Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weather History: May 4: Record Temps, Storms, Tornadoes, Wind & Snow

Weather History: May 4: Record Temps, Storms, Tornadoes, Wind & Snow, A storm produced snow from Philadelphia, PA to Maine. A foot of snow fell near Keene, NH, and in Massachusetts, 9 inches fell at Waltham, located near Boston.

1907

Record cold occurred across parts of the upper Midwest. Record low temperatures for May were recorded at Fayette, IA: 18°, Charles City, IA: 20°, and Viroqua, WI: 23°. Other daily record lows included: La Crosse, WI: 27°, Des Moines, IA: 26° and Waterloo, IA: 22°.

1917

A spring snowstorm in northwest Texas produced up to 8 inches of snow in Potter County and Armstrong County.

1922

Austin, TX was hit twice by tornadoes which struck within 30 minutes of each other. The first, referred in local newspapers as the "western cloud", was F2 in intensity and injured 5 people. The second was far more damaging as it killed 12, injured 50 others, and did $500,000 in damage. This tornado caused F4 damage.

1952

Record heat occurred across parts of the upper Midwest as temperatures soared in the 80’s and 90’s. Daily record highs included: Sioux City, IA: 93°, Moline, IL: 93°, Chicago, IL: 92°, Rockford, IL: 92°, Kansas City, MO: 92°, St. Louis, MO: 92°, La Crosse, WI: 91°, Columbia, MO: 91°, Madison, WI: 90°, Springfield, IL: 90°, Milwaukee, WI: 89°, Green Bay, WI: 89° and Springfield, MO: 89°.

1961

At least 10 tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma, including a large tornado near Cheyenne that was observed from many surrounding communities. One person was killed and more than 20 farmsteads were severely damaged or destroyed by a tornado that tracked from just west of Geary, to south of Kingfisher. One farmstead was struck by two tornadoes within 5 minutes. This tornado outbreak occurred exactly one year after an outbreak that produced a dozen tornadoes across Oklahoma on May 4th, 1960.

A multiple vortex tornado struck Trombe d'Evereau, France killing one person and injuring 100 others along a five mile path.

1971

Tragedy struck the village of St-Jean-Vianney, Quebec Canada when heavy rains caused a sinkhole 1,800 feet wide and 92 feet deep to appear in a residential area. The crater/mudslide killed 31 people and swallowed up 35 homes, a bus and several cars.

1977

A strong F3 tornado 500 yards in width struck Pleasant Hill, MO severely damaging the high school and grade school. Only minor injuries were reported among the more than 1,000 teachers and students due to excellent warnings and prior tornado drills.

1978

An F3 tornado moved in from the Gulf of Mexico and tore a path of devastation through the High Point section of Pinellas County in Florida. The path length was only 1.5 miles but three people were killed, 94 others were injured, and damage totaled $43 million dollars.

1987

Thunderstorms produced severe weather in the southeastern U.S., with South Carolina hardest hit. Thunderstorm winds toppled trees seventy feet high in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, and knocked homes off their foundations near Bishopville, SC.

1988

Thunderstorms produced large hail in North Carolina, but brought welcome rains to much of the rest of the east. Residents of New England finally saw sunshine after about a week of clouds and rain.

1989

A severe thunderstorm complex developed in the northern Texas Panhandle during the late afternoon and raced southeastward. Large hail and extreme wind damage occurred along a continuous path nearly 900 miles ending in southern Louisiana. Storms produced powerful downburst winds with speeds up to 75 mph in Tensas Parish, LA and tennis ball sized hail hammered areas of Morehouse Parish, LA. 10 tornadoes also touched down along with 340 reports of large hail or damaging winds. Hail 3 inches in diameter and 9.39 inches of rain resulted in more than $130 million dollars damage at Monroe, LA. Winds gusted to 100 mph at Epps, LA and at Fort Worth, TX. Reports of continuous lightning displays were widespread.

1990

Thunderstorms produced severe weather from the Lower Ohio Valley to Virginia and the Carolinas. A tornado at Augusta Springs, VA killed two people and injured ten others, and another tornado caused $1.7 million dollars damage at Colonial Heights, VA.

Record heat occurred across parts of California. The high of 98° in downtown Sacramento was their hottest reading of record for so early in the season. Other daily records included: Redding, CA: 100°, Stockton, CA: 98°, Long Beach, CA: 92° and Eureka, CA: 76°.

1996

Golf ball size hail caused significant crop damage across northern Manatee and southern Hillsborough counties in Florida. 77% of the tomato crop and 90% to 100% of the cucumber, bell pepper, and green bean crop were severely damaged or destroyed. Losses were estimated at over $18 million dollars.

1998

Two tornadoes occurred during the late afternoon hours in the San Francisco Bay area. An F2 tornado touched down near Sunnyvale, CA, remaining on the ground for about 12 minutes. A second tornado, an F1, caused one injury as it moved across the campus of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, CA. Both twisters were significant not just because of their rarity, but because they were rotating counter-clockwise. Most tornadoes rotate clockwise in the northern hemisphere.

1999

At approximately 1:49 PM, a F3 tornado destroyed a double-wide trailer home near Tiffin, MO. Although winds associated with the tornado were estimated between 158 and 206 mph as it destroyed the trailer home, the extreme winds were relatively brief where most of the winds were around 100 mph. A storm survey was conducted the next day which confirmed the tornado touchdown. The tornado initially downed trees just north of highway 82 near the intersection of OO highway. The tornado skipped across an open field and increased in intensity before striking and completely destroying the modular home, spreading debris nearly a mile away.

2001

During the early morning hours an earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale occurred centered 15 miles northeast of Conway, AR. The quake was felt as for north as Springfield, MO and as for west as Tulsa, OK.

2002

Road signs and four power poles were blown down when a tornado crossed Highway 350 in West Texas. Numerous severe thunderstorms developed on the evening of the 4th across the Permian Basin. The most intense activity was across the eastern basin where three supercell storms moved parallel to Interstate 20 producing large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes. Damage resulting from a weak tornado was observed on Highway 350 southwest of Ira in southern Scurry County. Two tornadoes were observed in northern Mitchell County just before midnight along with hail to the size of baseballs. Damage from the tornadoes was limited to downed power poles. As the dryline retreated west across the basin other storms formed in the western basin. These storms were less organized, but produced dime size hail. Damage was estimated at $100,000 dollars.

NASA launched a $952 million weather satellite equipped to measure the movement of moisture as it cycles through the atmosphere, land and sea. The satellite takes the equivalent of 400,000 balloon measurements each day. The information will help meteorologists improve weather forecasts and study climate change.

2003

The week of May 4th through the 10th was the most active week of tornadoes in U.S. history. On this date through the 5th, the deadliest outbreak of severe weather since May 1999 produced 84 tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds across eight states. The outbreak first occurred across the Kansas City area from late afternoon into the evening of the 4. Several thunderstorms became tornadic with a total of five distinct tornado touchdowns in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Two of the tornadoes received a rating of F4, two a rating of F2, and the last was rated was rated F1. Total damage exceeded 144 million dollars. Several of the tornadoes tracked long distances ranging from 15 to 80 miles. More than 3000 homes and businesses were damaged. At least 38 people were killed in Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee.

Spring snow is not uncommon, but rarely so heavy across the province of Alberta, Canada. This storm buried Iddesleigh under 22 inches. Other totals included Brooks, Suffield and Jenner: 8 to 14 inches. Medicine Hat: 8.7 inches, Lethbridge: 4.3 inches, Red Deer: 5 inches and Edmonton: 3 inches.

2007

A destructive tornado hit Greensburg, KS, the first 5 rating on the new Enhanced Fujita Scale and the first 5 classification since 5/3/1999 when an F5 tornado ripped through Moore, OK. There were 12 tornadoes that evening from Clark and Comanche Counties to Edwards and Stafford Counties during a 4 hour period, one a little over 2 miles wide. Two of the tornadoes existed for over one hour as they churned up the ground, leveling homes and causing fatalities along their path. Miraculously, only 13 people perished, 11 in Greensburg. Over 90% of the town of Greensburg was literally wiped off the face of the Earth. Another round of tornadoes occurred the following day across the same general area. Nearly 250 pivot irrigation sprinklers were damaged or destroyed during the 2-day outbreak. Due to the number of sprinklers involved and the lack of replacements, some farmers would be out of service for over one year.

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