Meteorological events that happened on September 21st:
A severe thunderstorm outbreak across Iowa and Minnesota killed 63 people and injured 253 others. Three tornadoes caused F4 damage and one caused F5 damage. A heavy chicken house, 16 by 16 feet in area, was picked up by a tornado and wedged between two trees. The hens were found the next day sitting on their eggs in the chicken house, with no windows broken, as though nothing had happened.
A couple of tornadoes, one rated F4 and the other F5, tore paths of devastation through Eau Claire, Clark, and Taylor Counties in Wisconsin. The death toll was 18 and 50 people were injured.
The Great New England Hurricane or “The Long Island Express Hurricane”, crossed Long Island at a forward speed in excess of 60 mph with a barometric pressure reading of 946 millibars or 27.94 inHg, the lowest pressure ever recorded in the northeastern U.S. and killed 600 people. The hurricane passed west of New Haven, CT through Massachusetts and Vermont. The hurricane smashed into Long Island and bisected New England causing a massive forest blow down and widespread flooding. Sustained winds of 121 mph with a peak gust to186 mph was recorded at the Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, MA, and a storm surge of nearly 30 feet caused extensive flooding along the coast of Rhode Island. The hurricane, which lasted 12 days, destroyed 275 million trees. Hardest hit were Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Long Island, NY. The monster cyclone produced tremendous waves with its 150 mph winds, waves that smashed against the New England shore with such force that earthquake-recording machines on the Pacific coast clearly showed the shock of each wave. Providence, RI was inundated with a record 13.75 foot storm surge. Total damage was between $350 and $500 million dollars
A hurricane struck near Everglades City, then moved northeast through Florida to emerge into the Atlantic near Jupiter. The lowest barometric pressure was 963 millibars or 28.44 inHg, and top winds were 122 mph. Three people were killed. A tornado, spawned by this hurricane, unroofed a small farmhouse and destroyed another near Homestead.
A severe hailstorm hit Logansport, IN and created the worst destruction seen there up to that time. The hail two inches in diameter caused a million dollars in damage.
Deeth, NV record a morning low of 12° and an afternoon high of 87° on this day, a U.S. record for temperature change caused only by diurnal local cooling and heating.
Heavy rain in southwest Oklahoma through the 22nd, caused extensive flooding and damage to pasture and crop land. About 1,500 cattle were trapped by the high water, and many of them drowned. More than 10 bridges were washed out, and fences were removed by the floodwaters. Official rainfall measurements exceeded six inches in some locations, and an unofficial report of 11 inches in 11 hours was received from Hollister.
Tropical Storm Emily, which formed in the Caribbean the previous afternoon, caused considerable damage to the banana industry of St. Vincent in the Windward Islands.
Unseasonably hot weather continued in Florida and the western U.S. Borrego Springs, CA set a daily record high and was the hot spot in the nation with 110°.
Other daily records included: Redding, CA: 108°, Sacramento, CA: 100°, Fort Myers, FL: 96°, Vero Beach, FL: 93°, Miami, FL: 93°-Tied and Reno, NV: 90°-Tied.
Thunderstorms produced high winds and locally heavy rain in the southwestern U.S. One thunderstorm in west Texas produced wind gusts to 86 mph at Dell City completely destroying an airport hangar. A Cessna 150 aircraft housed within the hangar was flipped over and snapped in two.
Thunderstorms produced large hail in east central Utah, while snow blanketed some of the higher elevations of the state.
Hurricane Hugo slammed into the South Carolina coast about 11pm ET, making landfall near Sullivans Island with sustained winds of 135 mph. Sustained winds reached 85 mph at Folly Beach, SC, with gusts as high as 138 mph. Wind gusts reached 98 mph at Charleston, SC and 109 mph at Shaw AFB. The biggest storm surge occurred in the McClellanville and Bulls Bay area of Charleston County, with a storm surge of 20.2 feet reported at Seewee Bay on top of astronomical high tides. Shrimp boats were found one half mile inland at McClellanville. 30 buildings in downtown Charleston, SC were flattened. Hugo was responsible for 21 deaths in the U.S. and 28 in the Caribbean. A total of 420 people were injured and damage was estimated at $10 billion dollars, including $2 billion dollars damage to crops. Hugo was the strongest storm to strike the East Coast north of Florida since Hazel in October 1954.
The earliest snow on record fell across southwest Kansas with most areas reporting 2 to 3 inches with isolated amounts up to 6 inches. This was the earliest snowfall ever recorded at the Dodge City Airport. This was also the only time there was measurable snowfall for the month of September. A total of 1.3 inches fell at the Dodge City Airport. Rochester, MN saw a trace of snow, their earliest such occurrence on record. Along with the snow, many areas reported record low temperatures. Miles City, MT fell to 19°, their coldest September temperature on record. Other daily record lows included: Valentine, MT: 11°, Chinook, MT: 13°, Chester, MT: 15°, Glasgow, MT: 15°-Tied, Boulder, MT: 16°, Havre, MT: 18°, Williston, ND: 18°, Bozeman, MT: 19°, Lewistown, MT: 19°, Livingston, MT: 19°, Helena, MT: 20°, Great Falls, MT: 20°, Cut Bank, MT: 20°, Butte, MT: 21°, Kalispell, MT: 22°-Tied, Rapid City, SD: 23°, Valentine, NE: 25°, Denver, CO: 27°, Billings, MT: 28°, Grand Island, NE: 28°, Dodge City, KS: 32°, Concordia, KS: 33°-Tied, Lincoln, NE: 35°, Kansas City, MO: 35°, Des Moines, IA: 35°-Tied, Topeka, KS: 36°-Tied, Springfield, MO: 37°-Tied and San Angelo, TX: 45°.
Nine years after Hurricane Hugo struck Charleston, S.C., the city was inundated with 10 inches of rainfall in less than 8 hours causing major flooding.
A weakened Hurricane Georges swirled through the islands of the northeastern Caribbean with winds of 115 mph. The storm had earlier been a very strong category 4 hurricane. The eye of the hurricane passed within two miles of St. Croix and crossed the entire island of Puerto Rico from east to west. Winds were estimated at 115 mph and up to 20 inches of rain fell.
The worst tornadoes to strike Indiana in 12 years raked an area from the southwestern corner of the state to Indianapolis. At least 5 tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service. Excellent warnings resulted in very low numbers of injuries and no fatalities. Most communities had at least 20 minutes lead time before the twisters struck.
Hurricane-force winds battered the coastal communities of Salluit and Ivujivik on the Ungava Peninsula in Quebec Canada causing extensive structural damage.
After raking the Florida Keys on the 20th, Hurricane Rita strengthened to a Category 5 storm over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. By 11pm EDT, the central pressure dropped to 897 millibars or 26.49 inHg with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph.
Downgraded Tropical Storm Gordon struck the northwest Spanish coast with wind gusts to 100 mph. The storm left nearly 30,000 homes without power.
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