This Date in Weather History

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In this daily podcast, you’ll learn something new each day. AccuWeather Meteorologist, Evan Myers takes a look back on weather events that impacted this date in the past, uncovering history that were shaped by unbelievable weather conditions.


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    Latest episodes from This Date in Weather History

    1975: 34" of snow falls in Red River, NM

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 3:11

    Red River, New Mexico area has a rich history. Indigenous Apaches established settlements in the region hundreds of years ago. Fur trappers and prospectors moved into the area as they named River City, as Red River was first called. Hundreds of gold, silver and copper mines were carved into the mountain with names like Golden Treasure, Silver King and Black Copper. Red River's population soared. There were stores, a livery stable, two newspapers, a sawmill, blacksmith shop, barber shop, more than a dozen saloons, several hotels and boarding houses, a dance hall and a hospital. The mines played out eventually, but soon homesteaders outnumbered prospectors. The town gained new momentum by renting abandoned mining cabins to flatland visitors seeking refuge from the heat. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, ski areas soon started to develop. In those days without artificially made snow Red River and indeed ski resorts across the world relied on natural snowfall. Some locations fared well – but others would suffer from snow droughts and be ruined. Snow making in the United States started mainly in the eastern states after World War II. In the west, in places like Red River, snowmaking was still a novelty in 1975. On November 29, 1975, the ski season started off with a bang when 34” of snow fell setting up a great start to the ski season and also but the 34” also set a New Mexico state record for a 24-hour snowfall. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1973: Violent weather breaks out in Southern US

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2021 1:59

    On November 28, 1973, warm, humid air moving northward from the Gulf of Mexico out ahead of a strong cold front fed violent weather in the lower Ohio Valley and all across the southern United States. Tornadoes and flash floods killed 3 people and injured more than 600 during the day. 9 twisters touched down in southern Louisiana, northern Alabama, and Tennessee. Hundreds of houses and trailer homes were destroyed as the cold front blasted into Georgia and the Carolinas. Huntsville, Alabama was hardest hit - winds were clocked at 94 mph before the weather instruments broke. Extensive flooding occurred in southern West Virginia. Warm air surged northward ahead of the storm system as temperature readings reached close to 70 as far north as Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York City. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1898: The Portland Storm

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 27, 2021 2:00

    The famous "Portland" storm struck off Cape Cod on November 27, 1898 with loss of 200 lives in strong winds and heavy wind whipped snowfall across southern New England. Many were lost in 50 small vessels to the raging sea off the coast. 27” of snow fell in New London, CT. 15" at Waterbury, CT. A peak wind of 72 mph was recorded at Boston. Boston received more than 12” of snow... then 5” more fell on November 30th to give them their deepest ever Nov. snow depth at 16". Boston Harbor filled up with shipwrecks. Block Island had an estimated gust to 98 mph. Docks in Boston Harbor where also torn up disrupting shipping commerce for weeks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1983: Icy conditions lead to pileups on the Queen Elizabeth Way

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2021 2:23

    The Queen Elizabeth Way – better known as the QEW is the major super highway that runs from Niagara Falls across southern Ontario to Toronto, Canada's largest city and one the world's major metropolises. Each day hundreds of thousands of travelers, computers and others travel the highway. On November 26, 1983 a bitter cold airmass had settled in over the region. Lingering moisture held close to the ground from a storm just a few days earlier. Meanwhile a bank of low clouds formed, it was the perfect setup for fog to form. Fog began to appear just as rush hour started. The fog formed a thin layer of moisture that quickly froze, the result was black ice – invisible to drivers at first. Treacherous morning rush hour conditions resulted caused a more than 100-car pile-up and closed the QEW for hours. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1950: The Great Appalachian Storm

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2021 3:47

    On November 25, 1950, one of the greatest November storms in recorded North American History blasted the eastern half of the United States and Canada with unprecedented early season snow and cold, paralyzing the region for more than a week and causing untold damage and suffering. Cold air had been scarce in the lower 48 states in November, but was building to prodigious proportions across the artic. It was unleased southward in a bitter blast that would even be extreme in the depths of winter let along November. Caused by a huge wave action high in the atmosphere in the jet stream those high-level winds plunged southward right out of the Yukon. On the eastern side of the continent the wave action cut off into a swirling ball of winds that spawned a monster storm. Known as The Great Appalachian Storm, it achieved the region's greatest sustained wind force when gales continued at many points for 12 hours or more. At coastal cities, such as Newark and Boston, single minute speeds in excess of 80 mph were registered. Peak gusts were recorded of 110 mph at Concord, NH, 108 mph at Newark, NJ, and 100 mph at Hartford, CT. Atop Mt. Washington a wind gust hit 160 mph from the SE early on the 26th. Central Park in the heart of sheltered Manhattan Island set an 80-year record with fastest mile of 70 mph. There were 34 deaths across New York State. Heavy flooding rains along coast. The snowfalls were equally as extreme almost 28” in Pittsburgh. Toronto had its greatest one-day November snowfall of a foot and in Steubenville Ohio snow piled up to a depth of more than 36” – 3 feet! Roads were blocked and roofs collapsed. Just behind the storm came some of the coldest temperature of the winter. Both Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee dipped to 1 below zero the earliest below zero reading on record. In Atlanta the mercury dropped to 2 above, and despite sunshine the afternoon high temperature only reached 17. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1863: The Battle Above the Clouds

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 4:18

    Lookout Mountain rises 1700 feet above the Tennessee Valley, its steep sides protruding to the sky. The northern end the mountain is surrounded on three sides by a near vertical rock wall that has afforded protection to the occupants of the top for hundreds of years. The mountain is known for a weather phenomenon that occurs from 3-5 times a year. A layer of fog forms around the bottom of the Mountain then begins to rise, sometimes engulfing the entire mountain. This rising fog has been written about since the first European settlers visited the area before 1735. On November 24, 1863, during the height of the Civil War, this very weather situation set in, just as Union forces were closing in on the city of Chattanooga nearby and set up what would be known as the Battle of Lookout Mountain or more famously known as The Battle Above the Clouds. "Clouds enveloped the entire mountain" wrote Union General John Geary before the attack. Confederate General Edward Walthall, whose Mississippians made up part of the Rebel line would write that he detected Geary's movement at about 7:30am but before he could tell where the Union commander was headed "a mist obscured the valley" at about 8:00am. Geary was headed to the site of an old dam, where his engineers would build a bridge. By 8:00am the bridge was complete enough to send about 20 Union soldiers from 3 companies across to form a bridgehead. Stealth and the fog were on their side as they captured 42 Confederate pickets without firing a shot. At 9:30am the Geary's attack began in "thick fog" on the mountainside. The Union commander also noted that the fog in Lookout Valley had risen. The fog prevented Union General Hooker's artillery from joining the fray. Around 11:00 the clouds lifted to the point that the artillery could tell Rebel from Yankee and opened fire, even though the cloud bank was returning. One Union artillery man later compared it to "...a fire and cloud-capped Sinai." Reports from the battle notes that "...the enemy threw grenade and shell over the cliffs, and the fire of their sharpshooters was so galling that we must inevitably have lost many men but for a dense cloud that enveloped the mountain top about noon." The New York Times on Nov. 30, 1863, mentions the notable fact that in Gen. Hooker's fight up the slopes of Lookout Mountain, "much of the battle was fought above the clouds, which concealed him from our view, but from which his musketry was heard." The fog allowed more Union advances as the rebels became confused and it helped the union win an important victory that brought all of Tennessee under Union control and lead the road to Atlanta wide open for Union forces and eventually Sherman's March to the Sea. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2010: Golf ball-sized hail causes massive damage in Chicago area

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 1:51

    On the night of November 22, 2010 violent thunderstorms erupted from Chicago, IL to Springfield, MO. These storms raged into November 23, 2010 and downed trees and power lines with some wind gusts in excess of 60mph. Some of the hail that fell was as big at golf balls, causing massive damage to parked cars and car lots housing used and new autos, resulting in millions of dollars of damage to windshield and car bodies. Torrential downpours plagued the Chicago area with more than an inch of rain, triggering flash flooding. Tornadoes tore through northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, heavily damaging several buildings. Three people were injured from damage several miles east of Loves Park, IL. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1963: The Assassination of JFK

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 2:41

    President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on Friday, November 22, 1963. There was a chance that the horrific events of that day might not have happened at all had the weather been different. The day started out grey and overcast as the President arrived at the Airport in Dallas early that morning. A small amount of rain had fallen first thing in the morning with more forecast likely later in the day. That would have likely meant that a plexiglass bubble would have been used on the President's 1961 Lincoln Convertible to keep him and the First Lady dry. Those coverings were generally bullet-proof. As the motorcade was set to leave for the cross-town journey at 11:50am the weather turned bright and sunny and even warm for late November. The temperature climbed to near 70. Because of the break in the weather and the crowds that where lining the street the President decided not to go with the Plexiglas covering. Since the ride would only take less than an hour President Kennedy wanted to be able for the crowds to see him. Just as the motorcade slowed as it drove through Dealey Plaza at 12:30pm before turning onto a road that would allow the motorcade to speed up shoot rang out killing the 35th President of the United States and seriously injuring Texas Governor John Connally. Had the weather remined cloudy with light rain the whole scenario might never have taken place. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1970: Double-barreled storm brings snow and thunderstorms

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 21, 2021 2:54

    A double-barreled autumn storm hurled snow over the northern Midwest and unleashed violent thunderstorms from the Ohio Valley to the Gulf Coast on November 20, 1970. 5" of snow fell in Rochester, MN. 4” fell in Mason City, IA. Heavy snow and drove temperatures to near 0 along the Canadian border. Up to 10” of snow blanketed Cut Bank, MT where the mercury sank to 3 above zero at midnight. Blowing and drifting snow hampered travel in eastern Washington and northern Oregon. Meanwhile, high winds in western New York State caused window breakage and widespread power outages. In the Buffalo area, winds felled trees and electrical wires. Three radio stations in Buffalo suffered a 32-minute interruption of service. One person was hospitalized after being struck by an up-rooted tree. Wind driven waves from Lake Erie spilled onto Route 5 in Athol. Seneca Falls was without power for 2 hours. A severe thunderstorm watch involved portions of a half-dozen states from Kentucky to Georgia. Funnel clouds were sighted during the night at two locations in the Memphis area. Hail pelted Evansville, IN. Tornadoes skipped across parts of Arkansas causing considerable damage, and 16 persons were hospitalized when a tornado swept through Moro and Oak Forest, AR in Lee County. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2016: Major lake-effect event strikes East coast

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 20, 2021 1:53

    A major lake-effect event set up starting late on November 19, 2016 and continued more prominently through the 20th. The heaviest total reported was in Redfield, New York at 54.5 inches. Other significant totals include Osceola at 48 inches, Binghamton at 27.6 inches, Syracuse at 25.1 inches and Watertown at 18.0 inches. Interestingly this event was preceded by record warmth. Watertown hit 72 on the 19th breaking the record of 70. But the heavy snowfall put an end to thoughts of a lingering warm autumn, roads were closed in many areas for a better part of a week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Arctic cold outbreak leads to record temperatures in East US

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 1:44

    An early-season arctic cold outbreak on November 19, 2008, led to records being broken, both for overnight lows and daytime highs all across the eastern part of the United States. Worcester, MA had a high of only 29 degrees. Even as far south as Saint Simons Island, GA there was a record cold day, with a high of only 50 degrees. Killing frost and freezes were felt in the deep South and with a strong wind accompanying the cold many marginal plants and vegetation didn't stand a chance putting an abrupt end to the growing season all the way to the Gulf coast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1421: Storm on European coastline causes 10k fatalities

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 2:49

    On November 18, 1421, a storm in the North Sea slammed into the European coastline. Over the next several days, approximately 10,000 people in what is now the Netherlands died in the resulting floods. tells us the lowlands of the Netherlands near the North Sea were densely populated at the time, despite their known vulnerability to flooding. Small villages and a couple of cities had sprung up in what was known as the Grote Waard region. The residents had built dikes throughout the area to keep the water at bay, but fatal floods still struck in 1287, 1338, 1374, 1394 and 1396. After each, residents fixed the dikes and moved right back in. Even the St. Elisabeth's flood of November 1404 (named after the November 19 feast day for St. Elisabeth of Hungary), in which hundreds died, could not dissuade the residents from living in the region. Seventeen years later, at the same time of year, another strong storm struck the North Sea. The resulting storm surge caused waves to burst hundreds of dikes all over Grote Waard. The city of Dort was devastated and 20 whole villages were wiped off the map. The flooding was so extensive this time that the dikes were not fully rebuilt until 1500. This meant that much of Zeeland and Holland–the area that now makes up the Netherlands–was flooded for decades following the storm. The town of Dordrecht was permanently separated from the mainland in the flood. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2013: Severe weather outbreak in Great Lakes and Midwest

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 1:53

    November 17, 2013 was a difficult day for many people across the Midwest and Great Lakes region with a major outbreak of severe weather that is usually associated with the Spring season. All told there were over 750 reports of severe weather incidents and of those 136 reports were from tornados. Of the remaining reports there were 579 from wind and 42 from hail. The storm damage extended far and wide from eastern Iowa and Missouri eastward to New Jersey. The worst of this day was in Washington Illinois, a suburb to the east of Peoria. This is where an EF4 tornado moves through destroying several homes. This tornado was responsible for 122 injuries and 1 fatality. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2003: Mild temperatures alter moose migration

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 2:50

    The moose is the largest of all deer species, standing about five to six and a half feet tall. Moose require habitat with adequate edible plants; grasses, young trees and shrubs, cover from predators, and protection from extremely hot or cold weather. Moose travel or migrate among different habitats with the seasons to address these requirements. Moose are cold-adapted mammals with thickened skin, a dense, heat-retaining coat, and a low surface volume ratio, which provides excellent cold tolerance but poor heat tolerance. Moose survive hot weather by accessing shade or cooling wind, or by immersion in cool water. In hot weather, moose are often found wading or swimming in lakes or ponds. When heat-stressed, moose may fail to adequately forage in summer and may not gain adequate body fat to survive the winter. Also, moose cows may not calve without adequate summer weight gain. Moose require access to both young forest for browsing and mature forest for shelter and cover. Forest disturbed by fire and logging promotes the growth of fodder for moose. Moose also require access to mineral licks, safe places for calving and aquatic feeding sites so they do move from season to season. The autumn season of 2003 was quite mild across northern Canada and on November 15 as the moose started their migration trek from Northern Quebec to the Labrador Sea it stalled car and truck traffic. Moose had to use the highways because the ground was not frozen due to unusually warm weather. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2006: Tornado outbreak in the Gulf Coast

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2021 2:08

    As autumn approaches winter the severe weather season usually grinds to a halt. Hot and humid weather is pushed south into Mexico and the Gulf and the dynamics to spawn severe thunderstorms and tornados is quickly on the wane. Temperature contrasts from the Earth's surface to the upper atmosphere take on a winter time aspect. But still, severe weather outbreaks occasionally happen and often times just as people are letting down their guard. On November 15, 2006 there was such a Tornado Outbreak. A tornado with a total path length of just over 6 miles long and 250 yards wide, damaged several buildings in Montgomery, Alabama. Six people were reported injured in East Montgomery. Several other tornados were reported across southeast Alabama into southwest Georgia. Moderate damage occurred in Fort Benning, Georgia along a path 1.5 miles long and 150 yards wide; six people injured. A tornado in Riegelwood, North Carolina demolished several homes with eight fatalities reported. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1969: Lightning impacts the launch of Apollo 12

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 14, 2021 3:55

    Apollo 12 was the sixth crewed flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon. It was launched on November 14, 1969. Apollo 12 launched on schedule from Kennedy Space Center, under completely overcast rainy skies, encountering wind speeds of 174.6 mph during ascent, the highest of any Apollo mission. Lightning struck the Saturn V rocket 36.5 seconds after lift-off, triggered by the vehicle itself, discharging down to the Earth through the ionized exhaust plume. Protective circuits detected overloads and took all three fuel cells offline, along with much of the command service module or CSM instrumentation. A second strike at 52 seconds knocked out more equipment. However, the Saturn V continued to fly normally; the strikes had not affected the guidance system, which functions independently from the CSM. The loss of all three fuel cells put the CSM entirely on batteries, which were unable to maintain normal 75-ampere launch loads on the 28-volt DC bus. These power supply problems lit nearly every warning light on the control panel and caused much of the instrumentation to malfunction. Electrical manager John Aaron remembered the telemetry failure pattern from an earlier test when a power supply malfunctioned in the CSM signal conditioning electronics which converted raw signals from instrumentation to standard voltages for the spacecraft instrument displays and telemetry encoders. Aaron made a call which switched the SCE to a backup power supply. The switch was fairly obscure, but Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean, flying in the right seat as the spacecraft systems engineer, remembered the SCE switch from a training incident a year earlier when the same failure had been simulated. Aaron's quick thinking and Bean's memory saved the mission. Bean put the fuel cells back on line, and with telemetry restored, the launch continued successfully. The lightning strikes had caused no serious permanent damage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2014: 7-day cold streak comes to an end in Chicago, IL

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2021 1:53

    Wintry cold is certainly a feature of November, especially across the northern plains, Rockies and Great Lakes in the United States. Usually though, persistent arctic cold is not the rule. In fact, the average is for temperatures in that region to remain cold in the first half of the month of November for a short time of just a day or two, perhaps three. On November 13, 2014 an amazing stretch of early winter cold came to an end. Readings on that day reached a high temperature of 32 degrees in Chicago ending a 7-consecutive-day streak of sub 32 Degrees high temperatures. The below freezing cold lasted 180 consecutive hours, or more than 7 days in a row, that stands as a record for November. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1911: Buffalo, NY sets record high and low on the same day

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 12, 2021 2:31

    On average less than 10 record high and low temperatures are set in any one location each year and for most locations the average is less than 5. Of course, the length of time that records have been kept has a major impact on this. Many locations in the United State have kept high and low temperature records for more than a century. Philadelphia's records are about 150 years old. The longest continuous record keeping of record high and low temperatures belongs to Hadley Centre in England. In 1659 they first started the record daily high and low temperatures and have not stopped since. In the United states a record for heat or cold is set once every other month. It is an unusual occurrence. But on November 12, 1911 in Buffalo, New York a remarkable thing happened, a record high and low on the same day. 69 degrees just after midnight on the 12th was the highest ever recorded on that date, then a strong cold front came through and dropped the temperature to 22 degrees late that evening. Both records. Two in one day. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1987: The Veterans Day Storm

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2021 2:15

    On November 11, 1987 and major snowstorms struck the nations' capital. During the Veteran's Day Storm almost a foot of snow fell at National Airport. Prince Georges County, MD was hard hit with up to 13 inches of snow falling in a short amount of time. It caught motorists off guard and stranded cars on the Capital Beltway. There were so many cars that snow plows could not get through to open the clogged arteries. Cars littered the roadway for more than 24 hours. The event precipitated the development of the Washington Metropolitan Area Snow Plan to facilitate preparedness and response to future storms. The storm struck before the days of lightning detection networks and Doppler weather radar. Thunderstorms began dumping heavy snow over Fredericksburg VA, then the storm moved northeast across the southern Metropolitan area and fast accumulating snow hit Camp Springs. The result was a singular localized event. Outside of the Washington DC immediate area not more than a few inches of snow fell from the storm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2009: Tropical Storm Ida's impact on gas prices

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 2:15

    Tropical Storm Ida made landfall near Mobile, Alabama during the morning hours of November 10, 2009. According to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, about 30 percent of oil production in the Gulf was shut down on the 9 as Ida neared the Gulf Coast. Port Alabama, AL reported a wind gust of 62 mph while West Mobile, Al and Destin, FL had wind gusts of 43 mph as Ida came ashore. Soaking rain from Ida spread from Alabama into Southern Virginia and the Carolina's. The following are some daily rainfall records were set. But the biggest impact occurred because of those shutdown oil rigs causing the price of oil to spike for the next week or so as gasoline prices soared. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1913: The Great Lakes Storm

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 2:53

    On November 9, 1913 the Famous Great Lakes Storm hit and 270 lives lost. Buffalo had 80 mph winds; Cleveland 22.2" of snow; Pickens, WV had a 36" snowfall; Pittsburgh 12.5" of snow. The Great Storm of November 1913 has been celebrated as the "Freshwater Fury" in several books and many articles as the most disastrous in the area's history. The storm began at Port Huron, MI at 2am on November 9, 1913 and reached maximum force around 4pm when the wind rose to an extreme speed of 62 mph from the north. At Cleveland, OH the wind averaged 50-mph for most of the day, and the extreme was 79 mph. Buffalo had a peak wind of 80 mph from the southwest. The depth of the storm was indicated by the lowest barometer of 28.61" at Erie, PA. Ten large ships of 300 feet or more lost, seven more were total wrecks on reefs, and ten additional were severely damaged in a grounding across the Great Lakes. At least 270 sailors were lost, and countless others were badly injured or crippled by exposure. The storm was accompanied by below freezing temperatures and gave Cleveland its biggest single snowstorm - 22.2". Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1870: The First-issued storm warning in US history

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2021 3:50

    The history of weather observations and weather information in North America is certainly older than the arrival of Europeans to the western Hemisphere. Native indigenous peoples had been astute observers of the weather for centuries. Building seasonal clocks and monuments to help track the changes in temperatures and rainfall, Native peoples across the Southern part of what would become the united States were prodigious farmers and relied heavily of seasonal patterns. Founders of the Republic from Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Jefferson were keen recorders of the weather and tried their hand at weather forecasts. More organized approaches were left for a later era. Starting in 1849 the Smithsonian Institution supplied weather instruments to telegraph companies and establishes extensive observation network. Observations submitted by telegraph to the Smithsonian, where weather maps are created. By 1860, 500 stations are making regular observations. In 1869, Telegraph service, instituted in Cincinnati, began collecting weather data and producing weather charts. The ability to observe and display simultaneously observed weather data, through the use of the telegraph, quickly led to initial efforts toward the next logical advancement, the forecasting of weather. However, the ability to observe and forecast weather over much of the country, required considerable structure and organization, which could be provided through a government agency. In 1870, A Joint Congressional Resolution requiring the Secretary of War "to provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent, and at other points in the States and Territories...and for giving notice on the northern lakes and on the seacoast, by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms" was introduced. Congress passed the resolution and on February 9, 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law. A new national weather service had been born within the U.S. Army Signal Service's Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce that would affect the daily lives of most of the citizens of the United States through its forecasts and warnings for years to come. The on November 8, 1870 the First storm warning by U.S. Signal Corps weather service was issued for Great Lakes area by Prof. Latham of Milwaukee marking the first ever official weather forecasted warning issued in the United States. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1940: The Collapse of the Tacoma Narrows bridge

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 7, 2021 4:32

    The first Tacoma Narrows bridge was locally known as “Galloping Gertie,” since its slender design lacked stabilizing girders, causing it to twist and bounce in the wind. The bridge opened on July 1, 1940, after 29 months of construction and $18 million invested. On the first day of operations, 2,053 crossed the bridge after an inaugural parade of vehicles led by Gov. Clarence D. Martin and Tacoma Mayor Harry P. Cain. But Gertie's life would be short-lived. A little over four months later, on Nov. 7 of the same year, the bridge collapsed during a massive windstorm. The high winds struck the Tacoma-Narrows Bridge at a critical angle and caused vibrations to set up, which eventually collapsed the bridge. Maximum wind speed, 31 mph in downtown Tacoma; probably higher over Puget Sound. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, with a main span of 2,800 feet was the third-longest suspension bridge in the world at that time, Because planners expected fairly light traffic volumes, the bridge was designed with two lanes, and it was just 39 feet wide. This was quite narrow, especially in comparison with its length. With only the 8-foot-deep plate girders providing additional depth, the bridge's roadway section was also shallow. The decision to use such shallow and narrow girders proved to be the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge's undoing. With such minimal girders, the deck of the bridge was insufficiently rigid and was easily moved about by winds; from the start, the bridge became infamous for its movement. A mild to moderate wind could cause alternate halves of the center span to visibly rise and fall several feet over four- to five-second intervals. This flexibility was experienced by the builders and workmen during construction, which led some of the workers to christen the bridge "Galloping Gertie". The nickname soon stuck, and even the public felt these motions on the day that the bridge opened on July 1, 1940. The failure of the bridge occurred when a never-before-seen twisting mode occurred, from winds at 40 miles per hour. This is a so-called torsional vibration mode, whereby when the left side of the roadway went down, the right side would rise, and vice versa simply put the two halves of the bridge twisted in opposite directions, with the center line of the road remaining motionless. This vibration was caused by aeroelastic flutter. Fluttering is a physical phenomenon in which a structure becomes coupled in an unstable oscillation driven by the wind. Eventually, the amplitude of the motion produced by the fluttering increased beyond the strength of a vital part, in this case the suspender cables. As several cables failed, the weight of the deck transferred to the adjacent cables, which became overloaded and broke in turn until almost all of the central deck fell into the water below the span. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1953: Sudden snowstorm strikes Philadelphia

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 6, 2021 2:14

    On the morning of November 6, 1953, AccuWeather Founder and CEO Joel Myers peddled his bicycle to school in Philadelphia wearing only a thin jacket. He said that “Just a few days before the temperature had been in the seventies but then it was about 50 degrees. The radio mentioned colder weather and chance of a snow flurry in the afternoon ... well it began to snow by noontime and by mid-afternoon we were in the midst of a tremendous snowstorm ... big flakes and gusty winds. After school I pushed my bicycle home through heavy blowing snow as winds gusted to 50 miles an hour, and temperatures fell below freezing. By the next morning... snow accumulations across eastern Pennsylvania ranged from 3-30". Officially a little less than 4” of snow fell in Philadelphia but that was still enough to make it a record snowfall for so early in the season, the far northern and western suburbs were paralyzed by almost 30” of heavy wet snow that took a week to clean up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1992: Verkhoyansk, Russia records a high of -46°F

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2021 3:44

    Verkhoyansk, Russia is notable chiefly for its exceptionally low winter temperatures and some of the greatest temperature differences on Earth between summer and winter. Average monthly temperatures range from 50 below zero F in January to almost 62 F in July. Average monthly temperatures are below freezing from October through April but climb above 50 °F from June through August, with the intervening months of May and September constituting very short transitional seasons. Verkhoyansk is located within the Arctic Circle. The lowest temperature recorded there, in February 1892, was 90.0 °F below zero, recorded on February 5 and 7. Only Antarctica has recorded lower temperatures than Verkhoyansk. In this area temperature inversions consistently form in winter due to the extremely cold and dense air, so that temperatures increase rather than decrease with higher altitude. In Verkhoyansk it sometimes happens that the average minimum temperatures for January, February, and December are below −58 ° F. Verkhoyansk is one of the only two permanently populated places in the world that have recorded temperatures below −76.0 °F every day of January.  In its short summer, daytime temperatures over 86 °F are not uncommon. On June 20, 2020, Verkhoyansk recorded a temperature of 100.4 °F, yielding a record temperature range of 190.4 °F based on reliable records, and that is the greatest temperature range in the world. It was also the highest temperature above the Arctic Circle ever recorded. Only a handful of towns in Siberia and Canada have temperature ranges of 180 °F or more. Verkhoyansk has never recorded a temperature above freezing between November 10 and March 14. On November 5, 1992 warm weather in Verkhoyansk was a fleeting thought with a morning low of -51 degrees, high of -46 degrees. The daily average temperature was 27 degrees below normal. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1927: The greatest natural disaster in Vermont history

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 3:04

    The flood of November 3-4, 1927, stands as the greatest natural disaster in Vermont history. Devastation occurred throughout the state, with 1,285 bridges lost, countless homes and buildings destroyed, and hundreds of miles of roads and railroad tracks swept away. The flood waters claimed 84 lives, including that of the Vermont Lieutenant Governor at the time, S. Hollister Jackson. Rainfall during the month of October averaged about 150 percent of normal across the state. In northern and central sections, some places received 300 percent of normal. Heavy rainfall periods during October were separated enough so flooding did not occur. Instead, the rain caused the soil to become saturated. Combined with the lateness in the year and the fact that most vegetation was either in, or near, seasonal dormancy, any further rainfall would runoff directly into the rivers. This is exactly the scenario that led to Vermont's greatest disaster. Rain began on the evening of November 2, as a cold front moved into the area from the west. Rainfall continued through the night with light amounts being recorded by the morning of the 3rd. Rainfall intensity increased during the afternoon of the 3rd as a storm moved up along the east coast. This storm contained huge amounts of moisture associated with the remnants of a former tropical storm. A strong southeast flow developed off the Atlantic Ocean. This moisture-laden air was forced to rise as it encountered the Green Mountains, resulting in torrential downpours along and east of the Green Mountains on November 4. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2002: Dense fog causes traffic accidents in S. California

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 2:11

    Southern California is often subject to thick moist flows off the Pacific Ocean. The contrast of chilly ocean waters and relatively warm and dry land, especially in the autumn months often brings a marine layer of low laying and thick fog. Often times this can blow in off the ocean quickly. Sometimes the mist and fog are able to burn off fairly quickly if the temperature inversion – or what is defined as a warmer layer of air trapped above cooler moist air at the surface is able to break . Sometimes that doesn't happen and it remains murky and damp with very low visibility. On November 3, 2002 dense marine fog rolled into the Los Angeles area just before sunrise and the result was an awful morning compute. 194 vehicles were involved in 2 pileups on I-710, with that dense fog to blame. Remarkably, no deaths occurred, bit it took the better part of the day to clean up the pile up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1819: 7" of snow falls in New York City

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 2:36

    In early America and even in the first half century of the establishment of the Republic the ability to move around in snow was fraught with obstacles. The best way was with sleighs, wagons wheels were removed and long strips of metal or more usually wood, were attached to the wagons to run along the ground. Deeper powdery snow was ideal for movement just like for a skier. This idea worked well in the countryside and even along most rural roads where there was little traffic. This kind of transport worked even if the snow was slushy, icy or even muddy. In cities, not so much, because of the traffic ripping us the still mainly unpaved streets. What was most hoped for then was that powdery snowfall. On November 1, 1819, 7” of snow fell across New York City. New York at the time was the largest city in the United State and the only US city with more than 100,000 in population topping out at 120,000. It had become the center of American life and business, so it was important to get around. The powdery snowfall was ideal – except for one thing – it came too early in the season. No part of the transportation system was ready for such an early season snowfall – powdery or not – and wagon and carriages were not able to make to switch from wheels to tracks and so transportation came to a halt for several days. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1972: Autumn storm brings cold and snow to central plains

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2021 2:17

    November typical brings the first widespread wintry weather of the season to the United Stated and in 1972 the month didn't waste any time getting started. A severe autumn storm moved out of the Southern Rockies into the central plains leaving in its wake heavy snow, flooding and zero degree cold. Heavy snow fell in Denver. More than 10” on rain in 3 days pushed the Hickory Creek out of its banks in the Neosho area of southwestern Missouri. Residents of low-lying areas in the town of 8,000 were evacuated. One person drowned at Poplar Bluff, in SE Missouri, when a 3 1/2-inch downpour triggered local flooding. The mercury dropped to near zero in the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico where snows measured a food and a half deep impeding travel. Temperatures dropped to near freezing in the deserts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1963: Philadelphia reaches 28 consecutive days without rain

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2021 2:18

    1963 was a relatively dry year in the City of Philadelphia. Rainfall was less than 35” or more than 5” below normal. Usually the autumn along the eastern seaboard is dry with few showers or largescale storm systems. Caught in between the thunderstorm season of the Spring and Summer and the strong cold fronts and wintry storms, October can feature warmish to chilly days with plenty of sunshine. In fact, the major source of rain in the autumn is the occasional tropical system that will move up the east coast with rain thrown westward into the Delaware Valley where Philadelphia is located. When Tropical storms or Hurricanes don't materialize the autumn can be very dry indeed. On October 3, 1963, Philadelphia did receive a few rain showers as a storm moved by to the south, then for the rest of the month – not a drop of rain. When the books closed on the month on October 31, 1963 it marked the end of 28 consecutive days with no rain in the City of Brotherly Love – a record that stands to this day. On November first, it rained.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1948: The "Donora Smog"

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 30, 2021 4:33

    According to the Donora, Pennsylvania Historical Society and Smog Museum's web site: “As the week of October 24, 1948 began, the nearly 14,000 people of Donora paid little attention to the dense heavy fog covering the town. The cool to cold autumn nights combined with warm water from the Monongahela river and smoke from the local steel mill, namely the Zinc Works blast furnace and open hearth, as well as thousands of coal furnaces in local homes, would typically limit visibility until afternoon. As the week wore on, residents began to realize this fog was anything but typical. By Thursday, October 28, streetlights were on during mid-day and people walking the streets were struggling to find their way.  Soon, many elderly people began to complain of breathing difficulty, thousands were ill, and houseplants began to shrivel. Then, on October 30 1948, people began to die. Donora physicians worked around the clock, treating victims as best they could against a mysterious pathogen. The Donora Board of Health set up an emergency aid station and temporary morgue in the basement of the Community Center. Volunteer firemen felt their way door to door, administering oxygen and attempting to get people help. Management at the mill refused to believe or admit that the waste they were emitting caused the problem; after all, it was the same thing they had been doing for over thirty years. In less than three days, thousands of people were impacted, hundreds of people fell sick, twenty-six people were dead, along with dozens of animals. Who knows how many more followed in the weeks, months and years to come that are not counted among the twenty-six.  On October 31, rains finally dispersed the killer fog, but left the nation in shock. The dead and sick were not only from Donora but also from the neighboring communities of Webster and Sunnyside that were down wind and across the river. The Federal, State and Local governments, along with numerous universities and scientists, investigated. Sulfur dioxide emissions from U.S. Steel's Donora Zinc Works and its American Steel & Wire plant were frequent occurrences in Donora. What made the 1948 event more severe was a temperature inversion, in which a mass of warm, stagnant air was trapped in the valley. The pollutants in the air mixed with fog to form a thick, yellowish, acrid smog that inhibited the normal process where the sun would burn off the fog. This smog hung over Donora for five days. The sulfuric acid, nitrogen dioxide, fluorine and other poisonous gases that usually dispersed into the atmosphere were caught in the inversion and continued to accumulate until rain ended the weather pattern.. The best way to sum up the event is a quote by W. Michael McCabe "Before there was an Environmental Protection Agency, before there was an Earth Day before Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, there was Donora."  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2012: Hurricane Sandy

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 29, 2021 4:03

    On October 29, 2012 Hurricane Sandy slammed ashore north of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy's devastating storm track is a rare one among hurricanes; a new statistical analysis estimates that the track of the storm — which took a left-hand turn in the Atlantic before slamming into the East Coast — has an average probability of happening only once every 700 years. The storm's near-perpendicular strike on the coast was a major factor in the severe flooding seen in New York, New Jersey and other nearby states. But the rareness of the storm's track doesn't mean that the coast is safe from other severe storms. Don't have a misimpression that we don't have to worry, that it's going to be 700 years until we have another surge, it's just an average and could happen again next year or next decade. Hurricane Sandy caused about 150 deaths, along with billions of dollars in damage when it hit the Caribbean and the U.S. East Coast in late October 2012. The storm's power came from a combination of factors, including its large size while out at sea and a full moon that made tides 20 percent higher than normal, both of which ramped up Sandy's storm surge. Researchers also pointed to weather patterns that affected Sandy's track. A region of high pressure blocked Sandy from taking a more common track out over the western North Atlantic, forcing the storm into the coast. Sandy also interacted with a mid-level, low-pressure system in the atmosphere, which helped push the storm along its unusual track. To study the rarity of Sandy's track, Columbia University mathematicians had to use a model to generate synthetic tropical cyclones. The researchers could not rely on previously recorded data, as Sandy's trajectory and near-direct impact on New Jersey was unprecedented in the historical record. The researchers' statistical model generated millions of these synthetic hurricanes, which were then used to determine rates for landfall. Most of the tracked landfalls in the model grazed the coast before veering out into the Atlantic. Sandy, by contrast, hit the coast at an angle of just 17 degrees from perpendicular, almost perfectly crisscrossing the typical storm track. The sustained winds toward the coast from the direct path is continually pushing a wall of water onto the coast, and results in a greater surge magnitude, compared to more typical in-land winds sweeping along the coast. This large surge pushed huge amounts of water onto streets in Manhattan. The peak water level, the surge plus the tide at the Battery, Manhattan's southern tip, was 14 feet above the average low tide level. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2008: Powerful storm dumps snow on Northeast

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 2:11

    A potent coastal storm slammed the Northeast with strong winds, soaking rains and burying snow on October 28, 2008. The snow fell from New Jersey to Vermont with the heaviest amounts exceeding a foot. The weight of the snow, combined with the howling winds brought down tree limbs and power lines. The winds, alone knocked down trees from southern New England to the New York area. Snow totals reached 20 at Slide Mountain New York, a foot at Middleburgh, Pennsylvania and 16” at Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. Wind gusts reached 66 mph at Cape May New Jersey, 54 mph at Harrisburg, PA and 52 mph at Syracuse New York.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1692: 6" of snow falls in Paris, France

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 2:03

    Accumulating snow is a fairly rare event in Paris, France. Snow is recorded on an average of just 15 days a winter and when it does snow it usually does not accumulate. Moisture heavy enough to produce more than an inch or two of snow occurs when a major storm sweeps in off the Atlantic ocean – but those storms are usually powerful and bring in mild air from off the ocean in addition to the moisture. Colder air must be in place from the east - usually originated in Russia. Occasionally in the middle of the winter that occurs and every few years a couple inches of snow fall. The Parisians say no city looks prettier than Paris in the snow. On October 27, 1692, 6” of snow fell on the City of Light – in one of the earliest measured snowfall before or since. I am sure the city looked great – but with no way to remove the snow I am sure it was quite messy ad hard to move about. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1919: Temperature reaches -10°F in Bismarck, ND

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2021 2:23

    In October, as the length of sunlight begins to fade across the upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere, cold air begins to build across the arctic. Snow is not uncommon and the depth and coverage of the snowpack is an important element in helping to build a reservoir of cold air across the region. The cold air strengths and is triggered southward by large wave patterns in the high atmosphere. In the later days of October 1919 heavy snows fell across the Yukon and other areas of northern Canada. Cold air built quickly and was released southward in the last week of the month. And so, it came to pass that on October 26, 1919 that arctic blast reached Bismarck, North Dakota and the mercury plunged to 10 below zero, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Bismarck in the month of October and the earliest, up to that time that the temperature dropped below zero. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1918: The sinking of the SS Princess Sophia

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2021 2:58

    The SS Princess Sophia sank on Oct. 25, 1918, with estimates of the death toll ranging up to 367. No one on board survived, save one pet dog who swam to shore. The ship was one of four coastal liners operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway, all named for princesses. The Princess Sophia had departed Skagway, Alaska, on Oct. 23, 1918, with stops planned in Juneau, Wrangell and Ketchikan before going to Prince Rupert, Alert Bay and eventually Vancouver. The following day at 2 a.m., just south of Skagway and 40 miles north of Juneau, the Princess Sophia struck a reef. Slightly off course in bad weather of fog and snow, it was going full steam, rode up onto the rocks and struck aground. The great ship remained stuck for 40 hours, enough time for rescue boats to arrive. But stormy conditions and high tides made it too risky to abandon ship. Rescue boat crews chose to return to port and come back the following day, the 26th, when weather was expected to improve – when the rescue boats returned – the ship was gone – only bits of wreckage floated on the surface. The Princess Sophia had been lifted off the reef and sank, leaving no survivors. The bad weather had not only caused the wreck, but prevented the rescue. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2005: Hurricane Wilma

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 24, 2021 2:15

    Hurricane Wilma made landfall as a Category 3 system near Key West, and later near Everglades City, Florida On October 24, 2005. Wilma had earlier made landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 4 system. Wilma, the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, reached a low pressure of 26.04 inches, surpassing the previous Atlantic record holder of Gilbert. Wilma, the first Atlantic storm to use the letter “W” formed as a Tropical Depression southwest of Jamaica on October 15th, becoming a hurricane on October 18th and later becoming the 5th Category 5 hurricane of the season. Wilma produced a storm surge of 4' to 8', flooded portions of the Keys dropped 10 tornadoes over Florida and yielded 3” to 7” of rain across Florida. Wilma directly was attributed to 5 deaths in Florida, knocked power out to 98 percent of  South Florida and produced an estimated $12.2 billion in damage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1978: The Gale of '78

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 23, 2021 1:57

    In 1878, a storm formed near Jamaica then became a Category 2 hurricane and moved right up the East coast. The center passed east of Florida, then came ashore in eastern North Carolina on October 23, 1878 and stayed inland until it turned almost straight east over the southern parts of Vermont and New Hampshire. There was extensive damage from the Carolinas to New England, and more than 71 people were killed. This storm came to be known as the Gale of '78. A storm in modern times with a track like the Gale of ‘78 would be disastrous in the Middle Atlantic states, threatening death and serious injury and causing billions of dollars in damage. Hurricane Hazel in 1954 took a similar track, all the rest of the hurricanes with somewhat similar tracks occurred in the 19th century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1969: Early-season heavy snow strikes New England

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 1:57

    Late October often brings northern New England its first taste of the winter season with cold weather and snow. Even though some of the mountainous regions may receive a few inches of snow it's usually not much more than a nuance. On October 22, 1969 cold air was firmly in place as a storm moved up the east coast of the United States. The result was an early season heavy snowstorm; the heaviest and earliest in New England in almost 50 years. Rochester, Vermont had 12"; with even more in mountain areas. Some Vermont ski resorts actually had limited skiing on the 23rd. The 5.1" at Burlington, VT was a 24-hour October record. Portland, ME had an early season record of 3.6". Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1988: Hurricane Joan causes locusts to cross Atlantic

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 2:03

    An area of thunderstorms formed on the west coast of Africa in mid-October 1988 just as swarms of locusts were inundating the region. The storms had loosely held together until they reached the central Atlantic Ocean a few days later were conditions where favorable for further tropical development. The system rapidly developed into Tropical storm and then Hurricane Joan. Winds high in the atmosphere carried Hurricane Joan across the Atlantic to Dominica, St. Lucia, Jamaica, and other nearby islands. In addition to heavy rains, Joan brought those islands something else from the sky on October 21, 1988, locusts. Apparently carried into the atmosphere by winds blowing from those thunderstorms that formed on the African coast days earlier, the locusts survived the trip across the Atlantic and found a new home in the Caribbean. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1991: The Diablo Fire

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 3:17

    On October 20, 1991, the hills across the bay from San Francisco were cloaked in smoke. Flames moved up the steep slopes of Oakland and Berkeley, California, What became known as the Diablo Fire had started on Saturday, October 19, from an incompletely extinguished grass fire in the Berkeley Hills. Firefighters fought the 5-acre fire on a steep hillside and by Saturday night they thought it was under control. The fire re-ignited as a brush fire shortly before 11 a.m. on Sunday, October 20 and rapidly spread southwest, driven by wind gusts up to 65 mph. It quickly overwhelmed local and regional firefighting resources. By 11:30 a.m., the fire had spread to the nearby Parkwoods Apartments. Shortly before noon, the fire had been blown up to the top of Hiller Highlands to the west, from where it began its sweep down into the Hiller Highlands development and the southern hills of Berkeley. Burning embers from houses and vegetation were carried ahead of the fire line by torrid winds and started new blazes ahead of the original burn. Within thirty minutes the fire had crossed both Highway 24, an eight-lane freeway, and Highway 13, a four-lane freeway, eventually igniting hundreds of houses in the Forest Park neighborhood. The hot, dry northeasterly winds, dubbed as “Diablo winds” " in reference to the Diablo Mountain range and surrounding geography of same name, periodically occur during the early fall season. These are similar to the Santa Ana wind in Southern California, and have been the cause of numerous devastating fires. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1961: Heavy snow over the southern West Virginia mountains

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 2:06

    Heavy rain fell across West Virginia on October 19, 1961 as a strong storm moved up the east coast. At the same time cold air was moving southward through the Great Lakes region and into the Ohio valley. Because the storm was moving slowly the cold air moved in behind the storm before it moved away and out to sea. The rain changed to a record early, heavy, wet snow over the southern mountains of West Virginia – several places in the high terrain got more than a foot of the white stuff. Leaves were still on the trees, resulting in the worst forest disaster since forest fires in the state in 1952. Reports from the time said that “It got on the power lines and froze and broke some of those. The trees had such heavy loads of snow and leaves on them. They fell down across the roads and across the power lines.” Thousands had no power for weeks until it was restored. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1910: The opposite of a "Storm Surge" occurs

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2021 2:41

    A strong Hurricane battered western Cuba in the middle of October 1910. The system then headed northeastward across southern Florida dumping heavy rain and causing high water to inundate southeastern Florida with water many feet above sea level. Many of the barrier islands that today house cities like Miami Beach where covered over with water – but there was little built up on those islands and so damage was minimal. One strange impact of the hurricane was that because it moved very slowly with strong constantly blowing winds from the direction of the northeast all across the region, that on the west coast of Florida the wind then was blowing away from the land and so the opposite of a storm surge occurred. On October 18, 1910 the wind actually blew the water out of Tampa Bay and the Hillsboro River and pushed it into the Gulf of Mexico. The water level lowered to 9 feet below average low water; and there was little water left for several hours in the river and Tampa Bay, 40 ships were grounded. It was the exact opposite of a storm surge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1781: A sudden storm hastens British defeat at Yorktown

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2021 3:22

    Early on the morning of October 17, 1781, Lieutenant General Charles, Lord Cornwallis, found himself hunkered down in a cave near the southern shoreline of the York River. Above him was the disintegrating town of Yorktown, Virginia, now being systematically bombarded into rubble by American and French cannon fire. Cornwallis understood that imminent surrender was the certain fate of his entrapped military force, an army that consisted of about 8,000 British, Hessian, and loyalist soldiers, in addition to their wives and even children. An attempted breakout had failed just hours before. A sudden storm disrupted an effort to move his army northward across the York River to Gloucester Point—and possible escape. Now with the ground continually shaking all around him, Cornwallis prepared to order a white flag hoisted above his battered entrenchments. The weather most certainly did not determine the entire outcome of the battle, but it hastened the British defeat. This was not the first time that the weather impacted the Revolution and almost each time in favor of the rebels. From the sudden fog that provided cover and allowed Washington and his troops to evade capture after the battle of Long Island, to the victories in the snow at Trenton and the mud of Saratoga. By the afternoon of October 19, the British officers and soldiers laid down their arms. Their drummers and fifers, with black ribbons attached to their instruments, played various tunes. Legend has persisted that one was the mournful melody “The World Turned Upside Down.” Whether true or not, Yorktown turned the world upside down for the colonists' former masters and, as such, represented a defining moment of triumph in the American experience. The war continued in the West Indies and other parts of the globe into 1783, but Yorktown set in motion a train of diplomatic events that resulted in Britain's official recognition of American independence. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2009: Early snowstorm dumps several inches on Northeast US

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 16, 2021 2:02

    An early snowstorm dropped several inches of snow through portions of the Northeast on October 16, 2009. Normally snow during this time of year easily melts on most surfaces with ground and air temperatures usually above the freezing mark. To overcome this, in order for snow to pile up, it has to snow very hard and that is what it did. In Coudersport, PA 10” of snow fell. Other Pennsylvania cities like Wellsboro and Haneyville had 8” of snow. Nearly 3” fell in South Vestal, NY. Lesser amounts fell in other places, but in most of these areas early snowfall records were broken. Since the snow arrived this early there were still leaves on the trees leading to several power outages and downed tree limbs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1954: Hurricane Hazel

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2021 3:45

    It has been 67 years since powerful Hurricane Hazel made landfall close to the North Carolina/South Carolina border near Myrtle Beach, S.C., on the morning of Oct. 15, 1954. The storm wreaked havoc across the eastern United States and Canada on its way to the record books. Hazel is considered one of the worst natural disasters in North Carolina's history, and one of the most destructive hurricanes to impact the U.S.. The National Hurricane Center, says Hazel made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with wind gusts up to 150 mph. Records for the most rain ever received in one calendar day in October were set in Greensboro, N.C., with 6.24 inches and in Pittsburgh, Pa., with 3.56 inches. Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City all recorded their highest wind gusts on record at 94 mph, 98 mph and 113 mph respectively. Winds were actually sustained above hurricane force in Washington DC at 78 mph. Wind gusts were measured at 100 mph on the shore of Lake Ontario in northern New York. The storm's winds remained so strong inland as it traveled north at an amazing 55 mph and reached Ontario, Canada, that night. The hurricane was the strongest ever to strike so far to the north. All fishing piers from Myrtle Beach to Cedar Island, N.C., were destroyed and 15,000 homes and structures were destroyed in North Carolina alone. The devastation along the North Carolina beaches was enhanced as Hazel made landfall during the full moon of October, which was the highest lunar tide of the year. Storm surge reached a remarkable 18 feet in some locations, wiping out beaches. Dozens of people were killed in the U.S. and Canada. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1988: Thick ice hinders migration of gray whales

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 2:03

    Very cold weather had firmly established itself across the Arctic in the late summer and early autumn of 1988. Ice began forming almost 45 days earlier than normal on the regions close to the Alaskan and Siberian coast lines. This impeded coastal travel much earlier than in a normal season. It also disrupted the seasonal migration of wildlife. On October 14, 1988 off the coast of Alaska, a thick layer of ice had already formed along the north shore that blocked the southward migration of California gray whales near Point Barrow, Alaska and could have had disastrous effects on those whales. So, on that day American and Russian rescuers worked together and cleared a passage to the open sea and prevented the whales from drowning. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1777: The Battle of Saratoga

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2021 4:17

    The Battle of Saratoga occurred in September and October, 1777, during the second year of the American Revolution. It included two crucial battles, fought eighteen days apart, and was a decisive victory for the Continental Army and a crucial turning point in the Revolutionary War. After a failed Canadian invasion left much of the Continental Army beaten, sick and in retreat, the British hoped to quash rebellion once and for all by isolating the New England colonies. They also hoped to discourage potential American allies such as France from joining the fight. To accomplish this, the British Redcoats needed to take upstate New York and then control the Hudson River. In the spring of 1777, the British ordered three of their armies to merge in Albany, New York. Only one army, however, commanded by General John Burgoyne, made the final push toward its destination. Waiting for them was the heavily-fortified Northern Department of the Continental Army, commanded by General Horatio Gates. The opposing armies came face to face on September 19. Known as the Battle of Freeman's Farm or the First Battle of Saratoga, the fierce fighting lasted for several hours. Momentum changed sides several times, but neither side gained significant ground until Burgoyne ordered his column of German troops to support the faltering British line and forced the Americans to pull back. Still, the British suffered twice the number of casualties than the Americans and couldn't continue their drive to Albany. Burgoyne decided to stay put and wait for reinforcements from New York City. In the meantime, the number of Gates' American troops increased to over 13,000 and continued to grow. By October 7, with supplies dwindling fast, Burgoyne realized waiting for backup was in vain. He sent out a reconnaissance force to attack the American's left flank in the wooded area of Bemis Heights, south of Saratoga. The Americans got wind of the movement, however, and beat back the British and sent them into retreat – winning the day. Burgoyne decided to take his army north to safety, but heavy rain and frigid temperatures slowed their retreat On October 13, 1777. Within two days, Gates' soldiers surrounded what remained of Burgoyne's army and they surrendered. The news of the first defeat of a large British army sent shockwaves around the world and ultimately brought the French into the War on the side of the Americans turning the tide and helping secure American independence – all aided by nasty weather.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    2006: Buffalo, NY pounded by lake-effect snow

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 2:21

    For roughly 16 hours on October 12 2006, the city of Buffalo, NY, was pounded by an unprecedented lake-effect snow event. An unusually cold air mass flowing over the warm waters of Lake Erie set up the small-scale, but severe event. The waters of Lake Erie were a mild 62 degrees, three degrees above normal for October 12. After the snow ended the morning of the 13th the final snowfall tally at the Buffalo airport was 22.6“. That amount of snow easily surpassed the previous all-time October record of 6“ set in 1909 and went down in history as the 7th greatest snowfall total ever in Buffalo. Other snowfall totals included 24“ at Depew and Alden, 22“ in Amherst, 15“ in Downtown Buffalo and 14“ in West Seneca. The heavy weight of the snow caused the worst tree damage in memory across the region, especially in the many historic parkways and parks in Buffalo. Almost a million residents lost power. Some people had to sit in the dark for as long as a week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1737: Hurricane and earthquake strike India

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2021 2:30

    On October 11, 1737 a furious hurricane hit the mouth of the Ganges river near Calcutta, India. At the same time there was a violent earthquake, which threw down a great many houses along the river just as the hurricane approached, many communities nearby had most of their buildings destroyed by the earthquake and then the hurricane hit. Because of the damaged infrastructure and wreckage from the earthquake, the hurricane was devastating. Estimates were made that the water was pushed up the Ganges river all the way into Calcutta at a height of 40 feet – totally destroying the city that at the time numbered more than 25,000 people. Most ships in the river were capsized and then washed well inland. The flood waters from the hurricane spread over the vast inland plain of what is now parts of India and Bangladesh. The result of hurricane and earthquake was one of the greatest natural disasters in world history. More than 300,000 people are thought to have perished. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    1989: Temperature falls 20 degrees in 10 minutes in Alberta

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 10, 2021 1:43

    Winter often comes early to the plans of western Canada. Cold air builds up in the artic regions and plunges southward unhindered through the vast flatlands. Many times this leads to quick changes in temperatures and more importantly the weather. On October 10, 1989 across the Canadian province of Alberta Temperatures dropped from the middle 60's into the 40's in just 10 minutes with the passage of a strong cold front. Powerful winds with the front took down trees and power lines. Reduced visibility due to windblown dust led to a 14-car pileup in near zero visibility near Bassano. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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