Meteorological events that happened on September 8th:
The Spanish Armada was hit hard by a strong storm system while off the coast of Scotland. Two ships were sunk. The storm inflicted heavier losses on the Spanish than any other battle with the English during the war.
The greatest weather disaster in U.S. history occurred when a hurricane struck Galveston, TX. A 15 to 20 foot storm surge driven by 120 mph winds washed over the island demolishing and carrying away buildings. The hurricane killed 6,000 to 8,000 people and destroyed more than 3,636 homes. Total damage was estimated at $30 million dollars. Following the storm, the surf was 300 feet inland from the former water line. The hurricane claimed another 1,200 lives outside of the Galveston area. The Galveston Hurricane led to the recognition of the storm surge as a phenomenon of tropical cyclones.
Topeka, KS picked up 8.08 inches of rain in 24 hours to establish the record.
A cool Canadian air mass settled across the Great Lakes southward to the Tennessee Valley. Record lows included: Houghton Lake, MI: 29°, Muskegon, MI: 31°, Grand Rapids, MI: 36°, Beckley, WV: 36°-Tied, Akron, OH: 38°, Youngstown, OH: 38°, Columbus, OH: 39°, Green Bay, WI: 39°, South Bend, IN: 40°-Tied, Cleveland, OH: 41°, Buffalo, NY: 42°, Charleston, WV: 45°-Tied, Indianapolis, IN: 46°-Tied, Bristol, TN: 51°, Oak Ridge, TN: 51° and Greensboro, NC: 51°-Tied.
The first official nationally televised broadcast featured Meteorologist Percy Saltzman in Cross, Canada.
Canadian high pressure brought record chill from parts of the Rockies to the east coast. Denver, CO: dipped to 31°, their earliest freeze on record.
Other daily record lows included: Kalispell, MT: 25°, Cheyenne, WY: 25°, Casper, WY: 29°, Lander, WY: 29°, Sheridan, WY: 29°, Billings, MT: 32°, Great Falls, MT: 32°, Scottsbluff, NE: 33°, Rapid City, SD: 36°, Lewiston, ID: 37°, Salt Lake City, UT: 38°, Goodland, KS: 38°, Williamsport, PA: 41°, Hartford, CT: 41°, Allentown, PA: 42°, Philadelphia, PA: 45°, Baltimore, MD: 46°, Harrisburg, PA: 47°, Richmond, VA: 48°, Wilmington, DE: 48°-Tied, Lynchburg, VA: 49° and Bridgeport, CT: 49°.
Hurricane Betsy passed extreme south Florida early on this date with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph and a minimum central pressure of 948 millibars or 27.99 inHg. Betsy moved across the upper Keys, through Florida Bay and into the Gulf of Mexico north of Key West, and across the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans, LA. The strongest winds were gusts from the northwest estimated at 140 mph in the Keys. The passage of the storm center across the upper Keys produced strong onshore winds and high tides along the southeast coast with gusts to 60 mph reported as far north as Melbourne. Flooding on the upper Keys was extensive and water reached depths of several feet in many areas, covering highways and first floors of buildings. Storm tides reached 6.l feet along the Miami Beach oceanfront and rising waters flooded extensive sections of Key Biscayne. Most of the total damage occurred in the east coastal areas south of Palm Beach County and on the Keys. There were five known fatalities. Three additional people were missing in the Gulf and presumed lost, making the death toll total eight in Florida. A tornado spawned by Betsy destroyed a dozen trailers near Marathon, FL.
A weakening Hurricane Carmen made landfall on the Louisiana coast with sustained winds of 80 mph causing $152 million dollars in damage, mainly from sugarcane losses. 75,000 people fled low lying areas as the storm approached and only one storm related fatality was reported.
A strong cold front raced across South Dakota and into Iowa and Minnesota. The front brought tremendous winds across the state and into western sections of Iowa and Minnesota. At Rapid City, SD winds gusted to 75 mph at the airport. The strong winds leveled many trees and damaged buildings, roofs, and broke windows. Portions of western South Dakota reported blowing dust which greatly reduced visibilities and led to many traffic accidents.
However, the high winds were even more widespread in the east. About 12 miles south of Ft. Pierre, SD 68 mph winds ripped a camper off of a truck and demolished it. 70 mph winds destroyed a two and one-half million gallon oil tank near Watertown, SD.
Across northeast Nebraska, 60 to 70 mph winds were common damaging trees, power lines, buildings and windows. Norfolk had an official wind gust of 66 mph which damaged a boat in nearby Battle Creek.
Severe thunderstorms affected central and southern Oklahoma. They brought hail as large as baseballs and winds up to 80 mph to the Paoli area, in Garvin County. Six barns were destroyed around Paoli, and damage was estimated at $200,000 dollars. Rosedale, in McClain County, also had 80 mph winds, combined with hail up to softball size. North and east side windows were broken out of most homes in the area and damage was estimated at $100,000 dollars.
Cool Canadian high pressure settles in across the Missouri Valley bringing record cold from the Midwest to the east coast. Record lows included: Waterloo, IA: 35°, Dubuque, IA: 37°, Toledo, OH: 37°, Youngstown, OH: 37°, Rockford, IL: 37°, Madison, WI: 37°, Flint, MI: 37°, Pittsburgh, PA: 37°, Rochester, PA: 37°, Moline, IL: 38°, Indianapolis, IN: 38°, Peoria, IL: 39°, Springfield, IL: 39°, Fort Wayne, IN: 39°, Detroit, MI: 39°, Buffalo, NY: 39°, Norfolk, NE: 39°-Tied, Sioux City, IA: 40°, South Bend, IN: 40°-Tied, Topeka, KS: 41°, St. Louis, MO: 42°, Columbia, MO: 43°, Kansas City, MO: 43°, Chicago, IL: 43°, Evansville, IN: 43°, Jackson, KY: 51°, New York (Central Park), NY: 54°-Tied and Norfolk, VA: 56°-Tied.
A tropical depression off the coast of South Carolina brought another round of heavy rain to the Mid Atlantic Coast and the Upper Ohio Valley. Showers and thunderstorms produced extremely heavy rain in eastern Pennsylvania, where flooding caused more than $55 million dollars damage across a 7 county area.
The afternoon high of 97° at Miami, FL was a record for the month of September.
Many cities in the south central and eastern U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date, including Roanoke, VA: 42°, Asheville, NC: 42°-Tied, Atlantic City, NJ: 43°, Harrisburg, PA: 45°, Little Rock, AR: 50°, Shreveport, LA: 51°, Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: 51°, Jackson, KY: 51°-Tied, Washington, D.C.: 52°, Charlotte, NC: 54°-Tied and Lake Charles, LA: 56°.
Thunderstorms developing along a stationary front produced very heavy rain in the central U.S. Thunderstorms during the late morning and afternoon produced 5 to 9 inches of rain around Lincoln, NE, with an unofficial total of 11 inches near Holmes Park. Up to 6.5 inches of rain soaked northern and western Iowa. Shenandoah, IA, reported 5.89 inches of rain causing basement flooding in 80-90% of the homes.
Philadelphia, PA broke its record for most days over 90° when the temperature reached the 90 degree mark for the 50th time. The previous record was 48 days set in 1988.
Fresno, CA received a trace of rain. This is the only day during the month of September that Fresno has recorded any measurable rain.
A severe thunderstorm rapidly developed over the south end of the Las Vegas Valley in Nevada and moved north focusing damaging winds and heavy rain mainly across the eastern half of the metro area. High winds toppled trees in Henderson and downed power lines. Rainfall amounts of 0.75 to 1.20 inches fell in less than 30 minutes in many locations producing widespread street flooding. Henderson Executive Airport recorded wind gusts of 80 mph. Air traffic control personnel temporarily evacuated the airport tower, but no damage was reported.
Approximately 15 homes and trailers in Moapa were severely damaged by thunderstorm winds estimated at 80 to 90 mph. Flash flooding also occurred and caused some roadway erosion.
Flagstaff, AZ recorded its 18th day in a row with measurable precipitation, a record for that location. 3.72 inches of rain fell during the period.
Exceptionally heavy rains over the Sahel region in Africa during late August and early September caused flooding that affected regions of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. The flooding was responsible for at least 15 deaths and destroyed thousands of homes.
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