50°, Chattanooga, TN: 50°-Tied, Montgomery, AL: 52°, Meridian, MS: 52°-Tied, Macon, GA: 52°-Tied and Tallahassee, FL: 54°.
Violent thunderstorms produced high winds, tornadoes and very heavy rains over portions of west central and southwest Iowa. The Council Bluffs area received wind damage and Shelby and Audobon Counties experienced a tornado which severely damaged one farm. Rainfall totals in the three days from this date through the 12th were very impressive. Harlon, Iowa received 21 inches with 12.49 inches occurring on one day. Hundreds of families were left homeless from the flooding and losses of crops and buildings totaled nearly $20 million dollars.
Tropical Storm Kathleen moved northward from the Baja into the desert region of southern California; officially weakening to a depression just before crossing into the U.S. Yuma, AZ reported sustained winds of 57 mph, the highest on record associated with an eastern Pacific tropical cyclone in the southwestern U.S. San Diego, CA reported 50 mph wind gusts. A wall of water left a 700 foot wide, 40 feet deep gap at the Myer Creek Bridge on I-8 in Ocotillo, CA. The 4 to 6 foot high wall of water destroyed 70% of the homes. Daggett, CA received 2.28 inches of rain which was the greatest one day amount in recorded history. Overall, five people died and damage was estimated at $333 million dollars.
A small tornado damaged a farm house at Wilmot on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
A late afternoon thunderstorm moved through Austin TX producing wind gusts to 81 mph, and 2.17 inches of rain in one hour. The high winds toppled 6 National Guard helicopters at the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, and damaged or destroyed numerous other aircraft.
Hurricane Florence passed well west of Florida, making landfall near New Orleans, but heavy rains of 5 to 10 inches on the eastern fringes caused flooding that damaged 39 homes and three businesses. At one time on the 11th, 50 people were stranded in their homes and 17 roads were washed out.
Thunderstorms developed across south central sections of South Dakota bringing too little rain, too late in the year to help much. To add insult to injury lightning started numerous fires in the parched range lands. The fires burned nearly 14,000 acres of grassland and some 4,000 acres of timber. The resulting damages exceeded $60,000 dollars.
Cool air sweeping into the north central U.S. brought snow to some of the higher elevations of Montana. The town of Kings Hill, southeast of Great Falls, was blanketed with 6 inches of snow.
Tropical Storm Gilbert strengthened to a hurricane over the eastern Caribbean Sea.
A tropical depression formed off the western coast of Africa. The depression would grow into an intense Cape Verde hurricane known as Hugo, which would cause tremendous destruction across the Caribbean and eventually in South Carolina.
Light snow fell in Montana during the overnight hours, with 3 inches reported at Fairfield. Sheridan, WY & Billings, MT reported record lows of 28° & 33° respectively.
Unseasonably warm weather prevailed in the northeastern U.S., with record highs: Burlington, VT: 90°, Milton, MA: 90°-Tied, Burlington, VT: 90°-Tied, Islip, NY: 89° and Caribou, ME: 86°.
Borrego Springs, CA hit 117°, their hottest September temperature. This record was tied the next day.
Tropical Storm Frances made landfall near Matagorda Bay, TX, causing the worst coastal flooding and beach erosion since Hurricane Carla in 1961. The storm's heavy rains ended a drought in East Texas, but caused serious river flooding in parts of Texas and Louisiana. The highest rain total noted was 21.10 inches at Terrytown in southeast Louisiana. A major disaster declaration was issued for Cameron, Jefferson, Lafourche, and Terrebonne parishes in Louisiana.
Straight line winds caused extensive damage at the Ardmore Industrial Park in Carter County, two miles northeast of Gene Autry, where a gust of 102 mph was measured. One aircraft hangar was completely destroyed and several were damaged. Several aircraft were overturned and three were destroyed. Damage was estimated at $2 million dollars.
Hurricane Ike emerged in the south-central Gulf of Mexico heading for the Texas coast with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph and a minimum central pressure of 945 millibars or 27.91 inHg.
Honolulu, HI tied a record high of 92° while Molokai, HI set a record high of 91°.
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