MAY WEATHER HISTORY FOR 1ST - 10TH
Charlie Wilson Wilmington Weather ExaminerSubscribeSponsor an Examiner A member of the American Meteorological Society,
Charlie Wilson has combined his knowledge of Meteorology & Weather History with his Education background in Communications.
(Ref. Charlie Wilson Weather History)
Which state has the warmer all-time high temperature record, Alaska or Hawaii? It is a tie. The warmest temperature ever recorded in Alaska is 100° which occurred 6/27/1915 at Fort Yukon.
The warmest temperature on record for Hawaii is also 100° which was set on 4/27/1931 at Pahala. Record low temperatures are a different story. The United States record low temperature of -80° was recorded 1/23/1971 at Prospect Creek, AK. By contrast the coldest temperature on record in Hilo, HI is 53° set in 2/21/1962.
The Great New England Flood followed 66 hours of steady rain. The Connecticut River crested at Hartford at its highest point ever to that time. The high water mark would be exceeded in 1936.
The Washington Evening Star published the first national weather roundup. Observations from 19 telegraph stations were collected by volunteers who were part of the Smithsonian Institution's cooperative network.
Cleveland Abbe, Director of the Cincinnati Astronomical Observatory hoped that he would help his facility achieve a place among the great observatories of the world by providing weather forecasts to the public. On this date, he shared his vision with his staff. Abbe would issue his first forecast, the Daily Weather Bulletin, later that year. Weather forecasting in the United States was born.
Sedgewick and Harvey counties in Kansas hard hit by a tornado that was reportedly one mile wide. The total path was 22 miles. 8 people died and 25 were injured. 25 farms were completely destroyed.
The coldest May temperature ever recorded in Wichita Falls, TX occurred on this date as the temperature only reached 36°. The May record of 36° was later tied on 5/3/1954 and on 5/12/1979.
A tornado with F3 damage skipped from two miles south of Holmen, WI to Tomah, WI. Most of the damage was north of West Salem, WI and the west and north edges of Sparta, WI. Homes and barns were destroyed. 15 injuries resulted and damage estimates were $150,000 dollars. In addition to this tornado, two tornadoes causing F2 damage occurred. The first tornado moved east from southeast of Ettrick, WI to near Melrose, WI. Cottages and barns were leveled in the South Beaver Creek valley. 10 people were injured in one home. Estimated damage costs were $50,000 dollars. The second F2 tornado moved through Westby, WI. Losses in the business district were about $100,000 dollars as 35 buildings were damaged or destroyed. A nine-year old boy was killed by a flying store front as he ran for home. Also, 11 people were injured.
The most deadly tornado in Louisiana's history struck Minden. 28 people were killed and 400 were injured. 500 homes were damaged or destroyed with $1.3 million dollars in damage. The tornado reportedly sounded like "mad lions on a speeding train".
Snow, ice and sleet brought winter back to parts of southeast Minnesota. Minneapolis received 3 inches of snow to tie their May record which was established in 1892.
The earliest 100 degree high temperature in Las Vegas, NV was reached on this date. The official high temperature was 102°.
The temperature at Polebridge, MT dipped to -5° to establish a state record for the month of May.
The temperature only reached 31° atScottsbluff, NE. This still stands as the latest day in spring that the temperature remained below freezing there.
Dense fog was observed at Bakersfield, CA, the latest such occurrence on record.
An unusually late snowfall was observed at Dulles Airport, VA, Philadelphia, PA and Baltimore, MD. All three reporting stations reported a trace.
Fort Wayne, IN's all-time May low temperature: 27°.
A May Day snowstorm drops 4 inches of snow at Lansing, MI.
A blizzard was in progress across the Dakotas. Wind gusts reached 70 mph at Dickinson, ND. 16 inches of snow fell at Lemmon, SD and 30 inches was reported in the northern Black Hills of South Dakota. Frequent vivid lightning displays also accompanied this storm.
Big Bear Lake, CA dipped to 18°; tying with 5/8/1964 for lowest May temperature. Edwards Air Force Base, CA dropped to 32°, the latest freeze on record. Other record lows included: Idyllwild, CA: 23° and Palm Springs, CA: 44°.
Many record low temperatures occurred across the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region. Record lows for the date included: Jump River, WI: 12°, Mauston, WI: 18° (Coldest May temperature), Madison, WI: 19°, Green Bay, WI: 25°, Youngstown, OH: 25°, Detroit, MI: 26°, Flint, MI: 26°, Mansfield, OH: 26°, Platteville, WI: 26°, Rockford, IL: 27°, Akron, OH: 28°, Toledo, OH: 28° and Columbus, OH: 30°.
Victorville, CA hit 100°, the earliest 100 degree reading on record while Big Bear Lake, CA had a record high of 77°.
A tornado outbreak produced 9 separate tornadoes that caused F2 and F3 damage in Osage, Warren, St. Charles and St. Louis City counties in Missouri and Greene, Jersey, Madison, and St. Clair counties in Illinois. The outbreak was responsible for 49 injuries, and over $30 million dollars in damage.
Several tornadoes occurred in the eastern St. Louis metropolitan area. The strongest originated in Missouri and moved across the Mississippi River, passing through Granite City and Edwardsville. This storm caused $400,000 damage. Another tornado near Lebanon injured 20 people. Further north, a tornado in Greenfield injured 15 people and caused extensive damage.
Thunderstorms produced large hail and heavy rain in Texas. Baseball size hail pounded Dublin, and 3.75 inches of rain soaked the town of Brady.
Strong southerly winds ahead of a cold front crossing the Rocky Mountain Region gusted to 90 mph at Lamar, CO. High winds created blinding dust storms in eastern Colorado, closing I-70 east of Denver and roads around Limon. The temperature at Denver plunged from a high of 76°at midday to 36°at midnight as light rain changed to light snow.
Thunderstorms produced heavy rain in the southeastern U.S. Rainfall totals of 1.84 inches at Charlotte, NC and 2.86 inches at Atlanta, GA were records for the date. Strong thunderstorm winds uprooted trees in Twiggs County, Georgia.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather from northern Alabama to North Carolina. There were 63 reports of large hail or damaging winds, with hail 4 inches in diameter reported near Cartersville, GA.
Late night thunderstorms over central Texas produced up to 10 inches of rain in southern Kimble County and northern Edwards County.
A few cities in the southeastern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date as readings warmed into the 90s. Jacksonville, FL reported a record high of 96°.
A strong cold front crossed the area producing severe thunderstorms, two of which spawned two small tornadoes. A tornado touched down in Eden in Erie County. Several dozen trees were downed or damaged. Another tornado touched down in the Town of Java, Wyoming Co., and was embedded in a larger area of strong downburst wind. About thirty trees were damaged or destroyed in the mostly wooded area. The thunderstorm winds uprooted trees and downed power lines across the area. A small plane parked at Monroe County Airport, Rochester, was overturned.
Severe thunderstorms moved through Madera, Fresno and Tulare Counties, spawning an F0 tornado near the Fresno fairgrounds causing minor damage. Hail at least ¾ inch in diameter caused locally heavy losses to fruit crops in eastern Fresno County.
Record low temperatures for the date were broken in the Deep South. Mobile, AL dropped to 46°, Miami fell to 58°, Miami Beach bottomed out at 61°, and Vero Beach dropped to 47°, all new records. Other stations in Florida also set record cold maximums for the date, including 61° at Jacksonville and Daytona Beach with 66°.
This was an unusual year for tornadoes in the central United States, as most outbreaks occurred during the first two weeks of the month. A record breaking 384 tornado's occurred in 19 states during these first two weeks, which resulted in 42 fatalities. Included in these record breaking events were the tornados which hit the Oklahoma City metropolitan area for two day.
Heavy wet snow fell across southeast Montana through the 2nd. Snowfall accumulations included: Ekalaka: 26 inches, Alzada: 12 inches and Sonnette/Lame Deer: 10 inches. Widespread power outages were reported in Powder River and Carter Counties.
A tornado struck Port Royal Island, South Carolina. It left a path 400 yards wide, tore up trees by the roots, and carried away houses and bridges.
A storm buried Havre MT under 24.8 inches of snow, an all-time record for that location. The water equivalent of 2.48 inches was a record 24 hour total for the month of May.
A group of tornadoes occurred in Rogers, Mayes and Cherokee Counties in Oklahoma killed 64 people. An F4 tornado destroyed the town of Peggs, OK killing 71 people. This total is so tragic since it represented 30% of the town's population.
Virginia's worst tornado disaster occurred. Six tornadoes, two of which were west of the Blue Mountains, killed 22 people. Twelve children and a teacher were killed at Rye Cove, in Scott County. Four schools were destroyed by the storms.
6.1 inches of snow fell at Springfield, MO, their latest big snow on record.
A trace of snow fell on this date in Raleigh, NC, their latest snow on record.
A major late season snowstorm struck the Arrowhead of Minnesota, leaving 18 inches of new snow at Virginia.
Record chill hit parts of North Carolina. Charlotte dropped to 32° and Greensboro & Raleigh fell to 29°; all records for May.
An amazing range of temperatures occurred at Juniper Lake OR. After a morning low of 0°, the afternoon high soared to 81°. This same dramatic range of temperatures would happen every day from the 1st to the 5th.
Six tornadoes occurred in western New York killing three people. A large part of the town of Booneville, NY was destroyed. Damage there totaled $15 million dollars. A total of 20 tornadoes were reported across New York, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, killing five people. Eight tornadoes affected southern Ontario in Canada, injuring twelve. Golfball size hail accumulated to a depth of 6 inches at Pine City.
Thunderstorms in the Lower Mississippi Valley produced golf ball size hail in northern Louisiana, and wind gusts to 77 mph at Lake Providence LA. Thunderstorms in Arkansas produced 4.20 inches of rain at Arkadelphia and 4.00 inches at Bismarck.
A powerful storm produced snow and high winds in the Central Rockies and the Central High Plains Region. Snowfall totals in Colorado ranged up to 12 inches at Strasburg, and winds in southeastern Colorado gusted to 87 mph at Lamar. Snow and high winds created blizzard conditions in eastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming.
Thunderstorms developing to the north of a warm front produced severe weather in Oklahoma and Texas. There were 93 reports of severe weather. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 80 mph at Beattie, and baseball size hail was reported at Ranger and Breckenridge.
JuneauAK reported a record high temperature of 72° while Honolulu equaled their record low for the month of May with a reading of 60°.
Many cities in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina reported record high temperatures for the date as readings soared into the 90s. Tampa FL reported a record high of 97°and Fort Stewart GA was the hot spot in the nation with a reading of 100°.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather from northeastern Texas to western Arkansas during the evening and early nighttime hours. Thunderstorms spawned a tornado which injured thirteen people at Paris, TX, and produced baseball size hail at Rio Vista, TX. Thunderstorm rains of 4 to 7 inches caused flash flooding in west central Arkansas, southern and eastern Oklahoma, and northern Texas.
A chilly start to May for the Sunshine State as more record lows fell by the wayside across Central and South Florida. Tampa dropped to 52°, St. Petersburg-Clearwater fell to 56°. Both these readings were all-time record lows for May.
Devastating flash flooding struck the Tug Fork River that separates Kentucky and West Virginia for the second time in ten months. The river crested twenty feet above normal after heavy rains fell during a short time period over the mountainous region. At least six people died in the flooding. Several counties in West Virginia were declared disaster areas. In Fort Gay, WV, thousands were left without water after millions of gallons of coal waste spilled into the town's drinking supply, the third such occurrence in just three years.
Locarno, Magadino, Switzerland recorded 60 consecutive hours of rainfall ending at 0600z May 4th totaling 19.4 inches.
Late season snow blanketed the Texas Panhandle. Amarillo recorded 4.7 inches.
Large tornadoes swept through the harbor at Charleston, SC when a British fleet of 40 sails was at anchor. It raised a wave 12 feet high, leaving many vessels on their beam ends. Four people drowned.
A major snowstorm was reported in areas from Virginia to New York. Severe frost was reported as far south as North Carolina.
A major snowstorm occurred from Philadelphia, PA to Maine. 12 inches fell at Keene, NH and 9 inches at Waltham, MA.
A tornado traveled 15 miles across Warren and Knox Counties, northwest of Galesburg, IL. The small town of Ionia, in Warren County, was destroyed. 16 homes and two churches in the town were leveled, along with 30 homes elsewhere. The tornado killed six people and injured 40 others. Many of the casualties occurred during a church service, when the church roof was torn off and dropped onto the congregation.
Several powerful tornadoes ripped through portions of northwest Iowa. In Sioux County, an extremely violent tornado, at times 1,000 yards wide packing winds estimated at over 250 mph moved from three miles north of Ireton to two miles southwest of Hull hitting four schools. Two school houses several miles apart were leveled, killing teachers and students. The teacher killed at one of the schools was the brother of the teacher killed at the other school. Adjoining farms were also entirely destroyed with several deaths in homes. Amazingly, school children were carried for up to a half mile with many sustaining serious injuries. Two more strong tornadoes ravaged other portions of Sioux, Lyon and Osceola Counties destroying more schools and homes.
A tornado moved northeast from 3 miles northwest of Redfield through Ashton, SD. The tornado was estimated to be on the ground for about 5 miles. Several homes were unroofed and barns were destroyed. Tornadoes were also spotted in Minnehaha and Bon Homme Counties in South Dakota.
A lightning bolt knocked a couple and their horse unconscious at Fort Lawrence, Nova Scotia Canada, but all survived.
Record low temperatures occurred across the Plains and northern Rockies. Records for the month of May included: Sheridan, WY: 13° degrees, Miles City, MT: 15°, Billings, MT: 16° and Oklahoma City, OK: 32°.
The low of 28° tied the record low for the month of May at Liberal, KS.
Daily record lows included: Lewistown, MT: 16°, Cheyenne, WY: 20°, Clayton, NM: 24°, Falls City, NE: 31°, Hobart, OK: 32°, Burlington, IA: 32°-Tied, Springfield, IL: 35°-Tied, Little Rock, AR: 41°-Tied and Brownsville, TX: 56°.
Snow fell on three straight days from this date through the 5th across Lower Michigan. Record snowfall on this date included 1.3 inches at Grand Rapids.
This was the third of a four consecutive day warm spell from parts of the Midwest, Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley as temperature climbed into the 80’s and 90’s. Locations that reported record highs for the date included: Alexandria, LA: 96°, Chicago, IL: 92°, Iron Mountain, MI: 90°-Tied, Fort Smith, AR: 90°-Tied, Stevens Point, WI: 89°, Traverse City, MI: 88°, Gaylord, MI: 87°, Rhinelander, WI: 86°, Appleton, WI: 86°-Tied, Park Rapids, MN: 84° and Mt. Clemons, MI: 84°-Tied.
Late season snowfall of 3 to 7 inches covered Perkins, Corson and Campbell Counties in South Dakota. Lemmon reported 7 inches, and 6 miles SE of McIntosh had 6.5 inches. Main roads were very slippery and some rural roads impassable for about one day.
Many locations from parts of the Rockies to the Great Lakes and deep south endured record cold temperatures for the date. Many locations set record May lows in the upper Midwest including: Mondovi, WI: 20°, Rochester, MN: 21°, Austin, MN: 22°, Alma, WI: 24° and Waukon, IA: 24°.
Locations that set daily record lows for the date included: International Falls, MN: 11°, Huron, SD: 17°, Minneapolis, MN: 18°, Flagstaff, AZ: 19°-Tied, Traverse City, MI: 22°, Pierre, SD: 22°-Tied, Helena, MT: 23°, Ste. St. Marie, MI: 25°, Muskegon, MI: 26°, Grand Junction, CO: 29°, Albuquerque, NM: 34°-Tied, Birmingham, AL: 40° and Fort Smith, AR: 41°-Tied.
Persistent thunderstorms caused widespread flooding in southeastern Louisiana and extreme southeastern Mississippi. Rainfall totals of 10 to 13.5 inches were reported around New Orleans, LA causing the worst flooding in 30 years. The water depth reached 3 to 4 feet in several hundred homes, and total property damage was estimated at $100 million dollars. An oil storage tank was set afire at Covent, LA by lightning.
On this date through the next day, lines of severe thunderstorms associated with a cold front and strong low pressure system swept through northern and central Florida causing a variety of severe weather, resulting in three deaths and over 100 injuries. Tornadoes, lightning, high winds, hail, heavy rain and local flooding, high tides and beach erosion, funnel clouds and waterspouts were reported. Tides along the Gulf coast were two to 4 feet above normal. A squall line ahead of a fast-moving cold front spawned at least 11 tornadoes and many severe thunderstorms from Jacksonville to Lake Okeechobee as it moved down the peninsula.
Severe thunderstorms dumped 5.1 inches of rain on Keenesburg, CO in 45 minutes. 6 to 12 inches of hail piled up in Keenesburg/Hudson area with extensive damage to crops occurring. Snowplows were needed to clear the hail off of local roads.
The late President Reagan's star horse from his Death Valley Days, Sinbad the Sailor was struck by lightning and killed at Kanab, UT.
A powerful tornado ripped through Montgomery, AL killing 5 people and injuring 37 others.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Softball size hail was reported at Center Point, TX, and a tornado caused $3 million dollars damage near Satanta, KS.
Heavy snow blanketed the foothills of eastern Colorado, with 18 inches reported at Divide.
Thunderstorms brought much needed rains to the drought- stricken central U.S. Evening thunderstorms produced large hail in North Carolina. Baseball size hail was reported west of Mooresville, NC.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather in the Southern and Central Plains Region. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 72 mph at Graford, TX, and baseball size hail was reported at Graham and Lake Kemp, TX.
A stubborn late season storm slowly crawled across southern Colorado the first 3 days of the month producing heavy snow from the San Juan Mountains to the southeast plains. The storm produced up to 3 feet of snow in the higher elevations of southern Colorado, and 18 to 22 inches of snow along the eastern slopes of the Central Mountains of New Mexico. Pueblo, CO reported a record 10.6 inches of snow for the month as a result of the storm, and a record total for the winter season of 69.6 inches.
While it was snowing in Pueblo, record heat was occurring in California. Sacramento recorded a new high temperature of 93°.
Bismarck, ND reported 6.1 inches of spring snow.
26 reports of severe weather, including severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning, large hail, funnel clouds and waterspouts occurred from the Florida Panhandle to the Keys. The
most significant event occurred in Volusia County at Ormond Beach where a tornado touched down at intersection of I-95 and Highway 40 in northern Volusia County. It moved east, producing minor damage. The tornado intensified when it passed over the Holiday Village mobile home park just west of Ormond Beach, where it damaged 125 and destroyed 150 mobile homes. No serious injuries. Damage was estimated near $10 million dollars. The only injuries for the day occurred at St. Lucie in Martin County, where two firefighters were sent to the hospital after lightning struck the side of their truck while they were fighting a brush fire started by lightning. The largest hail, up to 3 inches, was reported in Palm Beach County.
Beginning on the afternoon on this date through the evening of May 4th, there was an outbreak of tornadoes from southwest Texas through southeast South Dakota. The most devastating part of this outbreak occurred during the late afternoon and evening, on this date,over Oklahoma and southern Kansas.
There were 63 tornadoes in Oklahoma, making this the worst outbreak ever to strike the state. In central Oklahoma alone, 8 individual supercell thunderstorms produced 57 tornadoes. One of the supercells produced an incredible 20 tornadoes and it tracked northeast across the state. 18 tornadoes were rated F2 or greater, including a monster F5 tornado that tracked through Grady, McClain, Cleveland, and Oklahoma Counties, doing extreme damage, killing at least 35 people, and injuring 748 others. Bridge Creek, Moore and southern parts of the Oklahoma City Metro area were hit the hardest. When it was near Moore, OK, a truck-mounted Doppler radar measured a wind speed of 318 mph, the highest ever observed in a tornado and close to being the first F6 ever officially recorded.
Forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK were faced with the unprecedented situation of a major tornado on the ground threatening their location. As a major F5 tornado was approaching the Oklahoma City metro area from the southwest, the SPC notified its backup, the Air Force Weather Agency at Offutt AFB in Omaha, NE that they might have to assume operational responsibility if the tornado approached Norman. The storm remained several miles west of the facility and was visible from the SPC roof.
Damage from this single tornado was around one billion dollars, making it the most costly tornado in history. Estimated damage from the entire tornado outbreak was $1.485 billion dollars, making this the most costly tornado outbreak ever. 2,314 homes were destroyed and another 7,428 were damaged. To the north in Kansas, an F4 tornado tracked 24 miles through Sumner and Sedgwick Counties, killing 6, injuring 154, and causing $146 million in damages. Haysville and Wichita suffered severe damage. A total of 8,480 buildings and homes were damaged or destroyed with 1,109 totally destroyed.
Many locations from the Ohio Valley to the East Coast reported early May record heat. The high temperature reached 92° at Portland, ME obliterating the old record of
74° set in 1969. The airport station also set the warmest low and warmest average with temperatures of 57° and 75°, respectively.
Other locations that reported record high temperatures for the date included: Boston, MA: 92°, Williamsport, PA: 92°, Blue Hill, MA: 91°, Concord, NH: 91°, Newark, NJ: 91°, Allentown, PA: 91°, New York (Central Park), NY: 90°, Philadelphia, PA: 90°, Houlton, ME: 89°, St. Johnsbury, VT: 89°, Albany, NY: 89°, Glens Falls, NY: 89°, Atlantic City, NJ: 89°, Harrisburg, PA: 88°, Scranton-Wilkes Barre, PA: 88°, Millville, NJ: 88°, Caribou, ME: 87°, Wilmington, DE: 87°, Bridgeport, CT: 86°, Utica, NY: 86°, Lafayette, IN: 85°, Detroit, MI: 85°, Cincinnati, OH: 85°, Montpelier, VT: 85°, New York (JFK), NY: 85°, Columbia, MO: 84°, Louisville, KY: 84°, Bradford, PA: 82° and Wallops Island, VA: 82°.
A hailstorm dropped stones as large as 2.2 lb on the remote Nepalese village of Thori. Damage included 800 thatched-roof homes destroyed, crops and livestock were killed, and one person was killed with 25 injured.
With low humidity, very dry vegetation, and increasing south winds, embers from a day old controlled burn initiated a large grassland fire in the early afternoon hours west of Claremont, SD. South winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 50 mph caused the fire to spread quickly. The fire expanded to 4 miles wide and spread 4 miles north before it was contained late in the evening. Many trees along with a mobile home, an abandoned house, and an old barn were also burned. Seven miles of road had to be closed due to poor visibility for smoke. 11 fire departments with nearly 150 firefighters extinguished the fire. The fire was completely put out during the afternoon hours of the 4th. This was one of the largest grassland fires in Brown County history.
New Hampshire lost a treasured icon when the "Old Man of the Mountain," a granite outcropping fell in a massive rockslide from the side of Cannon Mountain above Franconia Notch. The landmark, a symbol of the fierce independence and stubbornness of the state, eventually succumbed to the same natural forces that created the amazing rock formation 200 million years ago. Residents mourned the loss of the symbol, which is pictured on the state symbol, the state quarter, license plates and road signs across New Hampshire.
Many locations in Alaska and across the West enjoyed record high temperatures. It was 105° in Santa Ana, the highest temperature on record for May.
Locations that set daily record highs included: Borrego Springs, CA: 105°, Needles, CA: 104°-Tied, Escondido, CA: 103°, Blythe, CA: 103°, Los Angeles (Civic Center), CA: 101°, Daggett, CA: 100°, Phoenix, AZ: 100°-Tied, Las Vegas, NV: 99°, Stockton, CA: 96°, Campo, CA: 94°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 94°-Tied, Bishop, CA: 93°, San Diego, CA: 93°, Reno, NV: 89°, Honolulu, HI: 87°-Tied, Cedar City, UT: 84°, Burns, OR: 82°, Big Bear Lake, CA: 78°, McGrath, AK: 68°, Skagway, AK: 68°, Talkeetna, AK: 66°, Cordova, AK: 65°, Bethel, AK: 63°, King Salmon, AK: 63°-Tied, Anchorage, AK: 59°, Kenai, AK: 59°-Tied, Kotzebue, AK: 52°, Cold Bay, AK: 51°-Tied and St. Paul Island, AK: 45°.
A slow moving Pacific storm moving from the southwest brought unsettled weather to the Colorado Rockies through the 6th. During the 3-day period, locally heavy snow was reported over parts of the Front Range foothills. Storm totals included: 15 inches near Conifer, 14.5 inches west of Jamestown, 13.5 inches six miles southwest of Evergreen and 12.5 inches at Pine Junction.
Severe thunderstorms produced large hail, up to one inch in diameter in the vicinity of Boulder and Hudson. Lightning struck a residence in Jefferson County causing a fire. At Denver International Airport, lightning struck a United Airlines jet as it was pushing away from the gate. None of the passengers were affected; but they switched planes.
A large and damaging thunderstorm complex known as a derecho moved quickly east across areas of northeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi during the morning to midday hours. The primary locations affected were south of interstate twenty and wind gusts ranging from 60 to 80 mph were common. One fatality was recorded just east of Laurel, MS, as straight line winds knocked a tree onto an occupied mobile home. In addition, multiple tornadoes were spawned by this thunderstorm complex.
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.
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°.
A spring snowstorm in northwest Texas produced up to 8 inches of snow in Potter County and Armstrong County.
Austin, TXwas 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.
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°.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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°.
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.
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.
At approximately 1:49 PM, a F3 tornado destroyed a double-wide trailer home near Tiffin, Missouri. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the average day of the first 100 degree reading in Needles, CA.
A group of tornadoes in Virginia killed three people. The twisters carved a path from near Victoria to south of Petersburg to just south of the James River. The damage path was reportedly one mile wide in places.
The same storm which a day earlier produced eight inches of snow in the Texas panhandle produced over a foot of snow at Denver, CO, their heaviest snow on record for the month of May. 12 inches fell on this date and the greatest 24 hour snowfall for May. Along with the record snow came record low temperatures of 27°on this date and 23°on the 6th.
The temperature at College Park, VA soared from 43°to 93° to begin an exceptional heat wave.
An F4 tornado cut a 35 mile path from near Brent into Shelby County, Alabama. The town of Helena, AL was especially hard hit, as 14 people died.
19 tornadoes touched down leaving more than 30 people dead in eastern Oklahoma. Hardest hit was the town of Wilburton, where 13 people were killed, and over 800 homes and buildings were either damaged or destroyed.
Heavy rains, snow and severe weather struck the Black Hills area in South Dakota. Heavy rains totaled 2 to 5 inches in the northern Black Hills flooding many streams. Higher elevations such as the Lead area received over a foot of snow. While heavy rains and snow pounded the Black Hills the surrounding plains had to contend with severe weather. Rapid City narrowly missed being struck by a tornado as the storm's damage path began about two miles east of Rapid City. The Rapid City airport did report a gust of 53 mph with Ellsworth Air Force Base receiving a gust to 70 mph. The tornado caused severe damage to farm buildings in the Tilford area.
0.43 inches of precipitation fell at Billings, MT, the first of 5 straight days with more than 0.20 inches. This was only the second such occurrence since 1934 (September 1949).
Grade school and high school at Pleasant Hill MO struck by large F3 tornado. Thanks to excellent warnings and preparedness drills, only minor injuries occurred. Two people were killed, one in a trailer and one in a house.
A line of severe thunderstorms moved through Dade County in south Florida causing extensive tree and power line damage. Several trees fell onto parked cars. This was associated with the same frontal system that moved through northern and central Florida the day before producing many tornadoes, leaving three dead, over 100 injured, and more than $8 million dollars in damage. The hardest-hit areas in Dade County were Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Kendall and South Miami. More than 75 power lines were broken by falling tree limbs and flying debris. Wind gusts to 56 mph were recorded at the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables. No injuries were reported.
Heavy wet snow of around 24 inches collapsed an office and hotel in Boulder, CO. Many cars were abandoned across the city. Denver received 14 inches with Evergreen and Golden receiving a foot. Snowfall totaled 12.4 inches at Stapleton Airport in Denver, CO and 7.2 inches at Cheyenne, WY.
Mobile, AL had its worst flash flooding ever as thunderstorms unloaded 8 to 16 inches of rain over the metro area in a couple of hours. Damage totaled $36 million dollars.
Severe flash flooding hit parts of southwest Oklahoma and the western parts of North Texas. The hardest hit area was around Lawton, where 4 to 5 inches of rain fell in just 90 minutes. The weight of the heavy rain caused the roof of a shopping mall to collapse, killing one person and injuring two others. Flooding also occurred in north Texas, where several roads in Wichita, Clay, and Archer Counties were closed by high water that spilled over the banks of area creeks.
The Weather Channel went on the air with 4.2 million cable subscribers. Created by network television weathercaster John Coleman, the all-weather network would boast 50 million subscribers by its tenth anniversary. The most popular part of the networks programming is specific local forecast and warning information, beamed to local cable systems by satellite and displayed on subscribers sets.
Fresno, CA received 0.01 inch of rain. This was the latest measurable precipitation received for the water season pushing the total to 23.57 inches, the wettest water season on record.
Strong pressure gradient winds in excess of 60 mph occurred over west central Minnesota. City officials in Browns Valley estimated a quarter of the city suffered damage. The roof of a grandstand was blown off and landed a quarter block away. 75 homes and 6 businesses sustained roof damage. In nearby Dumont, wind ripped a large grain bin off its foundation and tore open the top of another.
Sacramento, CA hit 100°, breaking the previous record for this day of 92° which was set in 1944. This is the earliest in the season Sacramento has hit the 100 degree mark.
Unseasonably hot weather prevailed in the western U.S. A dozen cities in California reported record high temperatures for the date. Afternoon highs of 101° at Redding, 100° at Sacramento, 98°at San Jose and 93° at San Francisco were the warmest on record for so early in the season. The high of 94° at Medford, OR was also the warmest on record for so early in the season. Sacramento, CA established daily record highs on nine of eleven days between the 4th and the 14th.
Thunderstorms swept across Georgia and the Carolinas during the late afternoon and evening hours spawning 17 tornadoes. A tornado at Toccoa, GA injured 15 people, and a tornado at Chesnee, SC killed two people and injured 35 others. Five tornadoes in North Carolina accounted for five deaths, 88 injuries, and $60 million dollars damage. Thunderstorms also produced baseball size hail at Lake Murray, SC, and wind gusts to 78 mph at Brooklyn, MD.
A strong Pacific cold front moving rapidly inland caused weather conditions at the east end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington State to quickly change from sunny and calm to westerly winds of 60 mph and 10 foot waves. Three recreational fishing boats capsized in heavy seas off Port Angeles resulting in five deaths.
In California, temperatures soared above 90° across much of the state. The high of 101° in downtown Los Angeles was eight degrees hotter than their previous record for the date.
A four-day sandstorm raged across Mongolia and Northwestern China with hurricane-force winds. Reports of 47 deaths came from Sansu Province in China. As many as 300,000 head of livestock died in Inner Mongolia.
A heavier precipitation supercell thunderstorm rapidly developed just ahead of a fast moving bow echo squall line and blasted Tarrant County, Texas. Large hail up to 5 inches in diameter, driven by 80 mph winds, caused a tremendous amount of damage. 10,000 people were caught out in the open at Mayfest in downtown Forth Worth, resulting in 109 injuries from the large hail. Torrential rains of up to 3 inches in 30 minutes and 5 inches in one hour across Dallas caused unprecedented flash flooding, resulting in 21 deaths and 510 injuries. Total damage in Forth Worth alone was estimated at $2 billion dollars, making this the costliest thunderstorm event in U.S. history. This was the third severe hailstorm to strike the area in only a little over a month.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency named the first typhoon of the season Damrey, using a new multi-national naming list that not only included people's name, but names of animals, astrological signs, fish and even an airport. Damrey is Cambodian for elephant.
On a scary note, a convoy of experienced storm chasers, including Matt Sellers and Shane Adams, had a near-miss with a tornado which touched down nearly on top of them near Lakeview, TX as they were following the storm that had earlier struck the town of Happy. No chasers were injured during the encounter, but several had damage to their vehicles. In addition, the University of Massachusetts 10-centimeter Mobile Doppler Radar was entangled in downed power lines near Lakeview.
In the 24 hours up to 1200z the rainfall equivalent of close to a half inch of rain and snow fell at Ulan Bator, Mongolia equaling their normal monthly precipitation.
A severe thunderstorm struck the Brahmanbaria District of eastern Bangladesh claiming at least 22 lives. Winds gusted as high as 75 mph accompanied by hail and heavy rain, flattened hundreds of mud houses.
A large upper low pressure area over the southwest United States spun off a strong upper level trough into the northern plains. This trough lifting over the region along with a north to south frontal boundary, powerful low level winds, and abundant gulf moisture resulted in training thunderstorms across parts of central and northeast South Dakota. The training thunderstorms produced torrential rains from 3 to over 10 inches resulting in widespread flash flooding across Brown, Buffalo, Hand, Spink, Clark, Day, Marshall, and Roberts Counties. The counties of Brown, Buffalo, Clark, Day, Marshall, and Spink were declared disaster areas by President Bush. The Governor also declared a state of emergency for the flooded counties. Dozens of cities were affected by the flooding with several hundred homes, businesses, and countless roads affected and damaged or destroyed by the flooding. Aberdeen received the most extensive damage, especially the north side of Aberdeen. 75% percent of the homes in Aberdeen received some water in their basements. Basement water levels ranged from a few inches to very deep water all the way up to the first floor of homes. Many homes had basement walls collapse. The overwhelming load on the drainage systems caused sewage to back up into many homes across the region. Also, many vehicles stalled on the roads with many others damaged by the flooding. Power outages also occurred across the area. Many families were displaced from their homes with many living in emergency shelters. Countless homes were condemned across the region with many considered unlivable. Thousands of acres of crops were also flooded and damaged with many seeds and large quantities of fertilizer washed away. Rainfall amounts from this historic event included, 3.65 inches in Miller, 3.82 inches in Britton, 4 inches in Eden, 4.47 inches in Andover, 4.90 inches in Webster, 5.68 inches west of Britton, 5.7 inches in Garden City, and 5.82 inches in Conde. Locations with 6 or more inches of rain included, 6 inches in Langford, 6.33 inches in Gann Valley, 6.72 inches in Clark, 7.41 inches in Ashton, 7.49 inches in Stratford, 7.55 inches near Mellette, 7.97 inches in Aberdeen, 8.02 inches in Redfield, 8.73 inches in Columbia, and 8.74 inches in Groton. The 8.74 inches of rainfall in Groton set a new 24 hour state rainfall record. Adding in the rainfall for the previous day, Aberdeen received a total of 9.00 inches; Columbia received a total of 10.19 inches; Groton received an astonishing two day total rainfall of 10.74 inches.
How far can a lightning discharge travel?
If the lightning is a cloud-to-ground bolt, then the travel distance is limited by the distance from the inside of the cloud to the ground, which is usually under 10 miles.
Cloud-to-cloud or intra-cloud discharges my reach for 100 miles or more in rare cases.
The second deadliest tornado in U.S. history struck Natchez and Natchez Landing, MS, killing 317 people.
A tornado, estimated at F3 intensity,tracked four miles across Chicago, IL collapsing many buildings. The damaged buildings included a candy factory, a hospital, a freight depot, and a church. The tornado moved out over Lake Michigan, and was observed by a reporter to have multiple vortices. Further south in Illinois, a tornado blew a moving passenger train off the tracks near Neoga, injuring all 19 people aboard.
A tornado moved south, passing five miles west of Jetmore, KS picking up a small home and smashing it to the ground, killing a woman. Cattle were carried 200 yards. At least 15, perhaps over 25, tornadoes touched down in Kansas this day which the press called “The Day of the Cyclones”.
It finally rained in Bagdad, San Bernardino County, CA ending a national dry record stretch of 994 consecutive days that began on 8/16/1909.
Amarillo, TX had its latest snowfall on record with 9.1 inches falling.
An F4 tornado tracked through Hill, Navarro, and Ellis counties in Texas. The town of Frost was completely destroyed. 41 people lost their lives and 200 were injured. Total damage exceeded $1 million dollars.
Charleston, SC recorded 10.57 inches of rain in 24 hours to set their all-time 24 hour record.
The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames and was destroyed as it attempted to land just after a thunderstorm at the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, NJ. The Hindenburg carried a crew of 61 along with 36 passengers. It took just 32 seconds for the entire ship to crash into burning embers. The cause of the explosion was never discovered for sure, but it is believed that a spark of static electricity ignited a leak of highly explosive hydrogen gas.
An unseasonably cold storm system brought snow levels down to the lower elevations of the central Sierra Nevada. Snowfall totals included: Grant Grove: 12 inches, Huntington Lake: 11 inches, Glennville: 3.5 inches and Tehachapi: Trace. In Yosemite National Park, 10 inches fell at the south entrance and 7 inches in the Valley.
A storm blanketed parts of Montana with heavy snow through the next day. Snowfall totals included: Red Lodge: 19 inches, Mystic Lake: 16 inches, Pryor: 9 inches, Livingston: 5 inches and Billings/Gardiner: 4 inches.
It was a busy Saturday night at the GES Department store near the Alabama State Fairgrounds in the West End section of Birmingham. The store was filled with shoppers about 7pm when a store manager saw a tornado approaching. He yelled for customers to get down seconds before the twister struck the store. One woman was killed nearby when she was struck by a board from a nearby lumber yard as she watched the tornado from her daughter's front porch. 25 people were injured along the F2 tornado's four mile path.
One of the worst tornadoes in terms of damage struck Omaha, NE killing three people and injuring 133 others. The violent twister first touched down on the southwest side of town, then moved north-northeast into the residential areas of central Omaha. The tornadowhich cut a swath 10 miles long and as much as a quarter of a mile wideflattened 287 homes and damaged over 1,400 others. Total damage done was around a quarter of a billion dollars; the most costly in U.S. History up to that time. The city was well warned by Civil Defense systems as the death toll was amazingly low considering the path of this tornado.
A record late season snowstorm parts of the east-central Rockies. Estes Park recorded 32 inches of snow, Boulder had 25 inches, 20 inches piled up at Colorado Springs, and Denver checked in with 14 inches for their greatest May snowstorm on record. Cheyenne, WY received 11.1 inches of snow and a total storm total of 18.3 inches; their greatest May snowstorm on record.
Two men standing in a boat on Sheridan Lake in South Dakota were killed when lightning struck the boat.
Severe thunderstorms developed over parts of northwest Oklahoma. Hail up to baseball size fell just northeast of Gage, and golf ball size hail was common. A tornado was spotted near Tangier, in Woodward County. Flooding of many low lying areas occurred after six inches of rain fell from the storms.
Many cities in California and Oregon reported record high temperatures for the date thanks to an upper level ridge. Record highs for the date included: Blythe, CA: 108°, Sacramento, CA: 104°, Bakersfield, CA: 104, Medford, OR: 101°, Red Bluff, CA: 101°, Fresno, CA: 100°, Daggett, CA: 100°, Modesto, CA: 100°, Stockton, CA: 100°, Sacramento, CA: 99°, Campo, CA: 93°, Burbank, CA: 93°, Ephrata, WA: 91°, Salem, OR: 90°, Lewiston, ID: 90°, Wall Walla, WA: 88°, Mt. Shasta, CA: 88°, Reno, NV: 87°, Eugene, OR: 85, Hoquiam, WA: 83°, Blue Canyon, CA: 80° and Meacham, OR: 78. Portland, OR soared to 91°; their warmest of record for so early in the season.
A major storm brought high winds to the western half of the country. Wind gusts ranged from 60 to 80 mph across parts of Colorado. Denver, CO reported a wind gust of 53 mph and a wind gust of 74 mph at Pueblo, CO broke their May record established just four days earlier, and winds in the Arapahoe Ski Basin area of Colorado reached 85 mph. The strong winds knocked windows out of buildings, downed power poles, lines & some fences and unroofed several buildings. In North Dakota, the high winds reduced visibilities to near zero in blowing dust closing many roads.
High winds produced blowing dust reducing visibilities to less than one half mile in northeastern South Dakota. Wind gusts of 62 mph were reported at Aberdeen. A small building was destroyed in Gettysburg and a building was damaged near Timber Lake. Winds also blew over a tractor trailer injuring a man in Okaton.
Palomar Mountain, CA dropped to 20°, their lowest temperature on record for May. Locations that reported daily record lows in California included: Bishop, CA: 29°, Bakersfield, CA: 42°-Tied and Blythe, CA: 47°.
The temperature of 43° at the start of the Kentucky Derby was the coldest in 115 years of records. Wet snow was observed in parts of Louisville. Unseasonable cold affected much of the north central US, as many cities reported record lows for the date. Records for so late in the season included: Bismarck, ND: 17°, Praire de Chien, WI: 22°, Cresco, IA: 23°, Minneapolis, MN: 25°, Genoa, WI: 27° and Lynxville, WI: 27°. La Crosse, WI fell to 26° tying their coldest May temperature ever. Elgin, MN received a half inch of snow; their latest measurable snowfall on record.
Locations that reported daily record lows included: Duluth, MN: 20°, Rochester, MN: 22°, Minot, ND: 23°, North Platte, NE: 23°, Wausau, WI: 23°, Alexandria, MN: 25°, Benton Harbor, MI: 25°, Hill City, KS: 30°, Cedar Rapids, IA: 30°, Norfolk, NE: 31°, Burlington, IA: 32°, Moline, IL: 32°, Quincy, IL: 32°, Garden City, KS: 33°, Ottumwa, IA: 33°, Chicago (Midway), IL: 33°, Omaha, NE: 35°, Kirksville, MO: 35°, St. Joseph, MO: 35°, Joplin, MO: 36°, Kansas City, MO: 36°, Topeka, KS: 37°, Wichita, KS: 37°, Olathe, KS: 37°, Fayetteville, AR: 39°, McAlester, OK: 44°-Tied and Honolulu, HI: 66°-Tied.
In contrast, several locations out West set record high temperatures for the date including: Needles, CA: 106°, Borrego Springs, CA: 105°, Daggett, CA: 103°, Las Vegas, NV: 98°-Tied, Victorville, CA: 97°, El Paso, TX: 96°, Campo, CA: 95°, Douglas, AZ: 95°, Bishop, CA: 94°, Truth or Consequences, NM: 93°, Winslow, AZ: 91°, Burley, ID: 89°, Tonopah, NV: 87°, Cedar City, UT: 87°, Reno, NV: 87°-Tied, Grants, NM: 85°, Galveston, TX: 84°-Tied, Sandberg, CA: 82°, Ely, NV: 82°, Flagstaff, AZ: 81° and Alamosa, CO: 78°-Tied.
Snow and high winds prevailed behind a Pacific cold front crossing the northwestern U.S. Wind gusts above 50 mph were reported in southeastern Idaho, and heavy snow blanketed the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, with 12 inches reported at Stampede Pass.
Meanwhile, an upper level ridge brought record heat to southern California. Record highs included: Riverside, CA: 102°, Escondido, CA: 99°, Burbank, CA: 98°, Los Angeles (Civic Center), CA: 97°, Santa Ana, CA: 95°, San Diego, CA: 87°and Sandberg, CA: 86°.
This was a double record day in Orlando, FL. The temperature reached a record tying high of 94° and a late day cloudburst dumped a short-period record rainfall of 1.21 inches. Other daily record highs along the East Coast included: Gainesville, FL: 92°-Tied, Elkins, WV: 88°, Niagara, Falls, NY: 84°, Erie, PA: 84°-Tied, Caribou, ME: 81° and Watertown, NY: 81°-Tied.
The high temperature in Death Valley National Park, CA reached 100°. This began a record streak of 154 consecutive days with the high temperature reaching 100 degrees or hotter.
Flooding on the Belaya River inundated 4,881 buildings, 17 bridges and 11,060 miles of roads were washed out in the Volga and Ural regions in Russia.
A spring blizzard dumped nearly 12 inches of snow on Calgary, Alberta, Canada, snarling the morning commute and forcing airlines to cancel flights due to whiteout conditions.
A violent tornado, with estimated wind speeds up to 210 mph, tracked across the southern tip of Illinois. The tornado touched down near Grand Chain in Pulaski County, moving east to near Joppa in Massac County, before curving northeast and lifting near Golconda in Pope County, a total of 33 miles and 1 hour 10 minutes later. Two people were killed and 33 injured. The tornado caused severe damage to the forested region of the area, as well as to a few dozen homes and trailers. The storms also produced an estimated wind gust of 125 mph northeast of Metropolis.
Desoto, MOreported wind gusts of up to 86 mph in association with a severe thunderstorm. In Franklin County, MO, hail measuring up to 2.75 inches in diameter was reported.
Escondido, CA dropped to 31°, their lowest May temperature on record. This record was tied two weeks later on May 20th, their latest freezing temperature on record.
A mile wide tornado destroyed the town of Natchez, MS killing 317 people. This was the worst tornado in United States history to occur before the establishment of the Weather Bureau.
The Washington Evening Star began publishing newspaper weather reports from the observations made by Joseph Henry's network of volunteer weather observers.
A powerful wind storm struck Lethbridge, Alberta Canada causing the hour hand on the clock of the towns’ post office tower to break off. The falling steel hand narrowly missed a passing pedestrian.
Two massive F5 tornadoes combined for a 95 mile path of destruction through Comanche, Barber, Kingman, Reno, and McPherson Counties in Kansas. The death toll was 10 and 300 were injured. Damage was set at $1.3 million dollars. The tornado’s path width reached two miles at one point.
The temperature at White Mountain, CA, dipped to -15° to set a record for May for the continental U.S.
Palm Springs, CAset a May record low when they dropped to 36°. Locations that reported daily record lows included: Tanana, AK: 12°-Tied, Cordova, AK: 27-Tied, Boise, ID: 31°, Los Angeles (Civic Center), CA: 46°-Tied and San Diego (WFO), CA: 49°-Tied.
The eastern half of South Dakota was choked by a dust storm. Strong winds which occasionally exceeded 60 mph whipped dust high into the air reducing visibilities to near zero at times. The low visibilities were responsible for many accidents on area highways. A large amount of top soil was eroded and carried away by the wind in some areas erosion was so bad that small grain crops had to be re-seeded.
Many cities in the western U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date. Highs of 93° at Portland, OR and San Jose, CA were the warmest of record for so early in the season. The high of 92° at Quillayute, WA was a record for May.
Other daily record highs included: Stockton, CA: 103°, Sacramento, CA: 101°, Fresno, CA: 103°, Redding, CA: 101°, Sacramento, CA: 101°, Bakersfield, CA: 101°, Medford, OR: 97°, Salem, OR: 94°, Yakima, WA: 93°, Eugene, OR: 90°, Spokane, WA: 88°, Burns, OR: 85°, Olympia, WA: 84°, Astoria, OR: 83°, Eureka, CA: 82°and Seattle, WA: 81°.
A powerful storm in the north central U.S. produced up to three feet of snow in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming and the mountains of south central Montana. Up to 5 inches of rain drenched central Montana in less than 24 hours, and flash flooding in Wyoming caused a million dollars damage.
Many cities in the central and eastern U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date, and 24 hour snowfall totals of 7.2 inches at Buffalo, NY and 10.7 inches at Rochester, NY were records for the month of May. Locations that reported record lows included: Madison, WI: 24°, Traverse City, MI: 24°, St. Cloud, MN: 26°, Mason City, IA: 26°, Altoona, PA: 27°, Waterloo, IA: 28°, Dubuque, IA: 28°, South Bend, IN: 28°, Fort Wayne, IN: 28°, Lincoln, NE: 29°, Norfolk, NE: 29°, Milwaukee, WI: 29°, Moline, IL: 29°, Chicago (O’Hare), IL: 29°, Springfield, MO: 31°, Topeka, KS: 32°, Quincy, IL: 33°, Lexington, KY: 33°, Asheville, KY: 33°, Bristol, TN: 33°, Fayetteville, AR: 34°, Paducah, KY: 35°, Emporia, KS: 36°, Louisville, KY: 36°, Hickory, NC: 36°, Jackson, TN: 37°, Knoxville, TN: 37°, Rome, GA: 37°, Kansas City, MO: 38°, Fort Smith, AR: 38°, Danville, VA: 39°, Charlotte, NC: 40°, Anderson, SC: 40°, Huntsville, AL: 41°, Tuscaloosa, AL: 41°, Nashville, TN: 41°, Wilmington, NC: 41°, Florence, SC: 41°, Anniston, AL: 42°, Montgomery, AL: 44°, Tallahassee, FL: 47° and Pine Bluff, AR: 48°.
While northerly winds ushered unseasonably cold air into the eastern U.S., temperatures warmed rapidly in the Great Plains Region, reaching the 90s in Kansas. The temperature at Manhattan KS soared from a low of 30°to a high of 88°.
Death Valley National Park recorded a high temperature of 114° setting a daily record.
Other locations that set daily record highs for the date included: Phoenix, AZ: 108°, Blythe, CA: 108°, Palm Springs, CA: 107°, Needles, CA: 106°, Daggett, CA: 104°, Las Vegas, NV: 102°, Wink, TX: 102°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 101°, Carlsbad, NM: 100°, Roswell, NM: 98°, El Paso, TX: 98°, Victorville, CA: 96°, Dodge City, KS: 93°, Winslow, AZ: 92°, Albuquerque, NM: 92°, Salt Lake City, UT: 87°, Cedar City, UT: 85°, Bismarck, ND: 85°, Ely, NV: 83°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 82°, Flagstaff, AZ: 81°, Alamosa, CA: 81° and Big Bear Lake, CA: 77°.
Gale force winds lashed the northern and central Pacific coast. A wind gust of 52 mph at Eureka, CA established a record for the month of May. Strong winds associated with a fast moving Pacific cold front, gusted to 63 mph at Peetz, CO. Snow developed over the northwest mountains of Wyoming late in the day, and Yellowstone National Park was whitened with 6 to 14 inches.
A freak snowstorm in the North Carolina Mountains dumped 40 inches at Mt. Pisgah and 18 inches at Mt. Mitchell.
Severe weather erupted across South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota ahead of an approaching cold front. Tornadoes, large hail, strong winds, and flash flooding all affected the area. A tornado traveled north near I-29 destroying a farmstead and tossing vehicles. The tornado destroyed a large barn silo, and numerous outbuildings just north of Beresford, SD. The tornado overturned an 11,000 lb. tractor, but that was only a warm-up for the 34,000 lb. semi-truck that the storm lifted off the ground and threw into the ditch. The storm also blew several cars off of an exit ramp.
Strong thunderstorm winds estimated at over 100 mph destroyed an apartment building, 5 mobile homes, 15 garages, 16 vehicles, and damaged many other homes and vehicles in the Brookings area in South Dakota. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 7 inches in less than three hours were common across southeast South Dakota and southwest Minnesota causing flash flooding. Several hundred homes and businesses were flooded across southwest Minnesota causing $1.6 million dollars in damage in Rock County alone.
Serious flooding occurred in central Oklahoma following torrential rain and hail on this date through the 8th. Rainfall amounts on this date were generally around one inch. Oklahoma City, OK then recorded 6.64 inches of rain on the 8th, the third greatest daily rainfall amount ever observed in the city. Extensive flooding resulted, which killed four people, and the fire department had to rescue 183 others. More than 2,000 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, and damages were estimated at $8 million.
Severe thunderstorms struck Aurora, CO. Hailed piled 4 to 5 inches deep in the vicinity of Quincy Reservoir in south Aurora. Lightning struck an Aurora Police Communications Tower causing significant malfunction to the primary system. Minor damage was sustained when lightning struck an apartment building. Hail up to 1.25 inches in diameter accumulated 6 inches deep in just 15 minutes. Many streets were closed for an hour or more due to flooding caused by heavy rain and melting hail. Some trees were stripped of their leaves. Hail, up to a half inch in diameter was measured at Denver International Airport where a funnel cloud was sighted. One inch of rain fell at Cheyenne, WY.
An F3 tornado cut a 34 mile path across Love and Carter Counties in south central Oklahoma, while on the ground for over an hour killing three people and doing over $100 million dollars in damages; $75 million in Ardmore alone. Major damage was done to the Uniroyal plant.
The temperature at Caribou, ME soared to 81° to establish a new record high in a week of very warm temperatures across Maine. It was the fourth consecutive day that record high temperatures were set at Caribou. Temperatures for the first seven days of the month averaged 14.2 degrees above normal.
The Stickleman family of Brady, NE had their own tornado early warning system. Their English Setter, Champ, headed for the basement anytime severe weather threatened. On this date, the dog headed for the basement and stayed until a tornado appeared on the horizon. The tornado destroyed their farmhouse as the family took shelter with Champ in the basement. Fortunately, everyone was safe. Animals do seem to have a special ability to sense approaching bad weather.
An afternoon of heavy rain caused flooding in the Birmingham, AL area. Persistent thunderstorms dumped 5.71 inches on the airport over a six hour period during the afternoon and early evening, but the heaviest rainfall total came from Trussville, on the northeast side of Birmingham, where over 9 inches fell. Flooding was severe from Fultondale to Roebuck to the Trussville area, where water entered several businesses and overran the waste water treatment plant, dumping raw sewage into the Cahaba River.
This date marked the first day of a three-day barrage of tornadic thunderstorms over Oklahoma. The first tornadoes occurred over southwest and south central Oklahoma during the late evening into the overnight hours. The strongest tornadoes with this initial activity were rated as F2, and they occurred in the Cornish, Overbrook, and Antioch areas of extreme south central Oklahoma. Although there was over $250,000 in damage, no injuries or fatalities were reported.
When you look a flash of lightning the bolt appears to be quite wide, but in actuality most lightning bolts are not much thicker than a pencil.
However, lightning can be quite long with vertical strikes stretching 5 to 10 miles while horizontal channels can reach over 100 miles in length.
Thousands were reported killed by a severe hailstorm in Chartres, France.
A freak spring storm produced heavy snow from southern Indiana to New England. The storm made sleighing possible in Massachusetts, but also ruined shade trees in Philadelphia, PA.
Second deadliest tornado in US history strikes Natchez and Natchez Landing on the Mississippi, killing 317 people.
A deadly hailstorm in South Carolina hit the town of Winnsborough. The hailstones, measuring as much as nine inches in circumference, killed several persons, and a great number of sheep, lambs and birds.
Residents on the island of Martinique in the West Indies were used to the rumblings of volcanic Mount Pelee. It had been spitting gas since 1889. But as the rumblings grew more intense in April 1902, the residents grew nervous and many tried to evacuate. At 8am on this date, a huge cloud of superheated volcanic gases and burning ash descended down the mountain with incredible speed. The pyroclastic flow was hot enough to melt glass and burn people in place. Within seconds, the bustling port saw all but two of its 30,000 residents perish. It was the greatest volcanic eruption of the twentieth century.
A strong cold front helped produce a major tornado outbreak across central and eastern Nebraska and South Dakota. Four people were killed in Nebraska in an F4 tornado. An F5 tornado hit southern South Dakota.
While the tornadoes were on the ground farther east, behind the cold front, a late season snowstorm hit parts of the Nebraska panhandle Some places received as much as 4 inches of snow.
A line of thunderstorms moved through St. Lucie, Indian River, Brevard Counties in Florida during the nighttime hours. Several of these thunderstorms were severe, accompanied by lightning, gusty winds, locally heavy rain and some hail. Lightning struck a tire store in Vero Beach causing a fire resulting in $750,000 dollars damage. Winds up to 50 mph were reported at Kennedy Space Center.
The great Mother’s Day storm produced heavy rain after three years of severe drought across southern California. Some areas received more than three inches of rain. Local flooding resulted. 3.69 inches of precipitation fell at Palomar Mountain, 2.47 inches at Idyllwild, 1.99 inches at Big Bear Lake, 1.49 inches at San Diego, and 1.06 inches at Victorville, each the greatest daily amount on record for May. 1.50 inches of rain fell at San Diego, their wettest 24-hour period on record for May. The Padres’ home game against the Montreal Expos was rained out at (then) San Diego Stadium.
A low pressure system in the eastern Gulf of Mexico spawned lines of tornadic thunderstorms with excessive rainfall during the morning and afternoon hours across central Florida. Widespread damage occurred in the Tampa Bay area. The 19 tornadoes reported are the most in one day in Florida history. Three people drowned in Pinellas County where flooding was most severe. Rainfall amounts of 18 inches in 24 hours were reported with 12.73 inches falling at Tampa, FL; with 7.84 inches of that in just six hours. Tornadoes damaged homes, mobile homes, businesses, four schools, power lines, and trees. Worst hit was the Polk County community of Auburndale where a
tornado made a direct hit on the Auburndale School. Only eight students were hurt by flying debris. An 83 year old woman was killed as she hid in an unreinforced concrete block storage shed. 98 trailers were damaged or destroyed and 40 people were injured. Other, less intense, tornadoes struck Pasco, Hernando, Volusia, Citrus, St. Lucie, Duval, Desoto and Charlotte Counties. Over 5 inches of rain flooded homes and businesses in eastern Indian River County.
Las Vegas, NV recorded a high temperature of 60°. This was the coldest high temperature ever in May.
Thunderstorms moved through Tarrant and Dallas counties in Texas. It would become what one insurance expert called "the worst hailstorm in American history". 100 plus mph straight line thunderstorm winds caused damage in western Tarrant County. Two homes were destroyed and many more were damaged. Baseball and softball size hail damaged roofs. Insurance estimates indicated the hail and wind damage in Tarrant and Dallas counties would exceed $179 million dollars and uninsured losses would exceed $200 million dollars. These figures made it the worst severe thunderstorm in American weather history until 1990.
Thunderstorms produced very heavy rain fall of two to four inches over much of central and Eastern South Dakota. The largest amount was estimated to be 7.5 inches, which fell west of Redfield. The very heavy rain gall caused extensive flooding with Walworth and Potter Counties reporting the most damage. In those counties, most roads were under water. Several bridges and roads were also washed out in that area. The heavy rain washed out the dam on Lake Byre in Lyman County which produced water waist deep in Kennebec. The city of Kennebec lost their sole source of water when the dam broke. Cow Creek in Lyman County also flooded and broke a part of a dam, causing minor property damage. Rain continued to fall into the next morning. Rainfall totals included: 4.33 inches in Kennebec; 4.21 in Shelby; 3.91 at 4 miles west of Mellette; 3.30 in Gettysburg; 3.06 in Blunt; 2.99 in Eureka; 2.70 inches 2 miles south of Ashton and in Britton.
Severe thunderstorms produced two damaging tornadoes in the Edmond area in Oklahoma. The first tornado destroyed 39 homes and damaged 171 others, as it tore through the town. The second tornado destroyed or damaged 15 mobile homes. Despite the destruction, the storms caused only 15 injuries and no fatalities. The first tornado was rated an F3, making it the strongest tornado to strike the Oklahoma City metropolitan area between 1978 and 1999.
Many cities in the northwestern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date. The record high of 95° at Redding, CA was their fifth in a row, and the record high of 102° at Hanover, WA was just one degree shy of their record for May. Bakersfield, CA set a record high with 100°.
Thunderstorms in the Mississippi Valley spawned a total of 57 tornadoes, including 24 in Wisconsin, and a record 22 in one day in Iowa. There were also more than 200 reports of large hail and damaging winds. Grant County, WI was hit by 7 tornadoes causing $500,000 dollars in damages. Small tornadoes damaged some farm buildings and trees near Beetown, Union, Boscobel, and Rockville. A tornado path over 7 miles long between Stitzer and Montfort damaged mainly trees along with a few farm buildings. A tornado around Mount Ida damaged 2 homes, destroyed farm buildings, and uprooted trees. Another tornado with a 10 mile long track between Mount Hope and Fennimore, WI damaged 4 homes, downed 2 barns, and several farm buildings and trees. In addition to the tornadoes in Grant County, an F2 tornado mainly crossed rural areas of the Monroe County, Wisconsin, 1 mile northeast of Cashton to 5 miles west of Warrens. Several farms and barns were destroyed or heavily damaged. Another F2 tornado touched down initially southwest of Richland Center, WI and then tracked to « mile east of Buck Creek before lifting just west of Cazenovia. Numerous barns, farm sheds, and trees were damaged in addition to 2 homes. There were also three F1 tornadoes reported in Juneau County. These tornadoes caused 2 injuries.
Severe thunderstorms moved across northern and central Illinois. Winds gusted to 81 mph in Rockford, 75 mph in Pontiac, over 80 mph east of Springfield, and over 70 mph east of Peoria. Damage was reported to dozens of trees and power lines. $1.5 million dollars damage occurred to buildings in East Peoria, with $1 million dollars damage in Greene County. Wind gusts of 76 mph were reported in Calloway County, Missouri. Baseball size hail was reported at Terre Bonne, MO. At Rockford, IL one person was temporarily trapped inside a portable toilet toppled by thunderstorm winds gusting to 80 mph. Fortunately, no one was killed in the "Mother's Day" tornado outbreak.
Beginning the previous day ending on this date, a late season snowstorm dropped up to 12 inches of snow across the western southern tier, Niagara Frontier and the Finger Lakes area in western New York State. At Buffalo, close to 8 inches was recorded while at Rochester just over 10 inches fell. The snowfall established many new weather records for both cities. The heavy, wet snow downed power lines and trees which took down more power lines when they fell. As lines fell, power poles were snapped. Some roofs collapsed from the weight of the snow.
Behind the storm, an upper level trough combined with chilly high pressure brought many record lows across the eastern U.S. Lows of 28° at Asheville, NC and 31° at Greer, SC were records for May. Daily records included: Greenville/Spartanburg, SC: 31°, Greensboro, NC: 32°, Charlotte, NC: 35°, Columbia, SC: 35°, Raleigh, NC: 36°, Augusta, GA: 36°, Lynchburg, VA: 37°, Athens, GA: 37°, Wilmington, NC: 38°, Wallops Island, VA: 39°, Macon, GA: 42°, Savannah, GA: 43°and Charleston, SC: 45°.
Meanwhile, an upper level ridge out west brought some record high temperatures for the date including: Palm Springs, CA: 110°, Borrego Springs, CA: 110° and Big Bear Lake, CA: 78°.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather in northwestern and north central Kansas during the evening and overnight. Thunderstorms produced hail three inches in diameter at Brewster, and wind gusts to 92 mph south of Wakeeney. Thunderstorms over northwest Iowa deluged the town of Boone with five inches of rain flooding basements and leaving some areas under four feet of water.
A vigorous upper level low pressure system stalled out over the Carolinas for the previous three days unloaded tremendous amounts of snow over the western North Carolina Mountains above 4,000 feet. Mt. Pisgah, elevation 5,721 feet, recorded an incredible 60 inches over the 3-day period, tying the all-time single storm snowfall record for the state. Mt. Mitchell, elevation 6,684 feet, was buried under 30 inches of very wet snow. On the previous day, the Greenville-Spartanburg Weather Service Office in Greer, SC had snow mixed with rain, making this the latest date and the first time in May that snow had fallen at this location.
Behind the storm record lows were set in Florida including Tallahassee, FL: 38°, Gainesville, FL: 42°, Jacksonville, FL: 45°, Daytona Beach: 45°, Orlando, FL: 48°, Vero Beach, FL: 48°, Tampa, FL: 49° and West Palm Beach, FL: 51°.
Major flash flooding struck Louisiana and Mississippi through the 10th causing $3.5 billion dollars in damage.
Snowmelt flooding from two significant snowstorms in April continued throughout May across parts of South Dakota. The flooding was aggravated by widespread heavy rains, especially from the early morning of the 8th through the early morning of the 9th. Rain fall amounts generally ranged from one to three inches. Some higher rain fall amounts include; 5.50 inches at Wakpala, 4.50 at Chelsea and Leola, 4.20 at Ipswich and 3.91 inches at Aberdeen. A worker was injured near Claremont when the train derailed due to the weakening of the rail-bed caused by high water. The extensive flooding continued to cause road damage and many road closures.
Thunderstorms with torrential rains struck the New Orleans, LA area. Audubon Park recorded 8.5 inches of rain in only two hours. Several locations had over 14 inches total ending early the next day. Five people were killed in the flooding and damage exceeded one billion dollars.
Severe thunderstorms produced powerful downburst winds with speeds up to 81 mph in Lawrence County, Mississippi and an F2 tornado stormed across Hinds County, Mississippi.
Slow moving thunderstorms dumped several inches of rain over a large part of central and eastern Illinois. In Sangamon County, up to 600 homes were affected by flooding, although most damage was minor. At Springfield's Capital Airport, the rain total of 3.54 inches was a record for the date, and was the 2nd highest total on record for a single day during May. The storms were also responsible for an 80 mph wind gust which caused damage near Loami and Glenarm, in southern Sangamon County. In Lawrence County of southeast Illinois, nearly the entire town of Birds was evacuated due to flood waters.
A hailstorm at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida damaged the external fuel tank of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The 15 story tank suffered 150 dents. The scheduled launch of the Shuttle had to be delayed so that the vehicle could be rolled back to the hanger for repairs.
A tornado struck the town of Hull, Quebec Canada and tore roofs off buildings, causing $2 million dollars in damage.
Severe thunderstorms caused damage in portions of central Illinois during the afternoon. A tornado touched down near Shamrock, causing damage to several machine sheds and barns, and a home two miles northeast of Downs received major damage. Another tornado touched down west of Parkland, destroying four grain bins and blowing a machine shed 100 yards. In Woodford County, a 27 mile long area received damage to trees, power poles and power lines, and several machine sheds were destroyed by winds gusting as high as 80 mph.
Numerous severe thunderstorms dropped large hail and caused considerable wind damage across parts of the upper Midwest. The worst damage was in northeast Iowa where supercells dropped large hail and produced wind gusts up to 100 mph. A pole barn was destroyed near Protivin, IA and a brief F0 tornado caused damage near Waukon, IA. Heavy rains also caused flash flooding leading to extensive field erosion.
Behind the storm, heavy snow blanketed parts of the higher elevations of Montana. Some totals included: Wilsall: 17 inches, just north of Reed Point: 14 inches, Paradise Valley: 12 inches, Livingston/Nye: 9 inches, Big Timber: 8 inches and Billings/Columbus: 3 inches.
This was the second of three consecutive days with strong to violent tornadoes. Strong tornadoes occurred over extreme south central Oklahoma during the early morning hours, from Cornish to near Antioch. Another round of tornado producing thunderstorms struck central Oklahoma later in the day, producing a violent tornado that affected Moore, Oklahoma City, Midwest City, and Choctaw. This F4 tornado took on a path very similar to the 5/3/1999 devastating tornado. This particular tornado back in 2003 affected areas from Newcastle and Moore, to Del City and Choctaw. Although over 130 people were injured, there were no fatalities.
A tornado ripped through the Guangdong province town of Qishi, China killing two people and injuring 85 others. The storm severely damaged 474 homes.
A deadly derecho squall line raked far southern Illinois at midday devastating the Carbondale area in Illinois on its way across a 1,200-mile swath of terrain covering sections of nine states where hundreds of homes and businesses are damaged or destroyed in Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. The winds gusted to 106 mph in the Carbondale area with sustained winds measured at up to 90 mph. In southern Illinois, the storm system peeled siding and roofs off homes and other buildings, blowing out car windows and tearing up trailer parks.
Portland, OR had its latest freeze when the temperature fell to 32°. This is the only May freeze in Portland's history.
An F4 tornado moved across Floyd, Chickasaw, and Winneshiek Counties in northeast Iowa from two miles north of Pearl Rock to Calmar. Two people died just east of Calmar, when the tornado was a mile wide. Losses in and near Calmar totaled $250,000. Overall, this tornado killed 7 people and injured 15 others. An F3 tornado initially touched down a mile south of Pachard, IA then moved east northeast into Chickasaw County, Iowa and dissipated three miles east of Pearl Rock. A woman was killed there when a dozen homes were damaged. As many as 30 people hid in a single cellar. Overall, it killed one person, injured 5 other, and caused $50,000 dollars in property damage.
Yosemite Valley, CA received 7.5 inches of snow, their biggest May snowfall on record.
It was the latest opening of navigation on record at Buffalo, NY.
A major tornado outbreak occurred from Texas to Michigan. There were 28 tornadoes rated F2 or greater. Nine separate tornadoes killed five or more people making this day one of the worst tornado days in U.S. history. A tornado touched down 5 miles east of Morrisonville, IL, then moved northeast to Decatur. In Christian County, the tornado killed one person and caused 67 injuries. The tornado widened in the Decatur area, did minor damage to over 1,000 homes, and injured 50 people. Popular Bluff, MO was devastated by an F4 tornado. 98 people were killed and 300 were injured. 31 business and residential blocks were destroyed in the city. Strong, AR was leveled by another F4 tornado with 24 people killed. St. Louis, MO reported a wind gust of 75 mph.
Behind the storm, Chadron, NEreported two inches of snow. They also set their greatest daily precipitation on record for May with 2.31 inches.
A tornado causing F4 damage moved through Monroe, Cumberland, and Russell Counties in Kentucky along a 60-mile path. The town of Tompkinsville, KY was the hardest hit with 18 people killed. Overall, 36 people lost their lives.
An outbreak of tornadoes occurred in central and eastern Oklahoma with more than 10 tornadoes. The most significant tornado, an F4, touched down near Harden City in Pontotoc County, and produced a path of devastation before lifting north of Stonewall. Seven people were killed and another 12 injured by the twister. Many head of cattle were killed and 20 oil derricks north of Harden City were destroyed.
A supercell thunderstorm formed over eastern Greer County, in southwest Oklahoma. This storm then proceeded to drop hail larger than baseballs along its entire 135 mile path into the south central parts of the state. The damage was enormous. An Air Force plane that flew into the storm near Cooperton, in Kiowa County, disintegrated and crashed due to the barrage of hail, killing six people. Large hail damaged every roof in the community of Fletcher, just northeast of Fort Sill.
Record snows fell in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, including 5.4 inches at Youngstown, OH and 3.1 inches at Pittsburgh, PA. Snow also extended across parts of New York State, with 8 inches reported in the southern Adirondacks. A couple of inches was reported in parts of western New York state with 0.1 inches at Buffalo, NY.
Behind the storm, Owen, WI dropped to 13; their coldest May temperature.
Terrace, British Columbia Canada set a record May low of 28°.
A late season snowstorm hit parts of Pennsylvania, New York State, and southern and central New England. Heavier snowfall totals included 27 inches at Slide Mountain, NY and 20 inches at Norwalk, CT. At Boston, MA it was the first May snow in 107 years of records and heaviest with 0.5 inches. The heavy wet snow caused extensive damage to trees and power lines. A half a million people were without power days following the storm.
Las Vegas, NVrecorded 0.15 inches of rain. This is the only time measurable rain has fallen on this day.
TummelBridge, at Tayside, Great Britain recorded the countries greatest 24-hour temperature range; from a morning low of 19° to an afternoon high of 72°.
A heat wave occurred across the east coast: Notable afternoon highs included 95° at Boston, MA and 94° at New York City.
In contrast, beginning the previous day ending on this day, heavy snow blanketed parts of Montana. Some totals included: Red Lodge: 16 inches, Sheridan: 12 inches, Mystic Lake: 7 inches and Pryor/Broadus: 2 inches.
A tanker rammed the massive Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, FL. 30 people died as part of the bridge collapsed.
Lightning struck some trees about 150 yards away from a home in Alabama, and followed the driveway to the home. The charge went through the house and burned all the electrical outlets, ruined appliances, and blasted a hole in the concrete floor of the basement.
Strong thunderstorms produced high winds and copious rainfall amounts in eastern South Dakota. The strong winds blew down an overhang and porch near Brandon, but more impressive were the rainfall amounts. 2 to 4 inches of rain were common over much of eastern South Dakota including a 7.5 inch total at Redfield. The heavy rainfall caused extensive flooding, with Walworth and Potter counties reporting the most damage. In those counties many roads and several bridges were washed out. In Lyman County, a dam on Lake Byre broke leaving water waist deep in the town of Kennebec. 7 inches of rain in three hours caused severe flooding in Des Moines, IA. The flooding damaged 530 homes and did $16 million dollars in damage. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
Lightning killed two men standing under a tree on a golf course in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Two people who did not go under the tree were not injured.
Unseasonably warm weather spread from the Pacific Northwest to the upper Mississippi Valley. Many cities reported record high temperatures for the date; including: Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN: 91°, Eugene, OR: 87°, Olympia, WA: 87°, Havre, MT: 87°, Portland, OR: 86°, Salem, OR: 86°, Billings, MT: 86°, Great Falls, MT: 85°, Sheridan, WY: 83°, Seattle, WA: 81°, Lander, WY: 81° and Quillayute, WA: 70°, It was the fourth day of record warmth for Eugene and Salem, OR.
A strong area of low pressure in the central U.S. produced severe thunderstorms from eastern Texas to the Upper Ohio Valley. A strong F3 tornado ripped through Middleboro, KY causing more than $22 million dollars damage. Thunderstorms in east central Texas produced hail 3.5 inches in diameter at Groesbeck, and near Fairfield.
Thunderstorms developing ahead of a cold front in the south central U.S. produced golf ball size hail and wind gusts to 62 mph at Mira, LA, and during the morning hours drenched Stuttgart, AR with 5 inches of rain.
Borrego Springs, CAsoared to a record high of 108°.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather in the central U.S. during the evening hours, mainly from southeastern Missouri to southwestern Indiana. Severe thunderstorms spawned 4 tornadoes, including two strong F2 tornadoes in southern Illinois. Strong thunderstorm winds gusted to 100 mph at West Salem and to 85 mph at Orient, IL. Thunderstorms drenched northeastern Illinois with up to 4.50 inches of rain.
22.4 inches of snow fell at Marquette, MI after temperatures the day before were in the 70s.
A cyclone struck India, killing 1,000 people. The storm surge was measured at 22 feet.
Severe weather struck central Illinois, with numerous reports of hail and tornadoes. The strongest tornado developed northwest of Springfield during the late afternoon, moving northeast affecting the small town of Cantrall. The tornado then moved into southern Logan County through the town of Elkhart. The tornado was on the ground for 40 miles, finally lifting in eastern Logan County, about 5 miles northeast of the town of Beason. 6 people were injured by these tornadoes, with damage estimated around $10 million dollars. Severe thunderstorms also produced two strong tornadoes in northwest parts of Illinois, each of which traveled over 40 miles.
A 7-year-old girl was killed when a lightning bolt directly struck her as she played softball in a park at Lighthouse Point in Broward County, Florida. The thunderstorm was about 5 miles northwest of the park when the lightning struck in the midst of 10 children and coaches. The park is surrounded by trees.
In western Kansas, hail and wind cut a path 2 miles wide along highway 96 across all of Lane County. Hail was piled 6 inches deep and was visible for several days. Property damage across the county was more than $2.5 million dollars. Siding was extensively damaged on many homes, roofs were damaged, and trees had the bark stripped off. Eight power poles were broken along highway 96.
In western Kansas, an 8 mile wide area of hail and wind moved across Ness County along and near highway 96. Golf ball size hail and 80 mph winds were produced by a vicious thunderstorm that moved all the way from Scott County during the late evening hours. Damage across the county topped $1 million dollars.
A severe heat wave affected much of central and southeastern India through the 15th with daily high temperatures up to 122°. The intense heat resulted in 1,000 deaths.
A late spring snowstorm hammered the parts of the Colorado Rockies. The heaviest snowfall occurred north of I-70. The heavy wet snow caused damage to trees and downed power lines across much of metro Denver affecting 40,000 people. Snowfall totals included: 11.5 inches at Louisville, 8 inches at Boulder & Broomfield and 7 inches at Thornton and at Denver International Airport. In the foothills, 15 inches of snow fell near Jamestown, 9 inches at Rollinsville and Rawah with 8 inches at Chief Hosa and atop Lookout Mountain. The snow was accompanied by thunder at the Denver International Airport.
This was the last day of a 3-day string of strong to violent tornadoes over Oklahoma. During the evening hours, tornadoes ripped through areas from near Binger, in Caddo County, east and northeast through Union City, Bethany and Warr Acres, into the northern parts of Oklahoma City, Wellston and Stroud. The strongest tornado produced F3 damage as it tore through the northeastern Oklahoma City and Luther areas. Remarkably, there were only 10 injuries and no fatalities. The low numbers are attributed to the preparedness and actions taken by Oklahomans, emergency management, broadcast media, and the National Weather Service Forecast Office.
An F1 tornado, accompanied by 60 mph downburst winds and tennis ball sized hail, struck five miles south of Pierceton, IN. An empty unsecured mobile home was blown 150 feet and many trees were uprooted. 70 mph winds were reported at South Whitley. Softball sized hail fell two miles north of Columbia City and five miles west of Columbia City.
A late-season snowfall event occurred across the high Sierra in California beginning the previous day through early on this date. Some snowfall totals included: 16 inches at Tunnel Guard and 13 inches at Volcanic Knob.
A tornado estimated to be F4 intensity moved across 20 miles of Scott and Morgan Counties in central Illinois. The tornado touched down near Alsey and moved northeast, passing 8 miles south of Jacksonville. The tornado was strongest in the Pisgah area, where 30 buildings were destroyed. Seven people were killed. Further east, a tornado causing F3 damage touched down just north of Clinton, and moved northeast to near Arrowsmith, across De Witt and McLean Counties.
A tornado struck the Hondo Coal Mine in Mexico; 100 miles south of Eagle Pass, TX killing 22 people and tossing coal cars over 100 yards.
A monstrous supercell thunderstorm formed near the Red River in the southwestern part of the Oklahoma Territory and spawned two killer tornadoes. The first tornado moved through Jackson County, which was part of old Greer County, growing to a mile in width at one point. The tornado killed at least 10 people, and destroyed homes in and near the towns of Carmel and Lock. The second tornado formed 3 miles south-southwest of Humphreys in old Greer County (now Jackson County) and moved east-northeast crossing the North Fork of the Red River into old Kiowa County (now Tillman County) near the mouth of Otter Creek. The half-mile-wide tornado moved along and near Otter Creek and then curved to the northeast through what is now northern Tillman County. The tornado continued northeast until it struck the city of Snyder around 8:45 pm CT. The tornado killed 97 people and destroyed the western side of Snyder, including more than 100 homes. Its roar could reportedly be heard up to 12 miles away.
Washington, D.C. recorded their latest snowfall on record with a trace.
Fresno, CA began their longest stretch without any precipitation.
No precipitation fell on this date at Denver, CO. This was only one of two days without precipitation during the entire month. The other day was the 21st. Their monthly precipitation total was 4.95 inches.
A late season snowstorm struck New England with up to 3 feet of heavy wet snow reported in parts of New Hampshire.
A rare late season coastal storm dumped 7 inches of snow on Portland, ME.
0.3 inches of snow fell at Fort Wayne, IN; their latest measurable snow.
Four F4 tornadoes touched down in parts of eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. One F4 tornado moved northeast from northeast of Fountain City, WI to Colburn, WI. This tornado struck about a hundred farms. Eight farms were hit in Glencoe Township, northeast of Fountain City. Total damage from this tornado was $1 million dollars and it caused 10 injuries. The second F4 tornado moved from 5 miles southwest of Chester, IA to 4 miles northeast of Chatfield, MN. Eleven farms were heavily damaged in northern Iowa before this tornado crossed into Fillmore County, Minnesota. Twenty barns were damaged or destroyed in Minnesota and one man was killed as his barn was destroyed one mile southeast of Wykoff. A rural school was leveled 3 miles south of Chatfield as well. The third F4 tornado moved northeast and passed about 2 miles northwest of St. Charles, MN. Farms were torn up all along the track. An infant was killed and 4 other people were injured in a car that was thrown 100 feet, about 1.5 miles west of St. Charles, IA. Hundreds of trees were snapped at Whitewater State Park. Overall this tornado killed one person and injured 11 people. The final F4 tornado moved across Rusk, Price, and Taylor counties in Wisconsin. This storm tracked north-northeast to 7 miles north of Phillips, but the damage path was not continuous. One farm house was leveled and pieces of it were found 7 miles away. The tornado was most intense in Price County where F4 damage was witnessed for 12 miles. Over $150,000 worth of damage resulted. An F3 tornado moved northeast across Clayton County, Iowa from 7 miles north northeast of Elkader to just northeast of Giard. Barns and silos were destroyed as the tornado struck 8 farms. At least 60 head of cattle were killed. A farmer was carried 700 feet, but suffered only minor injures.
Record cold hit the upper Midwest as many cities reported record low temperatures for May including: Necedah, WI: 16°, Preston, MN: 18°, Theilman, MN: 18°, Hillsboro, WI: 19°, Sparta, WI: 21°, Bloomington, IL: 21°, Aurora, IL: 21°, Decorah, IA: 22° and Quincy, IL: 28°.
Snow flurries were reported at Fort Wayne, IN, Kansas City, MO and Chicago, IL.
Windsor, Ontario Canadaset their low temperature record for May as they dropped to 27°.
A very powerful tornado struck the city of Lubbock, TX, killing 26 people, injuring more than 500 others, and causing $135 million dollars damage. It was the most destructive tornado of record up until that time, and came on the 17th anniversary of the twister which struck Waco, TX killing 114 people. A second tornado killed two others people in Lubbock, and the two tornadoes damaged or destroyed nearly a quarter of the city.
An unprecedented spring snowstorm, spawned by a huge 500 millibar cutoff low, hit southern New England and southeastern New York. This storm, which began on the 9th, was an elevation storm. 20 inches of snow fell at Norfolk, CT (elevation 1,337 feet) while downtown Hartford received only 1.2 inches. The highest total occurred at Slide Mountain, NY (elevation 2,600 feet) with 26 inches falling. Extensive damage to trees and power lines occurred with 500,000 people without power following the storm. This was the first May snow in 107 years of records at Boston, MA although only 0.5 inches fell there. However, in the nearby suburb of Bedford, 9.5 inches fell. Worcester, MA recorded 12.7 inches, the Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, MA measured 7.8 inches, and Providence, RI had 7 inches.
Thunderstorm winds gusted to 60 mph and 3.25" of rain fell south of Punta Gorda, FL. Luckily, no significant damage reported.
An F3 tornado was first sighted six miles west of Tintah, MN. The tornado moved into town of Tintah and then northeastward, dissipating north of Wendell. Two farms sites were damaged west of Tintah. Nearly one dozen farm buildings were destroyed and 50 cows were killed. Hail as large as softballs preceded the tornado into Tintah where there was extensive damage. A school and church received heavy damage, two railroad cars were overturned, homes and grain buildings were damaged and utility poles and trees were up rooted.
Three feet of snow fell over the Bears Paw Mountains of north central Montana and snow and high winds created near blizzard conditions over portions of central Montana.
Bangkok, Thailand received 15.79 inches of rain in 24 hours ending the next day setting their national record.
Summer-like "Father's Day" type weather prevailed in the north central and western U.S. for "Mother's Day", as many cities reported record high temperatures for the date including Jamestown, ND with 96°.
Thunderstorms along the Central Gulf Coast deluged Lillian, AL with 14.5 inches of rain, and nearby Perdido Key, FL with 12.8 inches of rain.
Thunderstorms produced hail and high winds over the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast States marking the end of a five day episode of severe weather associated with low pressure tracking out of the Great Basin into southeastern Canada. An F3 tornado struck Middleboro, KY causing $22 million dollars in damage.
Lightning struck a house in Boulder, CO setting it afire. The house valued at $170,000 was a total loss.
Thunderstorms developing ahead of a cold front crossing the Plateau Region produced wind gusts to 75 mph at Butte, MT, and gusts to 77 mph at Choteau, MT.
A spring snowstorm produced heavy snow in upper Michigan and eastern Wisconsin. Marquette, MI recorded 22.4 inches of snow to set not only a new single storm snowfall record for May but also a new monthly record for snowfall in May besting the old record of 1.4 inches set back in 1980. 8 inches fell at Muskegon, MI and Hartford, WI. The heavy wet snow and winds gusting to 35 mph damaged or destroyed thousands of trees and downed power lines. Total damage from the storm was more than $4 million dollars.
An F2 tornado hit Vineland, NJ, blowing out a concrete wall at a school. People were injured by flying glass at an auto dealership. An F0 tornado also touched down in Carmel, Cumberland Co, with wind gusts measured at 76 mph. Hundreds of trees were either uprooted or broken off and utility poles were downed. Thunderstorms produced wind gusts of 61 mph in Somers Point and Hammonton, NJ, and golf ball sized hail at South Toms River, NJ.
Severe thunderstorms blasted western Texas and Nebraska. 15 tornadoes were reported in western Texas. Three miles northwest of Lazbuddie, a complex of 5 tornadoes touched down within 10 minutes of one another. This consisted of the main funnel, rated an F2 and 4 'satellite' tornadoes that rotated around the main vortex at a distance of about a quarter of a mile. Hail 6 inches in diameter broke many windshields and did extensive damage to roofs in Pyote, TX. 5-inch hailstones fell from a supercell thunderstorm near Crawford, NE.
A very slow moving severe thunderstorm produced up to 7 inches of rain over northeastern Sioux county of the Nebraska panhandle. This resulted in major flooding of the White River, which swept into the Crawford, NE area. The river crested at 16.3 feet at Crawford, while numerous roads, bridges, and 20 miles of railroad tracks were washed out. In addition, hail up to 5 inches in diameter was reported near Fort Robinson and Crawford. Damage estimates from the storms exceeded $16 million dollars.
On this date through the 12th, heavy rainfall led to devastating flash floods in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. Rain amounts ranged from 4 to 10 inches in most locations. The runoff poured into creeks and rivers, rapidly driving them out of their banks. The city of Oral was the hardest hit as flood waters carried several houses a few hundred feet from where they originally stood. Many roads, culverts, and bridges were completely washed out by the floods causing over $1 million dollars in damage.
Shreveport LA eclipsed their annual average rainfall for the year as 45 inches of rain had fallen by this date. The normal for an average year is only 43.84 inches. This was the earliest date the average annual rainfall total had been surpassed.
Graduation ceremony was ready to commence when softball hail struck Howard College at Big Spring, TX. Skylights on the coliseum roof were shattered sending glass falling onto the floor that would have been filled with graduates just a few minutes later. A Boy Scout caravan of 5 vehicles was pummeled by 5 inch diameter hail. The hail knocked out every window in every vehicle.
Thunderstorms produced 3 to 5 inches of rain across parts of east central Illinois during the morning, leading to flash floods. In southern Champaign County, the town of Broadlands sustained major flood damage to 5 homes and minor damage to another 29, as well as to the local high school. In Vermilion County, parts of Danville had to be evacuated after flood gates were opened on Lake Vermilion.
A tornado outbreak produced 4 separate tornadoes that caused F2 and F3 damage in Knox, Lewis, Monroe, Marion and Ralls counties in Missouri and Adams and Brown counties in Illinois. The outbreak was responsible for only two injuries, but the property damage was estimated at $5.5 million dollars.
Several tornadoes touched down during the evening across central and western Illinois. A long track tornado caused extensive damage in eastern parts of South Pekin, destroying 50 homes and damaging another 80 others. This tornado moved northeast into Morton, destroying several apartment buildings and damaging many vehicles on I-155 and I-74. Over 100 homes in Morton were damaged.
A strong area of low pressure lifted northeast out of southwest Missouri and into central Missouri during the evening. Instability increased over southeast Kansas and the southwest corner of Missouri during the late afternoon as temperatures rose into the mid to upper 70s. The instability along with the strong cold front caused severe thunderstorms to develop. With strong wind shear in the area, the storms in this area quickly became tornadic along with producing large hail to the size of softballs. The tornadic storms were mainly concentrated in an area from Cherokee County, Kansas to Newton and Barry counties in Missouri.