WEATHER HISTORY FOR 21ST - 31ST
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)
A severe hailstorm occurred in parts of Virginia and was recorded by pioneer storm studiers Rolfe and Smith.
Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis was born on this date. Coriolis was a French engineer and mathematician who first described the Coriolis force, an effect of motion on a rotating body, which is of paramount importance to Meteorology. The Coriolis force on Earth is one factor that determines general wind directions and is responsible for the rotation of hurricanes and other low pressure systems.
The Dutch government wanted weather reports for its port cities. They approached meteorologist Christopher Buys-Ballot. The weatherman used a network of observing stations connected by telegraph. Although his network was sparse, Bays-Ballot had discovered a helpful weather maxim. To be named for him, the principle states that if an observer stands with the wind at his back in the northern Hemisphere, low pressure is to his or her left. Using this technique, an observer can detect and track the movement of low pressure systems even without a weather map.
A wide area of southern Ohio and northern Kentucky were struck by intense downburst winds and possible tornadoes. The affected area stretched 250 miles from Louisville, KY to Portsmouth, OH. Tornadoes struck the Ohio cities of Cincinnati, Chillicothe and Marietta & Louisville, KYcausing a million dollars damage. Six people died in the Cincinnati area.
The temperature at Norwalk, OH dipped to 19°to set a state record for the month of May.
The temperature at Salton, CA soared to 124°, the highest ever recorded in the United States during the month of May.
South central Illinois was affected by several tornadoes during the late afternoon hours. One affected areas around Mt. Sterling, destroying several barns and unroofing many homes. A violent tornado crossed the Mississippi River from the St. Louis area into Wood River, then to Roxanna. This tornado damaged or destroyed 300 homes in these two towns, killing 5 people. Another violent tornado in southeast Illinois caused significant damage in Palestine, before the storm moved into Indiana. Four people were killed in a destroyed restaurant in Palestine; one body was recovered from a tree.
A tornado causing F4 damage killed 5 people and injured 55 in St. Louis and St. Charles counties in Missouri and Madison County in Illinois. This tornado was part of an outbreak that produced 4 different tornadoes and was responsible for 5 deaths and 57 injuries.
A tornado touched down at Little London (Buckinghamshire), England and tracked 67 miles to Coveney (Cambridgeshire). From there it continued as a funnel cloud, another 33 miles to Shipham (Norfolk) where it dissipated over the North Sea.
Tornadoes raged across Lambton and Middlesex Counties in southwestern Ontario Canada leaving five people dead and property damage was estimated at $8 million dollars in the Sarnia region.
An intense electrical storm that moved through Tecumseh, OK which resulted in lightning "fire balls ", running along the city's power lines. Only brief power outages and minor damage were reported, except for an abandoned home that burned down after being struck by the lightning.
Yankton, SD was blasted with a 103 mph wind gust. The strong winds uprooted many trees and toppled farm structures.
A strong upper level ridge brought record heat from parts of the Rockies to the Northern Plains. Williston, ND soared to 102° then soared to 106° the next day.
Locations that reported daily record highs included: Miles City, MT: 96°, Minot, ND: 96°, Dickinson, MT: 96°, Bismarck, ND: 96°, Great Falls, MT: 93°, Pierre, SD: 93°, Billings, MT: 91°, Boise, ID: 90°-Tied, Helena, MT: 89°, Bozeman, MT: 88° and Burley, ID: 88°-Tied.
Lightning injured three men as they stood under a tree at the Fox Meadows Golf Course in Memphis, TN. The bolt evidently went through one man's neck, down his spine, and then came out a pocket.
Severe thunderstorms, developing along a sharp cold front crossing the central U.S., produced 60 mph winds and golf ball size hail at Sedalia, MO, and drenched Hagerstown, IN with 6 inches of rain in one hour.
Temperatures soared into the 90s ahead of the cold front. Paducah, KY hit 94°for the second day in a row.
Light snow blanketed parts of Montana, with three inches reported at Butte.
Severe thunderstorms swept across southern Louisiana during the morning hours spawning six tornadoes, and producing wind gusts to 88 mph at Jennings. Thunderstorms also produced 5 inches of rain in two hours at Lake Charles, causing local flooding.
Thunderstorms moving southeastward across the Central Plains Region into Oklahoma and Arkansas produced severe weather through the day and night. Thunderstorms spawned just 4 tornadoes, but there were 243 reports of large hail and damaging winds. Baseball size hail was reported at Augusta, KS, and thunderstorm winds gusted to 98 mph at Johnson, KS.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather across the southeastern U.S. for the second day in a row. Severe thunderstorms spawned 5 tornadoes, including one which injured a person at Richmond, KY. There were 87 reports of large hail or damaging winds, with hail 3 inches in diameter reported at Austin, TX. Thunderstorms produced up to 5 inches of rain in Macon County, Georgia, and heavy rains left nearly 8 feet of water over roads near Stepstone, KY.
Stationary thunderstorms dumped 8 inches of rain in 6 hours on Liberal, KS, causing the worst flood in 45 years. More than 35 homes were damaged and many people had to be temporarily relocated. The Red Cross provided assistance and some residents could only be reached by boat. Special pumping equipment was brought in to remove the water. Fish, mostly catfish, were being caught in the streets. The flood waters remained until early afternoon on the 23rd.
Canadian high pressure across the Mid-Atlantic brought record low temperatures to parts of the East. The morning low of 28° degrees in Atlantic City, NJ was the coldest ever for so late in season.
Locations that reported daily record lows for the date included: Martinsburg, WV: 35°, Salisbury, MD: 36°, Aberdeen, MD: 37°, Willow Grove, PA: 37°, Baltimore, MD: 38°, Groton, CT: 38°-Tied, Dover, DE: 41°, Wilmington, DE: 41°, Washington, D.C.: 43° and Arcadia, FL: 47°.
Nearly stationary thunderstorms dumped 5 to 7.5 inches of rain on the southwest side of Sioux Falls, SD causing major urban flooding. At least 200 basements were flooded by water and sewage as storm and sewer systems backed up. Water came up to the roofs of cars in the Empire Mall area. Nearly 3,000 customers in Sioux Falls lost power due to the flooding. Quarter sized hail fell for up to 1.5 hours continuously in some areas in southwest Sioux Falls causing considerable damage to hundreds of roofs, trees, and gardens. Thousands of cars received extensive hail damage. The storm seemed to serve as a precursor for the wet months and extensive flooding that occurred in the summer of 1993.
Golfers participating in a golf tournament on the Majestic Golf Course in Hartland, MI received an urgent message on the Global Positioning Units on their carts. The message, replayed from the clubhouse, was that a tornado was bearing down on the course. Most of the golfers made it to safety in the clubhouse, although some had to take shelter out on the course. Only one golfer suffered a minor injury. The F2 tornado damaged 70 cars in the parking lot along with numerous golf carts and a pontoon boat. The clubhouse received just minor damage.
A record warm weekend started across Oklahoma and northern Texas. Most of the area had warmed into the upper 90s to just over 100°, as a ridge of high pressure had built across the southwestern United States.
A cold front swept across South Africa setting 54 weather records. Most were for lowest maximum and minimum daily temperatures, with some locations reaching a low minimum temperature of 21° while in some other locations the lowest maximum temperature was 35°.
It is not surprising that the larger the hailstone, the faster it falls. If you've ever been amazed at the damage caused by a hailstorm, you won't be when you hear how fast the stones are falling. A pea-size hailstone falls at approximately 22 miles an hour.
The golf ball size stones will plunge earthward at around 60 miles an hour while the massive baseball size stones fall at a rate of around 100 miles an hour.
No measurable rainfall has fallen in Las Vegas on this date since records began in 1937.
The Kennebec Flood went through Waterville, ME, discharging 140,000 cubic feet per second. The high stage was not equaled until 1901, and was exceeded in 1936.
A violent tornado, estimated to be F4 intensity, moved across west central Illinois. It touched down about 5 miles southwest of Roseville, and tracked due east, passing just outside of Youngstown and about 1.5 miles north of Prairie City, before lifting across Fulton County. At least a dozen farms were completely devastated, with another 40 damaged to some degree. Three people were killed, and 28 injured, along the tornado's 16 mile track.
Denver, COwas drenched with 6.53 inches of rain in 24 hours, an all-time record for that location.
A tornado moved north-northeast from 3 miles north of the Ford county line, passing 2 miles west of Dodge City. A dozen barns and four homes were destroyed on at least 10 farms. A tornado moved north-northeast, passing 15 miles west of Kinsley, KS. The tornado was reportedly seen to "bounce" over the prairie. One person was killed and over 200 cattle were killed by tornadoes this day.
New England's hottest temperature ever in May was measured at Lewiston, ME with a reading of 101°.
The United Kingdom recorded its hottest May temperature on record when the thermometer hit 91° at Camden Square in London.
A tornado moved north-northeast from 7 miles south southwest of Liberal, KS, through that town. This tornado also struck in the total darkness of a depression era dust storm. It masked this entire western Kansas outbreak. It destroyed the business district and the northwest residential area. At least 165 homes and 44 businesses were badly damaged or destroyed. Four people were killed and 150 injured. Damage was $750,000.
An early season tropical storm quickly developed and struck the Island of Hispaniola, killing an estimated 80 people. The storm would continue moving north passing to the west of Bermuda on the 27th before dissipating well to the east of the Delmarva coast on the 28th.
Heavy rains produced one of the worst flood disasters during the early morning hours in Hays, KS. Six people were killed. Heavy rains fell earlier in the month and this also contributed to the flooding. 1951 ended up as the wettest year for Hays with 43.34 inches of precipitation recorded. For May and June, 20.42 inches of rain was recorded at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center just south of Hays.
An 8.6 magnitude earthquake off the coast of south-central Chile caused a Pacific-wide tsunami. The death toll from the tsunami and earthquake is estimated to have been as high as 2,290 people.
Thunderstorms packing extremely high winds raked portions of eastern South Dakota. Strong winds and hail hit several counties in the northeast portion of the state with a few funnel clouds being sighted. But, the real weather was going on in the southeast where Mitchell reported a gust of 75 miles an hour and Yankton was blasted with a 103 mile an hour gusts. The strong winds toppled many trees and farm structures in the Yankton area. On the backside of the storm, Laramie, WY reported 3.7 inches of snow. In contrast, out ahead of the storm system, Necedah, WI set a May record high with 93°.
Caribou, ME recorded their all-time record high of 96°.
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada set a record high for May when the temperature rose to 99°.
The Pearl River was 10 feet over flood stage at Carthage, MS due to heavy rains. This was the second worst flood in history for Carthage.
A devastating hailstorm hit the Sichuan Province of China. Reports indicate that up to 100 people were killed, 35,000 homes destroyed and entire crops devastated.
A powerful F4 tornado virtually wiped the small southwest Texas community of Saragosa off the map. The twister destroyed 85% of the structures in the town killing 30 people and injuring 121 others in the town that had a population of 183. The half mile wide tornado hurled trucks and autos through adobe and wood- frame homes, with some vehicles blown 500 feet. The NWS issued the tornado warning for the area 20 minutes before the tornado hit, but the town did not have a warning siren. Even if a siren had been activated, there was no pre-identified shelter in this community or county, and the community hall might have been considered one of the safest structures. Most housing structures were not built to withstand high wind, and walls were constructed of wood, bricks, adobe, or unreinforced concrete. The maximum cloud top with this cell was 61,000 feet.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather over the Central Gulf Coast States. Tennis ball size hail was reported at Ripley, MS. Showers and thunderstorms in southern Missouri produced 3.20 inches of rain at Springfield to easily surpass their rainfall record for the date.
Unseasonably hot weather continued in southern Texas and parts of the southwestern U.S. Several cities reported record high temperatures for the date, including El Paso, TX with a reading of 100°. Presidio TX was the hot spot in the nation with a high of 111°.
Late afternoon and evening thunderstorms developing ahead of a cold front in the north central U.S. produced severe weather from northwestern Kansas to central Minnesota and southeastern North Dakota. There were 29 reports of damaging winds, or dime to golf ball size hail. Strong thunderstorm winds gusted to 69 mph at Alexandria, MN. Showers and thunderstorms over eastern North Carolina soaked Wilmington with 2.91 inches of rain, which established a record for the date.
Unseasonal snow occurred in northern Maine. Houlton reported 2 inches and an inch at Caribou, ME.
Extremely dry weather moved into northern Illinois during the month resulting in the all-time driest May for Chicago, IL on record. On this date, this was the first day Chicago recorded measurable rain for the month and with the next days total the month ended with 0.30 inches. This was only 9% of the monthly average.
Nearly stationary thunderstorms dumped 5 to 7.5 inches of rain on the southwest side of Sioux Falls, SD causing major urban flooding. At least 200 basements were flooded by water and sewage as storm and sewer systems backed up. Water came up to the roofs of cars in the Empire Mall area. Nearly 3,000 customers in Sioux Falls lost power due to the flooding. Quarter sized hail fell for up to 1.5 hours continuously in some areas in southwest Sioux Falls causing considerable damage to hundreds of roofs, trees, and gardens. Thousands of cars received extensive hail damage. The storm seemed to serve as a precursor for the wet months and extensive flooding that occurred in the summer of 1993.
2 to 4 inches of rain was reported in the Garden City, KS area. Some streets and intersections in the Garden City area were flooded.
Strong to severe thunderstorms moved across southwest Kansas during the late afternoon and evening hours. Hail the size of cantaloupes was reported in Preston, 7 miles northeast of Pratt. In Kinsley, hail smashed numerous building and vehicle windows. A hospital had to be evacuated when broken windows allowed heavy rain to flood the facilities. In Stafford County, Rattlesnake Creek was flooding from torrential rain of up to 11 inches.
Sinking air from collapsing evening thunderstorms in Oklahoma warmed as it reached the surface, causing a massive heat-burst into the overnight hours. The heatburst, with its dramatic increases in temperature and severe straight line winds spread across much of southwestern and central Oklahoma during a six hour period. Temperatures soared to above 100° in many locations. The temperature at Ninnekah, OK soared from the low 80’s to 105° between 11pm and 3am. Wind speeds in excess of 70 mph were measured throughout southwest Oklahoma and in parts of central and south-central Oklahoma. Damage in the Lawton and Marlow areas was severe. Total damage estimates exceeded $18 million dollars.
A severe thunderstorm pummeled the northwest and north sections of Denver, CO with large hail ranging from three-quarters to 2 inches in diameter. The cities of Arvada and Westminster were the hardest hit. The insurance industry estimated $60 million dollars in damage to homes and personal property and $62 million dollars in damage to automobiles. The estimate also included the cities of Golden, Thornton and Wheat Ridge.
Melbourne, FL recorded a record high of 97° and a record low of 68° this day; only one of a handful of cities ever to have a record high and low in the same calendar day.
An unusual late season frost in the North Carolina Mountains caused significant damage to the Christmas tree crop.
13 inches of snow fell at Cooke City, MT through the 23rd.
A F4 tornado tracked 54 miles through Jefferson, Saline, Gage, Lancaster, and Otoe Counties in Nebraska. 95% of the buildings in the town of Hallam were destroyed or severely damaged. The tornado was 2.5 miles wide at one point. One person was killed, 38 injured, and damages totaled $160 million dollars.
Massachusettslawyer James Otis often remarked to friends that when it was his time to die he hoped it would be by a bolt of lightning. Today he got his wish when he was leaning against a doorway in his home and lightning struck the chimney and traveled through the frame of the house, killing Mr. Otis.
Hailstones as large as 11 inches in diameter and weighing a half pound reportedly pounded parts of New Hampshire.
A late May snowfall blanketed eastern Iowa with 4 to 6 inches of snow reported around the town of Washington.
A heat wave gripped parts of the Midwest. Rockford, IL hit 95° and rose to 93° the next day; both record highs. There were 15 days during the month where high temperatures climbed to 80 degrees and above.
Record flooding was in progress along the Illinois River. Peoria, IL reported a crest of 28.8 feet on this date, marking the highest crest on record. Downstream, record crests occurred at Havana on the 25th, at 27.2 feet, and at Beardstown on the 26th, at 29.7 feet.
The temperature at Hollis, OK soared from a morning low of 70° to an afternoon high of 110° to establish a state record for the month of May.
One of the costliest hail storms in Oklahoma City, OK history pummeled the city on this date. Hail the size of baseballs fell over much of the city, resulting in more than 40,000 insurance claims over the 90,000 square mile path of the storm. The final cost was more than $20 million dollars. The parent thunderstorm also caused flash flooding that left 2 to 4 feet of water in some underpasses, and a lightning strike that started a fire that killed two people.
A cold spring storm moved in to the Plains but not after leaving 5 inches of snow, and 1.12 inches of precipitation, at Laramie, WY.
The temperature in Chatham, New Brunswick Canada soared to 96°, setting a record high. It will also be the highest temperature measured anywhere in Canada that May.
Strong thunderstorms produced wind gusts to 65 mph at Shreveport LA and golf ball size hail at Marfa, TX. Hobart, OK, received 3.55 inches of rain in the morning, and another 4.03 inches of rain that evening. Thunderstorms in Nebraska produced 8.5 inches of rain in two hours north of Potter, and 7.5 inches of rain in 90 minutes north of Minatare. Thunderstorms in Colorado produced five inches of hail at Greeley.
Severe thunderstorms developing along a cold front resulted in 98 reports of large hail and damaging winds in the Northern Plains and Upper Mississippi Valley. Golf ball size hail caused a million dollars damage around Buffalo City, WI. Baseball size hail was reported at Northfield and Randolph, MN, and thunderstorm winds gusted to 95 mph at Dunkerton, IA and 60 mph was common across all of northwest Iowa.
Unseasonably hot weather continued in the south central states. Pueblo, CO, equaled their May record with a high of 98°, and the high of 106° at Midland, TX, marked a record six straight days of 100 degree heat. Colorado Springs, CO set a daily record high with 91°.
A cold front crossing the western U.S. produced snow over parts of Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho and Utah, with 5 inches reported at Austin NV, and 4 inches at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. Strong winds behind the cold front sharply reduced visibilities in blowing dust over central California, and two multi-vehicle accidents resulted in one death and 18 injuries. In northern Idaho, a cloud-burst washed tons of topsoil, and rocks as large as footballs, into the valley town of Culdesac.
Stapleton International Airport at Denver, CO reported a microburst wind gust of 52 mph.
Thunderstorms in the Denver, CO area produced large hail up to golf ball size. An estimated 5,000 homes and 8,000 cars received considerable damage. Damage was estimated at $60 million dollars. Hail accumulated to a depth of 6 inches at Aurora.
International Falls, MN picked up late season snow flurries.
The record for the hottest May temperature ever recorded at Wichita Falls, TX occurred on this date and on the following day. The temperature rose to 110° on both days. Other daily record highs included: Roswell, NM: 106°, Abilene, TX: 106°, Del Rio, TX: 105°, Lubbock, TX: 105°, San Angelo, TX: 105°, Amarillo, TX: 102°, Oklahoma City, OK: 100°, Dodge City, KS: 99°, Albuquerque, NM: 97°, Clayton, NM: 96°, Goodland, KS: 96° and Tulsa, OK: 94°.
The temperature hit 116° at Palm Springs, CA. This tied their highest temperature for the month of May with 5/28/1983 & 5/28/2003.
A Pacific storm system brought some much needed snow to the Colorado Mountains and foothills with a mix of rain on the Plains. Snowfall totals included: 13 inches at Coal Creek Canyon, 11 inches near Evergreen and atop Gold Hill, 10 inches near Blackhawk, Conifer and atop Crow Hill, 9 inches near Rollinsville and 8 inches near Genesee and Golden. The former Stapleton International Airport at Denver reported less than an inch. Three temperature records were set. The morning low temperature of 31° was a record low; as was the morning low of 32° the following morning. The high temperature of only 48° equaled the record low maximum.
Dense fog on I-68 in Garrett County, MD was a principal cause in a massive 80 car chain reaction accident that killed two people and sent over 90 people to the hospital. The series of accidents occurred in about a ten minute period at mid-afternoon. The interstate was closed until 11am the next morning, making Memorial Day holiday traffic a nightmare.
Several days of heavy rain, including at least 5 individual thunderstorm complexes, tracked across northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin from the 21st through this date. Record river flooding and widespread flash flooding was reported in the region after some areas received 8 to 10 inches of rain. The bulk of the heavy rain fell Friday night and again Saturday night. Record river levels were set on the Volga and Turkey River in northeast Iowa. The crest reading for the Turkey River at Garber, IA topped out at 33.14 feet.
A strong late season cold low pressure system brought significant weather changes to the southern Great Basin and Mojave Desert. Earlier in the week Las Vegas set a record high temperature of 108° falling just one degree shy of the all-time May record. Four days later, on this date, the high temperature only reached 67° which set a daily record for the coolest high temperature. Also the day before, Las Vegas set its all-time lowest May altimeter reading of 29.27 inHg. Showers and thunderstorms developed around the region with several locations reporting small hail. Mount Charleston received around 3 inches of snowfall down to the 7,500 foot level.
A thunderstorm occurred at the Billings airport in Montana for the first time in 2008. This was the latest occurrence of a first thunderstorm at Billings since records began in 1939.
10 inch diameter hail was reported at Knoxville, TN. In addition, a tornado reportedly sucked fish out of a creek.
A severe hailstorm near Olathe, KS reportedly caused one fatality.
Heavy snows occurred over parts of the northeast and New England. 4 inches of snow fell in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
6 inches of snow blanketed parts of Kentucky. Just four days earlier, up to 10 inches had fallen across the Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.
An F4 tornado passed just north of Des Moines, IA during the late evening. As many as 7 members of one family were killed at the north edge of Valeria, IA. They were caught in the open, running to the storm cellar. Five others died in a nearby home. A steel railroad rail was reportedly driven 15 feet into the ground. The death toll was at least 21.
Yosemite Valley, CA received their latest measurable snow as a half inch fell.
Cool weather settled in across the upper Midwest causing low temperatures to fall near the freezing mark in some locations. On this date, Chicago, IL dropped to 37°.
A tornado touched down near the town of Pratt, KS, and traveled at the incredibly slow speed of just 5 mph.
Hail fell near Ada, OK to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, and rainfall runoff left drifts of hail up to five feet high.
A windstorm with gusts reaching 55 mph damaged lobster traps and fishing equipment around Prince Edward Island, Canada.
An 8.5 magnitude earthquake hit Chile in South America. Waves 8 feet above normal hit San Diego, CA destroying docks near Point Loma and extensively damaged the harbor from tide currents estimated at 20 to 25 knots.
A tornado struck Tokyo Japan's southwestern suburbs damaging 480 homes.
The Union City, OK tornado was the first storm to be studied in detail by the National Severe Storms Laboratory Doppler Radar Unit at Norman, OK and an armada of researchers in the field. Research of the radar data from the storm would lead to discovery of the “TVS”, or Tornado Vortex Signature. The presence of a TVS on Doppler radar data is a very strong indication of tornadic potential in a severe thunderstorm.
San Francisco, CA shattered their record high temperature for the date by 12 degrees with a high of 91.
Severe thunderstorms in southwest Texas spawned a couple of tornadoes near Silverton, and produced golf ball size hail east of the town of Happy. Thunderstorms also produced large hail and damaging winds in Louisiana and Texas.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather in the southeastern U.S. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 88 mph at Columbia, NC. Baseball size hail was reported near Tifton, GA.
Thunderstorms developing ahead of a cold front produced severe weather across the Upper Midwest through the day and night. Thunderstorms spawned 30 tornadoes, and there were 158 reports of large hail and damaging winds. One storm over southwest Iowa spawned an F3 tornado one mile east of Corning. The tornado lifted a few times along its 50 mile path before lifting for good 3 miles west of Davis City. Near Prescott, this tornado was about one mile wide and totally destroyed a farm. Damage was estimated at $5 million dollars. A powerful F4 tornado caused $5 million dollars damage at Traer, IA. Thunderstorm winds gusting to 88 mph killed one person and injured five others at Stephensville, WI.
Across Illinois, in Carlinville hail of 2.5 inches in diameter caused $1 million dollars damage, including 55 broken windows at the Macoupin County Courthouse. Six people were injured. Tennis-ball size hail fell at Litchfield. In Vandalia, baseball size hail caused $4 million damage at the correctional center. The hail caused major roof damage and 1,000 broken windows, and even cracked 19 bullet-proof windows. Baseball size hail was also reported south of Effingham.
Severe thunderstorms spawned two dozen tornadoes from Montana to Oklahoma. Four tornadoes carved a 109-mile path across central Kansas. The third of the four tornadoes blew 88 cars of a 125-car train off the track, stacking them three to four cars high in some cases, and the fourth tornado caused $3.9 million dollars damage. The third tornado injured six people who were trying to escape in vehicles.
The largest known tornado outbreak in Wyoming occurred over northern and eastern Laramie County. A dozen tornadoes were produced by a group of severe storms, with the largest tornado about a quarter mile wide. Fortunately damage was limited due to the tornadoes remaining over open country, though hail up to 2.5 inches in diameter was reported in Albin, WY.
Philadelphia, PA experienced dramatic temperature drop from early afternoon high of 80 to late afternoon readings in the 40s.
On this date through the 26th, a late spring snowstorm dumped 4 to 10 inches of snow over the Front Range foothills in Colorado. Conifer picked up 10 inches, Aspen Springs: 9 inches and Central City: 8 inches. The heavy wet snow brought down tree branches and caused scattered power outages; some taking up to 6 hours to restore.
A significant flood began over parts of Kimball and Cheyenne counties of the Nebraska panhandle. Over 7.5 inches of rain was reported over western Kimball County from thunderstorms which caused major flooding along Lodgepole Creek from Bushnell east to the Cheyenne County line.
Strong severe thunderstorm downburst winds estimated at 60 to 80 mph, caused estimated damages of $1 million dollars in the Los Lunas-Belen area of New Mexico. After the storm, the National Weather Service in Albuquerque became concerned about the lack of public awareness of what to do when a tornado warning was issued. Schools in the area correctly evacuated trailers during the warning, but moved the students to gymnasiums, which is a mistake in a tornado situation.
Lubbock, TX soared to 109° for their hottest May temperature on record. Midland, TX tied their highest May temperature record with 108°.
Severe thunderstorms developed across the Las Vegas valley in Nevada through the afternoon. A wind gust of 64 mph was recorded at McCarran International Airport and a wind gust of 66 mph was recorded at the National Weather Service office. Several trees were blown down and power outages were reported in Primm, Jean, and Goodsprings. A sign was also blown over on the south end of The Strip and visibility was reduced to near zero in blowing dust.
Firefighters battling a lightning-induced blaze near Deckers, CO in the Pike National Forest received a little help from a 4 inch blanket of snow. But snow can actually hinder the efforts of firefighters by hiding hot spots from their infra-red cameras. The snow can also act as an insulating blanket, actually keeping smoldering embers burning. The late-season storm dumped 9 inches of snow on Estes Park and brought a dusting to the Denver area.
The last measurable snow for the season fell at Marquette, MI. This brought the city's seasonal snowfall to 319.8 inches, by far the city's snowiest winter ever.
A hailstone measuring 6 inches in diameter with a circumference of 16.5 inches fell from a supercell thunderstorm at Meadville, MO.
Residents of Calgary, Alberta Canada awoke to trees bending and breaking under the weight of a heavy, wet snow that measured 4 inches at the Calgary International Airport to 6 to 8 inches in surrounding areas.
Vicksburg, MS had a series of frosts, "which were extraordinary" for this time of year.
A child was reportedly sucked up by a waterspout at Iowa City, IA and blown 500 yards, but miraculously survived the ordeal.
An estimated F2 tornado moved northeast through the town of Mitchell, SD. Two men were killed when they ran out the back door of a saloon in order to reach the cellar entrance. The Caulk Stone Saloon was destroyed along with two homes and several businesses. This tornado was one of the first significant tornadoes on record for the state of South Dakota.
A tornado causing F5 damage hit Oakwood, Ortonville, and Thomas, MI. 47 people were killed and 100 were injured. Trees were debarked "even to the twigs, as though done by the careful hand of an experienced artisan". Parts of houses were found up to 12 miles away.
San Diego, CA soared to 98°; a record high temperature for the month of May.
A tornado ripped through southeast Kansas, traveling at 65 mph. The average speed was a record for any tornado.
Fussen, Bavaria Germany recorded 4.96 inches of rain in just 8 minutes to set the world’s rainfall record for that length of time.
The Netherlands recorded their hottest May temperature on record when the high reached 96° at Sittard and Gemert.
Lansing, MI recorded their latest snow on record with a morning low of 32°.
A major storm dumped 10 inches of snow at Denver, CO and close to 11 inches at the airport. The storm caused extensive damage to utility wires and trees which were in full leaf. Denver set a record low of 31°. This reading remains the lowest for so late in the season.
An F5 tornado cut through the heart of Blackwell, OK, killing 24 people, destroying 400 homes, and caused $8 million dollars damage. The same supercell thunderstorm produced another F5 tornado a short time later across the border in Kansas. Over half the population of Udall: 75 people were killed as the F5 tornado leveled most of the town. Damage was set at $2.2 million dollars.
A slow moving nor'easter battered New England with high winds, heavy rain, and record late season snow from this date into the 26th. Boston, MA reported a wind gust of 70 mph. Wind gusts of 70 to 90 mph occurred along the coast. Severe damage occurred from very high tides. Over 7 inches of rain fell at Nantucket, MA with 6.57 inches falling in 24 hours to set a new 24 hour rainfall record. 24.9 inches of snow fell at Mt. Washington, NH to set a new May snowfall record. 10 inches of snow fell near Keene, NH and 6 inches was recorded at Dublin, NH.
Dense fog caused a 90 minute delay with the major league baseball game between the Pirates and the Mets in New York's Shea Stadium.
On this date through the 26th, a severe weather outbreak occurred across the state of Florida. A large area of thunderstorms developed over the Mississippi Delta during the evening of the 24th, and moved rapidly southeastward toward Florida while growing in size and intensity. Severe weather was experienced in virtually every section of Florida at some time on this date and mostly over southern Florida again the next day. Widespread damage occurred with severe thunderstorm winds, hail, lightning, and heavy rain. Nine tornadoes were reported across Manatee, Dade, Alachua, Suwannee, Marion, Hendry, Charlotte, Lee, and Monroe counties and funnel clouds were sighted in practically every section of the state. Damage was widespread including airplanes flipped over, boats capsized, widespread power failures with lines down, trees blown over on houses and cars, broken windows, signs, and TV antennas blown down, and fires caused by lightning. Widespread crop damage occurred in the northern counties from hail and high
winds. Wind gusts over 50 mph were common in many sections with reports of winds 75 to 80 mph in several areas. One death was reported. A woman drowned when she was trapped under an overturned 16 foot boat off Pine Island along the lower southwest coast. The Coast Guard reported that 39 boats capsized along the lower southwest Florida coast alone during the weekend between Gasparilla and Marco Island. A 38-foot shrimp boat sank 15 miles offshore from Hudson, above Clearwater. In view of the widespread severe weather, it is miraculous that only one death and no serious injuries were reported in Florida.
A severe thunderstorm crossed the southern part of Knox County in northern Texas. The storm mainly affected the community of Munday, and to a lesser extent, Knox City. The storm produced hail up to softball size and an incredible 4 to 10 inches of rain.
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX reported flooding from 2 inches of rain. The rain brought the month total to over 13 inches, which made it the wettest May on record.
Thunderstorms developed along the east side of the Black Hills in South Dakota. The storms produced quite a bit of lightning and over the course of two hours started 18 small fires in the Black Hills. Fortunately, most of the fires were small and easily contained. One unfortunate fire fighter was struck by lightning as he was helping to extinguish a blaze that burned some 50 acres of grassland and forest. Thankfully, the man lived, but he did suffer several broken bones, burns, and major damage to his ears. The strike was so powerful that a man standing over 150 feet away was dropped to his knees.
Thunderstorms spawned 15 tornadoes in West Texas. One thunderstorm spawned a powerful tornado near Gruver, TX, along with golf ball size hail and 75 mph winds. A man on a boat on Lake Bistineau in northwest Louisiana was struck and killed by lightning, while the other three in the boat were unharmed. The man reportedly stood up in the boat and asked to be struck.
Unseasonably cool weather prevailed in the Upper Midwest. Marquette, MI reported a record low of 26°.
Thunderstorms developing ahead of a strong cold front produced severe weather from Oklahoma to Ohio through the day and night. Thunderstorms spawned 9 tornadoes, and there were 155 reports of large hail and damaging winds. Hail 3.5 inches in diameter was reported at Dittmer, MO, and thunderstorm winds gusting to 90 mph caused $20 million dollars damage at Rockville, IN.
A late season snow storm dropped snow as low as 6,000 feet along the Front Range in northern Colorado. Most places in the foothills received between 2 to 5 inches of snow.
Evening thunderstorms spawned 4 tornadoes in Kansas and Missouri, along with three dozen reports of large hail or damaging winds. Thunderstorms produced hail two inches in diameter at Cole Camp, and wind gusts to 72 mph at Rosebud. Heavy thunderstorm rains produced flash flooding in central Missouri. Flood waters swept through Washington State Park southwest of St. Louis, MO and nearly 100 people had to be rescued from water as much as 20 feet deep. The floodwaters swept away a number of vehicles; some were carried as much as 4 miles away.
Hot weather prevailed across the Mid-Atlantic States. Philadelphia, PA recorded 96°, making it the sixth 90-degree reading in the month, which set a record. There would be a dozen 90-degree days in the month. Baltimore, MD hit 94° and Dulles Airport at Sterling, VA hit 92° to set record highs for the date.
80% or 160 of the homes in Wesley, IA, had either water or structural damage as a result of 6.5 inches rain which fell in 2.5 hours in the late evening. For all practical intents and purposes, the entire town was flooded.
Chicago, IL dropped to 32°, making this the latest springtime freeze on record besting the previous latest freeze on 5/14/1895.
Widespread freezing temperatures do heavy damage to the fruit crop across southwest Lower Michigan. Record lows for today included: Lansing: 29°, Grand Rapids: 31° and Muskegon: 32°
Eleven people were injured by lightning while picnicking at C. B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, FL. The lightning struck a tree then jumped to a picnic table and shocked 11 of the 23 people nearby. One person was seriously injured and hospitalized after the lightning burned a gold chain into his neck. It was not raining at the time.
Daily high and low records both fell on consecutive days at Hilo, HI. This date saw a record low of 60° and a record high of 91°. The next day: a record of 60° was followed by a record high of 88°.
A rare, large and destructive EF5 tornado created a 43 mile long path across Butler and Black Hawk counties in Iowa. This tornado killed 8 people, injured dozens and caused several millions of dollars worth of damage. After the initial touchdown, the tornado quickly grew in size and intensity as it approached the town of Parkersburg. The tornado was nearly three quarters of a mile wide as it moved through the southern end of Parkersburg. A third of the town was affected by devastating damage with nearly 200 homes destroyed. This was the first EF5 tornado to strike Iowa since 6/13/1976 and only the third EF5 tornado to occur in the United States in the past 10 years.
A famous Virginia flood occurred as heavy rains in the mountains brought all rivers in the state to record high levels.
A major tornadic thunderstorm took a 293 mile track across parts of central Illinois and Indiana. Once believed to be a single tornado, later study indicated it was likely at least 8 separate tornadoes. The first touchdown was about 20 miles southeast of Quincy. The tornadic storm tracked due east, before beginning a northeast curve near Charleston; separate tornadic storms then curved southeast from Charleston. The towns of Mattoon and Charleston bore the brunt of the tornado. Damage from this severe tornado in Mattoon was about 2.5 blocks wide and 2.5 miles long, with over 700 houses destroyed, while the Charleston portion was 600 yards wide and 1.5 miles long, with 220 homes damaged. Damage in the two towns amounted to about $2 million dollars 1917 dollars. Dozens of farms were hit along the path and at least three farm homes were swept away between Manhattan and Monee. Another F4 tornado touched down 6 miles south of Crown Point and devastated a dozen farms. A total of 7 people died and 120 were injured. 53 people were killed in Mattoon, and 38 were killed in Charleston. Overall, 101 people in Illinois were killed during the tornado outbreak, with 638 injured.
An F4 tornado moved east from Manhattan, IL to 2 miles northeast of Crown Point, IL.
On this date through the 27th, an outbreak of tornadoes occurred in the Deep South that killed 53 people. An entire family of eight was killed near Elkmont, AL.
10 people were killed and 30 were injured as an F3 tornado stormed across jasper Clarke and Lauderdale counties in Mississippi. Another 15 people were killed and 74 others injured when F2 tornadoes marched across Washington, Lincoln, Noxubee, Covington, Jones and Clarke counties.
An early-morning a tornado virtually obliterated the small community of Udall, KS killing 80 people and injuring 270 others.
Snow flurries are observed across Lower Michigan as unseasonably cold air moved in. Temperatures fell well below freezing the next morning, wiping out much of the fruit crop
A great coastal Nor'Easter struck New England. Winds up to 80 mph were reported along the coast. 5 to 10 inches of very late season snow fell in the Berkshires. Much of the tobacco crop in the Connecticut Valley was wiped out as freezing temperatures were reported.
The afternoon temperature soared to 92° at Moosonee, Ontario Canada, on the southern tip of James Bay. This is their warmest day for the month of May.
Several tornadoes touched down across Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties in northwest Florida. Worst hit was Crestview where one man was killed and four injured in mobile homes. Another tornado struck just east of Gulf Breeze injuring seven people in mobile homes.
Cut Bank, MT was shivering with a temperature of 35° and a mix of rain and snow. This fact is interesting because the temperature the day before was 78°.
Thunderstorms during the late evening and early morning hours produced 6 to 13 inches of rain at Tulsa, OK in six hours with 8.63 inches reported at the airport. Flooding claimed 14 lives and caused $90 million dollars property damage. 4,600 cars, 743 houses, and 387 apartments were destroyed or severely damaged.
Large hail fell over much of north-central Oklahoma. Hail that fell just north of Edmond was described as orange size, while baseball size hail fell in Guthrie. Many towns in Garfield County observed hail the size of tennis balls, including Medford, Douglas, Covington, and Kremlin.
Severe thunderstorms in southwest Iowa spawned 5 tornadoes and produced up to 10 inches of rain, adding to a record 17 inches total rainfall during the last 12 days of May. Damage to crops and property was estimated at $16 million dollars.
There was "frost on the roses" in the Upper Ohio Valley and the Central Appalachian Mountain Region. Several cities reported record low temperatures for the date, including Youngstown, OH with a reading of 30°.
Evening thunderstorms in North Dakota produced wind gusts to 75 mph at Jamestown.
Thunderstorms produced large hail in eastern Oklahoma during the pre-dawn hours, and again during the evening and night. Hail two inches in diameter was reported near Prague, and thunderstorm winds gusted to 70 mph near Kenefic.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather from eastern Colorado to western Arkansas and northeastern Texas. Severe thunderstorms spawned 3 tornadoes and 88 reports of large hail or damaging winds. Evening thunderstorms over central Oklahoma spawned strong tornadoes east of Hinton and east of Binger, produced hail 3 inches in diameter at Minco, and wind gusts to 85 mph at Blanchard.
Erie, PA picked up a half inch of rain in just five minutes.
A widespread frost and hard freeze hit most of South Dakota except for the southeast. Record low temperatures were set at Huron: 28°, Pierre: 29° and Rapid City & Aberdeen with 30°. The coldest temperature in the state was 18° near Wessington Springs. The widespread freeze was hard on the agricultural community where $14 million dollars in crop losses were estimated.
The 2000-2001 snowfall season finally came to an end at St John's, Newfoundland Canada, during which time a grand total of 255.3 inches of snow fell. The total snow, which broke a century-old mark, is estimated to have weighed 500 million tons.
On this date through the 28th, a strong late autumn storm brought heavy rains and powerful winds to southern Chile in South America. It caused rivers to overflow, blocked bridges and roadways, and left two people dead and approximately 400 homeless.
A BMI airbus bound for Cyprus from Manchester, England encountered a violent thunderstorm over Germany. The plane bounced and twisted violently as it ran into severe turbulence with huge hailstones pounding the exterior. A football sized hole was punched in the plane's exterior. None of the 213 passengers or eight crew members was seriously hurt.
The high temperatures of 89° on this date and the 27th at the SeaTac International Airport at Seattle, WA broke daily maximum records. The first broke a 58-year-old record, the second a 33-year-old record for the date.
150 lives were lost in the Richmond, VA area in the Great James River Flood.
A tremendous hail storm struck the eastern shore of Maryland during the evening damaging wheat and vegetable crops from Hillsborough in Caroline County to
Easton in Talbot County. One person was killed. Between the Severn and Patapsco Rivers, hail the size of eggs fell. Across the bay in Calvert County, a man was killed by hail.
The Mormon temple at Nauvoo, IL was destroyed by a tornado.
A massive tornado struck St. Louis, MO killing 306 people and causing $13 million dollars damage. The tornado path was short, but cut across a densely populated area. It touched down 6 miles west of Eads Bridge in St. Louis and widened to a mile as it crossed into East St. Louis. The tornado was the most destructive on record in the U.S. up until that time. It pierced a five-eighths inch thick iron sheet with a 2 x 4 inch pine plank. A brilliant display of lightning also accompanied the storm.
Bakersfield, CA reached 104°; their hottest temperature for May which featured 12 days with triple digit temperatures, the most ever for that location.
67 people were killed and 345 were injured when an F4 tornado tracked 50 miles through Lake County in Tennessee and Fulton, Hickman, and Graves Counties in Kentucky.
A tornado struck the "Empire Builder" near Moorhead, MN. Five coaches weighing 70 tons each were lifted off the track. One was carried 80 feet. 57 of the 117 passengers were injured and one was blown through a window and killed.
The 1.5 inches of rainfall at Victoria, British Columbia Canada set the record for the wettest day in May observed.
A large F4 tornado cut a 135-mile path across central Alabama. Hardest hit was the town of Brent where five people perished and 90% of the town was demolished. Seven people died along the path of the twister. Cancelled checks from Greensboro, AL were found at Gadsden, AL, over 100 miles away. Another killer tornado struck Centerpoint on the northeast side of Birmingham, killing one person. One person was killed and 35 people were injured when an F3 tornado stormed across Jones County, Mississippi. Another 3 people were injured when an F2 tornado swept across Clarke County. A second F2 tornado also moved across Scott County that evening.
A strong spring storm system brought high winds to much of central Oklahoma. Sustained winds reached near 50 mph and gusts approached 80 mph in many locations. Extensive roof, tree, and power line damage resulted. One person was killed when the strong winds caused them to lose control of their vehicle.
Thunderstorms dumped 8.63 inches of rain on Tulsa, OK in only 6 hours. The resultant flash flooding killed 14 people and total damage was $89.6 million dollars.
Severe thunderstorms in West Texas produced baseball size hail at Crane, hail up to 3.5 inches in diameter at Post, and grapefruit size hail south of Midland.
Five days of flooding commenced in Oklahoma. Thunderstorms produced 7 to 9 inches of rain in central Oklahoma. Oklahoma City reported 4.33 inches of rain in six hours. Up to 6 inches of rain caused flooding in north central Texas.
Sunny and warm weather prevailed across much of the nation to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. Afternoon thunderstorms in southern Florida caused the mercury at Miami to dip to a record low reading of 69°.
Unseasonably hot weather prevailed over the southeastern U.S. Several cities reported record high temperatures for the date as readings soared into the 90s. Lakeland, FL reported a record high of 99°. Biloxi, MS reported a temperature of 90° with a relative humidity of 75%, creating a dewpoint temperature of 81°. This equated to a heat index temperature of 108°.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather from north central Texas to the Central Gulf Coast Region. Severe thunderstorms spawned 4 tornadoes, and there were 81 reports of large hail or damaging winds. Late afternoon thunderstorms over southeast Louisiana produced high winds which injured 27 people at an outdoor music concert in Baton Rouge, and high winds which gusted to 78 mph at the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway.
Thunderstorms erupted across southwest South Dakota during the evening and made their way into southeast sections of the state by early the next morning. In the southwest, already saturated ground and swollen creeks were drenched with 4 to 6 inches of rain. The rain produced flash flooding that damaged many roads and several bridges. Across the east central and southeast part of the state, storms produced gusty winds and large hail. From this date through the 28th, severe thunderstorms produced wind gusts of over 80 mph with numerous reports of over 60 mph. However, the real threat with these storms was the hail. Over 1,000 nesting birds were killed by falling hail at La Creek Refuge in Bennett County. Softball size hail was reported just north of Artesian in Sanborn County, and near Arlington in Kingsbury County. The hail completely destroyed a grain bin near Arlington. Many areas had golf ball size hail or larger. Many homes had windows knocked out and roofs damaged. The storms produced millions of dollars in damage.
San Antonio, TX had already received its normal annual rainfall by this date. 29.28 inches had fallen since January, surpassing the average of 29.13 inches.
A large storm system developed over the southern Rockies and moved northeast into the central United States. Severe thunderstorms developed over eastern Nebraska and moved into Iowa, where they became tornadic. A violent tornado moved from near Carroll to near Fonda. This tornado caused extensive damage wiping out many farmsteads. Carroll County was also clipped by another violent tornado which moved from near Coon Rapids to near Churdan. This tornado picked up a car and tossed it more than a quarter-mile into a field. One student’s homework papers were found some 55 miles away in the town of Gilmore City. Another tornado touched down near Creston and tracked north to Perry. The Iowa State Patrol closed off a four mile section of the interstate to allow the half-mile wide tornado to pass. Greene, Adair, Carroll, Guthrie, Sac and Union counties were declared disaster areas. Some damage estimates included $2 million dollars in Greene County, $1.2 million in Carrol and Union Counties, $828,000 in Adair County and $642,000 in Sac County.
Between 4 to 6 inches of rain fell in a 24 hour period over the lower Bad River Basin in South Dakota. In addition, 3 to 5 inches of rain fell over much of western South Dakota. This runoff caused the Bad River at Fort Pierre to crest at 26.25 feet or about 5 feet above flood stage late on this date before falling back below flood stage on the 30th. The entire length of the Bad River Road from U.S. Highway 83 near Fort Pierre to U.S. Highway 14 near Midland was closed to all except local traffic. 25 to 35 volunteers were filling sandbags all day around two homes along the river. Most of the damage was associated with flooding of agricultural land and some county roads. One resident along the river said the river was the highest it has been in 32 years.
Big Spring, TX was hit by a hailstorm with 5 inch diameter hail. Nearly 50 people were injured and damage was estimated at $30 million dollars.
An F5 tornado killed 27 people in Jarrell, TX. Although tornado warnings were issued 30 minutes in advance and local sirens were sounded, there were few places to go for safety. Most homes were on slabs, with no basements to shelter in. Houses were swept clean off their foundations, with little debris left behind. Total damage was $20 million dollars. The same thunderstorm complex produced a wind gust to 122 mph at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.
This day brought one of the most destructive and widespread windstorms to much of Oklahoma and north Texas in recent memory. Severe thunderstorms developed over southwest Kansas during the late afternoon, and rapidly merged into a large severe thunderstorm complex that moved rapidly southeastward at nearly 60 mph across the western half of Oklahoma and into north Texas during the evening and overnight hours. These storms produced widespread and significant wind damage along their path, leaving one person dead, 4 injured, 160,000 people without power and over $350 million dollars in damage in Oklahoma alone. Several non-tornadic wind reports in excess of 100 mph were recorded, and it took nearly a week to restore power to all of the affected areas.
The first of three hail storms in a six day period hit Dodge City, KS. Severe weather also occurred across Southwestern Kansas with several reports of 80 to 100 mph winds. 270 pivot irrigation sprinklers were damaged or destroyed across southwestern Kansas. In addition, hail storms moved through Dodge City on the 29th and June 1st. All three storms
produced at least golf ball sized hail resulting in lots of roof damage.
As much as 11 inches of rain fell during the afternoon and evening hours in eastern Broward County, Florida flooding streets with up to two feet of water. 10.22 inches of rain fell in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Seven inches of it fell in just two hours.
An earthen dam near Fayetteville, NC broke after days of heavy rains. The floodwaters inundated residential areas and threatened a nursing home.
A storm system dropped 0.08 inches of rain at Bakersfield, CA. This was the only measurable rain to fall in the entire March to May period and tied 1992 for the driest Meteorological spring on record.
Blistering heat blasted into northern Sindh and easternmost Balochistan, Pakistan. The community of Sibi soared to 123° and Jacobabad hit 122°.
Three tornadoes crossed through the town of Cincinnati, OH and then traveled up the Ohio valley.
Savoy, TX was hit by an F4 tornado. 14 people were killed and 60 others were injured. It leveled the entire business and northeast residential sections. The tornado was described as "a funnel blazing with balls of fire".
Brackettville, TX hit by a tremendous rainstorm which caused flash flooding, killing 20 people.
The temperature reached 97° at San Francisco, CA, establishing a record high temperature for the month of May.
A two day long sandstorm blasted Yuma, AZ
F3 tornadoes skipped through Montgomery and Bucks counties in Pennsylvania, then across Mercer and Monmouth counties in New Jersey from south of Ambler, to Jarrrettstown south of Hatboro, near Langhorne, then crossed the Delaware River, 4 miles south of Trenton, NJ. Damage was done to businesses at White Horse and Allentown, NJ. Losses totaled over $200,000 dollars. At least 16 barns were destroyed and all of the 4 deaths may have been in barns or stables, 2 in each Pennsylvania County. 15 other people were injured.
Record late season snows fell across northwest Iowa. 10 inches fell at Lemars, 8 inches at Cherokee, and 5 inches at Sioux City.
A storm produced heavy snow across Wisconsin, with 10 inches reported at Gay Mills. The snow damaged fruit and other trees, and downed power lines. Sioux Falls, SD reported their latest measurable snowfall on record when 0.8 inches fell. The storm was followed by the coldest weather of the month for much of the High Plains Region and Missouri Valley. Williston, ND reported a low of 21°and the next morning Cheyenne, WY reported a morning low of 16°and the low of 27°at Sioux Falls, SD was not only a daily record low but their latest freezing temperature on record.
An unusually late and cold winter-like storm moved across parts of the Rockies and central Plains. Cheyenne, WY only reached 30° for their high temperature, which still stands as the latest day in the season that the temperature remained below freezing. In addition, the storm also left a total of 6.6 inches of snow, which began late the previous day. The same storm system also affected Scottsbluff,, NE leaving a total of 4.8 inches of snow, 3 inches of which fell on this date.
Unseasonal snow fell across the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada that began the day before. Snowfall totals included: Grant Grove: 11 inches, Huntington Lake: 10 inches, Giant Forest: 7.5 inches and Tehachapi: 3 inches. Further south, Idyllwild, CA recorded their latest measurable snowfall on record with a half an inch.
22,000 people died in a major cyclone along the coast of East Pakistan.
Two F3 tornadoes touched down during the afternoon in Morris County, New Jersey, with an F1 reported in Berks County, Pennsylvania. One of the New Jersey tornadoes injured 12 people.
2.20 inches of rain fell in just 15 minutes at Leesburg, VA.
A major snowstorm in Montana dumped up to 4 feet of snow fell in some places with drifts exceeding 10 feet.
Sacramento, CA had their hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of May, when the temperature reached 110°. This broke the old record of 100° which was set in 1932.
Thunderstorms produced torrential rains in Oklahoma and northern Texas. Lake Altus, OK was deluged with 9 inches of rain. 10 to 13 inches of rain inundated central Oklahoma over the last five days of the month resulting in damage estimated at $65 million dollars. Flooding forced several thousand people to evacuate their homes, many by boat or by helicopter. Measurable rain was recorded in Oklahoma City for the tenth straight day, setting a consecutive day record of at least one one-hundredth of an inch of liquid equivalent precipitation. Up to 8 inches of rain drenched northern Texas and baseball size hail was reported north of Seminole and at Knickerbocker.
A sharp cold front began to usher cold, wet and windy weather into the western U.S. Thunderstorms in the Great Plains Region produced wind gusts to 80 mph near Brookings, SD.
Austin, MNhit 94°, setting their highest temperature for May.
Unseasonably hot weather continued in Florida. Several cities reported record high temperatures for the date. The record high of 98° at Lakeland, FL was their fifth in a row. Thunderstorms produced severe weather in Florida late in the day, with golf ball size hail reported at Kissimmee.
Two to five inches of rain fell over southeastern Ohio through the 29th which capped an exceptionally wet month of May and triggered widespread flooding. Flooding claimed three lives and caused millions of dollars damage. Numerous roads in southeast Ohio were flooded and impassable, and many other roads were blocked by landslides.
Los Angeles, CAreceived unseasonably heavy rainfall of 1.14 inches. This set a daily record. Many areas around Los Angeles received more than inch.
Thunderstorms with extremely heavy rains moved through northern Illinois. Flash flooding was reported in several counties. In Rockford, 4.77 inches of rain fell with Doppler radar estimates exceeding 5 inches in just 8 hours over parts of northern Illinois. Creeks in Dekalb, Winnebago and Boone counties quickly rose out of their banks. As much as 2.5 inches of rain in less than one hour was reported in the city of Dekalb.
An F4 tornado moved through Jefferson, Bullitt, and Spencer counties in Kentucky, injuring 10 people, damaging 600 homes and causing $100 million damage.
A new Nevada maximum temperature record for May was set when the high temperature soared to 102° at Battle Mountain, NV. Record highs for May were tied at Palm Springs, CA: 116° (5/23/2001 & 5/28/1983), Las Vegas, NV: 109° and Palomar Mountain, CA: 91° (5/31/2001). Big Bear Lake, CA set their record high for May with 87°.
An early season heat wave covered a large of western and central Russia between the Caspian and Black Seas. The temperature at Volgograd soared to 98° while in Moscow, the mercury hit 91.2°, easily surpassing May’s previous all time record.
Yuma, AZwas in the final hours of a horrific two-day sandstorm.
A tornado causing F4 damage killed 4 people and injured 35 others in Boone and Audrain counties in Missouri.
Shallow river fog contributed to the collision of the CP Liner Empress of Ireland and a Norwegian coal ship, The Storstadon the St. Lawrence River about 186 miles from Quebec City, Quebec Canada. The liner sank in 25 minutes drowning 1,024 passengers.
The United Kingdom recorded their hottest temperature for the month of May when the high reached 91° in and around London.
A massive hailstorm, from Wallace to Kearney County in Kansas, caused $6 million dollars damage to crops.
A tornado, 600 yards wide at times, killed two people on its 20 mile path from southwest of Fort Rice, ND into Emmons County. Nearly every building in Fort Rice was damaged. The Catholic Church was leveled, with some pews jammed four feet into the ground.
Two major tornadoes ripped through southern Illinois. The most severe was an F4 that touched down northeast of Carbondale, IL then moved through Marion, IL. The twister had multiple vortices within the main funnel. Extensive damage occurred at the Marion Airport. A total of 10 people were killed and 181 were injured. 648 homes and 200 cars were damaged or destroyed, with total damages around $100 million dollars.
Two inch diameter hail fell at Louisville, KY and Columbus, OH had a wind gust to 76 mph.
The high temperature in Greenville, SC only climbed to a chilly 54°, 28 degrees below normal.
Riverside, CA soared to 108°, their highest temperature on record for the month of May. Idyllwild, CA tied their May record with 93° (5/31/2001).
Hailstones over 3 inches in diameter pounded South Shore in Montreal, Quebec Canada causing over $65 million dollars in damage.
Thunderstorms in West Texas produced softball size hail at Lamesa, and hail up to a foot deep east of Dimmitt. Thunderstorms also spawned 7 tornadoes in West Texas, including one which injured three people. Thunderstorms deluged the Texas Hill Country with up to 11 inches of rain. Severe flooding along the Medino, Hondo, Seco, Sabinal and Frio rivers caused more than $50 million dollars damage.
A powerful cold front brought snow and high winds to parts of the western U.S.
Austin, NV was blanketed with 10 inches of snow, and winds gusted to 95 mph at the Mojave Airport in California.
Strong southerly winds and unseasonably warm weather prevailed in the north central U.S. Glasgow, MT equaled their record for the month of May with a high of 102°. Miles City, MT hit 100°, setting a record for high for the month of May and the earliest record of triple digit heat.
Wintry weather gripped parts of the northwestern U.S. for the second day in a row. Great Falls, MT was blanketed with 12 inches of snow, which pushed their total for the winter season to a record 117.4 inches. Six inches of snow whitened the Cascade Mountains of Oregon.
Afternoon and evening thunderstorms produced severe weather from north central Colorado to the northern half of Texas. Severe thunderstorms spawned four tornadoes, with 70 reports of large hail or damaging winds. Midday thunderstorms produced wind gusts to 90 mph at Hobart, OK, and produced up to 3.5 inches of rain in eastern Colorado in 4 hours.
A line of severe thunderstorms moved into northwest Iowa. Strong winds were the dominant feature with these thunderstorms. Numerous trees and power lines were blown down in Sioux City by winds of nearly 70 mph. High winds also caused extensive damage at the Akron Airport. A hanger and two planes were destroyed, and a tractor-semitrailer and bulk fuel tanks were overturned. Damage at the Akron Airport was over $100,000 dollars. Winds blew down trees in the Sanborn area in O'Brien County and in the Ocheyedan area of Osceola County.
An F4 tornado ripped through Great Barrington, MA, killing three people, injuring 24, and causing $25 million in damage. Debris was carried for more than 45 miles.
Downburst winds from a thunderstorm picked up a small boat and airlifted it to the opposite side of a canal where it landed in a resident's yard and damaged a parked vehicle at Tampa, FL.
A rainstorm dumped 1.66 inches of rain in 45 minutes at Dodge City, KS.
Record heat prevailed across the western Plains. The following cities recorded their all-time record high temperature for May: Goodland, KS: 103°, Pueblo, CO: 102°, Grand Junction, CO: 101°, Cheyenne, WY: 91°, and Alamosa, CO: 89°. Death Valley, CA soared to 122°.
Thunderstorms developed in warm, moist, unstable air during the afternoon and evening hours across parts of western New York State downing trees and power lines. Up to 5,000 homes were without power at the peak of the storm. Hail up to 1 inch in diameter was reported in Perry, Wyoming County. The training thunderstorms dropped 4 to 6 inches of rain in two to three hours in a localized area from Phelps to Newark. A State of Emergency was declared that was declared in Newark remained in effect for a week with most schools and businesses closed during that time. Nearly 300 basements were flooded and several roads covered with up to a foot of water remained closed for several days.
Scottsbluff, NEset its all-time record high for May with a high of 103°. Cheyenne, WY equaled its warmest May temperature with a high of 91°, which was previously attained on this day in 2000.
Borrego Springs, CA soared to 115° and Victorville, CA hit 108°, each a record high for the month of May.
Las Vegas, NVrecorded a morning low of 89°. This was their warmest low ever recorded in May.
A significant severe weather outbreak occurred over western and central Oklahoma, mainly along and just north of Interstate 40. Quarter to golf ball size hail was the most common size of hail that fell, but hailstones up to softball size fell just east of Custer City. Damage surveys concluded that much of the wind damage was due to straight-line winds, but three F1 tornadoes did track across northwestern Canadian, central Logan, and northwest Lincoln counties.
Hail, with the largest quarter size, fell in many part of north central South Dakota. Lighting struck a house in Veblen and caused some damage. Glass from a broken window hit a man and some debris from the ceiling hit a woman. They were taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. Heavy rain of 3 to 6 inches fell between Westport and Columbia with cropland and many roads flooded. Also some basements were flooded. Four, weak F0 tornadoes, also were reported. The first two touched down near Bath causing no damage. The other two occurred near Ipswich, also causing no damage.
A man and his son were struck by lightning while practicing on the driving range at a golf course in southwest Denver, CO. The father was killed and his son was seriously injured. Three other people standing nearby received minor injuries.
Torrential rainfalls spawn dangerous flash floods and mudslides across Germany, France, Italy, and Belgium. In northern Italy, a mudslide takes three lives. In eastern France and Belgium, the downpours trigger a mudslide that blocks roads and railways.
John Park Finley of the U.S. Army Signal Corps was the first bonafide tornado researcher. In 1879, he was assigned the task of researching tornado events across the Plains of the United States. A major outbreak of severe weather occurred in Kansas and western Missouri. In Kansas, tornadoes killed 18 people at Delphos, and 30 people at Irving. Two tornadoes struck the town of Irving within a few minutes time virtually wiping the small Kansas community off the map. The second tornado was perhaps two miles wide, and exhibited multiple vortices. A local newspaper commented on Finley's investigation, stating its skepticism that studying such storms would be of little benefit to anyone who had gone through the storm or to anyone in the future. Indeed, Finley's work was met with skepticism in wide quarters. He set up a network of volunteer "tornado reporters" and even issued the first tornado forecasts. Finley's impressive research was pushed aside to be forgotten and he was reassigned to other duties.
A tornado causing F4 damage killed 10 people and injured 100 in Crawford, Washington, St. Francois, and Jefferson counties in Missouri. This tornado was part of an outbreak that produced 7 separate tornadoes and was responsible for 21 deaths and 140 injuries.
Vanport City was a federal housing project built during World War II on 650 acres along the banks of the Columbia River north of Portland, OR. Warm spring temperatures caused a rapid melt of the heavy snowpack in Columbia River basin. When a dike collapsed, it only took two hours to flood the entire city. There was almost no warning for the town's 19,000 residents and 25 people drowned. The residents of the town lost all of their personal belongings, most escaping with just the clothes on their backs. Vanport would never be rebuilt.
Thunderstorms drop over 10 inches of rain in less than an hour in Buffalo Gap, Saskatchewan, Canada breaking a long drought.
Severe flooding occurred in parts of New Jersey. Seven people died in the flooding between the 28th through this date. Damage totaled $133 million dollars.
Severe thunderstorms produced winds of 57 mph or greater over parts of eastern Missouri. Hail measuring up to 2.75 inches in diameter was also reported in St. Charles County, Missouri and an F2 tornado caused $2.5 million dollars in damage in Adams County in Illinois.
An amazing 17 inches of rain fell in a nine day period of time ending on this date at Avon, South Dakota. This led to major flood problems in the area. Krug's lake, located one mile south of Avon, is normally dry. Not only did the lake fill up, but it also drained into the south side of the town after a hastily constructed dike gave way. Many dwellings in the town ended up being completely surrounded by water.
Unusually high temperatures throughout the western United States caused great runoff from snow pack in the Rocky Mountains. This caused flooding which washed out bridges and caused mudslides in parts of Nevada.
An F3 tornado touched down west of Elkader, IA and tracked east northeast at about 45 mph. While the tornado did miss the town of Elkader, it did hit the County Care Facility and killed two residents. More than 20 farmsteads were also struck, with significant damage to dwellings, farm buildings, machinery, livestock, and crops. Total damage in Clayton County, IA alone was estimated at $9 million dollars including $1.5 million dollars at the care facility alone. The tornado crossed the Mississippi River near Bagley, WI. There were 25 injuries in Clayton County and two injuries in Grant County, Wisconsin. An F2 tornado caused over $100,000 worth of damage to area farms north of Livingston, WI. Baseball sized hail fell in Floyd County, Iowa.
Oklahoma City, OK hit 104°, not only setting a record high for the date; but also their earliest 100° on record.
Hanford, WA hit a scorching 104°, breaking the all-time record high temperature for May for eastern Washington. Yakima, WA hit 102° setting a record high for the month of May.
Newark, NJ had their fourth day in a row over 90°, making this a record breaking May heat wave for Newark (May 28-30, 1931).
Flash flooding occurred in Jones County, Mississippi. An estimated 5 inches of rain fell at Laurel over a period of 2 to 3 hours. 45-50 homes were damaged and many cars were stalled on roadways.
Unseasonably warm weather prevailed across the eastern U.S. Several cities, from Virginia to Ohio and Michigan, reported record high temperatures for the date. Afternoon highs of 98°at Newark, NJ and 97°at Baltimore, MD & Washington D.C. were records for the date.
Memorial Day heralded heavy snow in some of the mountains and higher passes of Wyoming, closing roads in Yellowstone Park. McDonald Pass, MT was blanketed with 8 inches of snow, while the temperature at Miles City, MT soared to 94°.
A supercell thunderstorm in west Texas produced baseball size hail in Bailey and Lamb counties, and up to five inches of rain in less than one hour.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather from the Upper Mississippi Valley to the Upper Ohio Valley during the day. A powerful F4 tornado injured three people and caused a million dollars damage at New Providence, IA. Baseball size hail was reported at Blue Earth, MN. Several locations in Wisconsin reported their wettest May day on record including: Necedah: 3.18 inches, Mather: 3.05 inches and Owen: 2.6 inches.
Thunderstorms developing along a warm front spawned 14 tornadoes in northeastern Texas during the late afternoon and evening hours. The thunderstorms also produced baseball size hail near Marshall, wind gusts to 77 mph at Commerce, and up to 5 inches of rain. Thunderstorms over southwestern Kansas produced up to 6 inches of rain.
Heavy rain over Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Canada sets a daily record accumulation for the month of 2.77 inches.
Three thunderstorms produced 5.65 inches of rain in a 3-hour period across New Marlboro and Sheffield, MA resulting in severe flooding.
Many roads and several bridges were washed out eventually isolating the two towns. About 89 miles of road were damaged.
Typical washouts ranged up to 8 feet deep and roads that were 25 feet wide were reduced to only 10 feet.
Power outages were widespread and a state of emergency was declared.
The flooding was the worst since 1955 for the area and total damage was estimated near $10 million dollars.
Baltimore, MD set a record high with 98° and Philadelphia, PA set a record May high of 97°.
Strong onshore winds produced rip currents that drowned five people during a festival at American Beach on Amelia Island, FL. Eight other people were hospitalized after nearly drowning in rip currents at American and Main Beaches.
The town of Spencer, SD was virtually wiped off the map by a half-mile wide F4 tornado at approximately 7:30pm CDT. 92% of the homes in the town of 300 were destroyed. Six people died and 150 were injured. Damage totaled $18 million dollars with an another half million dollars in crop damage. Five other tornadoes occurred that night in the vicinity of Spencer. It was the first F4 tornado in South Dakota since 6/7/1993. No one had died in a tornado in South Dakota since 7/14/1970.
San Francisco, CA recorded their all-time high temperature for May with a reading of 101°.
About 40,000 people obtain permits each year to climb dangerous Mount Hood, OR. On this date, a group of four climbers roped together was about 800 feet from the summit at a ledge called the "Pearly Gates," when a misstep by two climbers at the rear of the group pulled them all down and they slid into five other climbers. One by one, the climbers fell into a deep horizontal gash in the ice that forms each spring, many of them falling as much as 250 feet. Three climbers died.
Kimball, NEreached their earliest 100 degree temperature on record with a high of 101°.
The death toll from a two-week heat wave across southern India climbed to 637. At least 119 deaths were reported in Nalgonda and 85 in East Godavari where the temperature soared to 118°.
Afternoon temperature peaks at 87° at Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport, tied the record high set in 1956.
A tornado with a 400 yard wide track swept through Shelbyville, KY. The tornado, which killed many people, was described in the "American Journal of Science".
A tornado moved across Warren County and devastated the town of Ellison, IL about 14 miles southwest of Monmouth. Only 3 cabins were left standing. 19 people were killed, and 60 injured, along the tornado's 5 mile long track.
One of the greatest weather related disasters in United States history occurred in Johnstown, PA. Heavy rains of 4 to 10 inches in 36 hours caused the dam at the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club 14 miles away and 450 feet above Johnstown in Cambria County to burst, sending a wall of water 75 feet high and one half mile wide down the Little Conemaugh River. The entire lake emptied into the valley of the river in just 36 minutes, flowing with the force of Niagara Falls. There were warnings during the day by telegraph, but most people in Johnstown believed that the dam couldn't fail. The huge wave of water and debris smashed into Johnstown destroying most of the town as well as its neighboring communities. The center of town was wiped away. Survivors reported seeing a 35-foot wall of what appeared to them as debris, including uprooted trees, houses, train cars, animals and people crashing toward them. Much of the debris was trapped behind a stone bridge, which dammed the water into a lake 30 feet deep where much of the town had been. By nightfall, the debris would catch fire, and would claim as many as 80 more victims who were trapped in the heap of rubbish and burned alive. The story of the disaster was flashed around the country. The nation poured its heart out to the victims of the Johnstown flood, sending money, relief supplies and volunteers to the stricken area. Clara Barton and her newly formed Red Cross organization were instrumental in restoring the necessities of life to victims of the disaster. More than 2,200 people died in the disaster. Bodies were still being uncovered as late as 1906. The 1889 flood led to vastly improved flood control and warning systems, but Johnstown would once again fall victim to a disastrous flood in 1977, when 77 people were killed.
Fresnoand Bakersfield, CA hit 110°; the earliest 110 degree reading on record and a record high for the month of May.Lemon Cove, CA soared to 118°, their highest May temperature.
Violent Derby Day thunderstorms killed four horses on Epsom Downs in Southeastern England. Local flooding, landslides, lightning, and wind gusts caused damage across lowland England. 17 people are killed in the London area.
Springtime of 1927 saw 18.64 inches of rain fall in the Peoria, IL area. This established their wettest Meteorological Spring (March, April, May period) on record.
Early season heat gripped central Illinois. Springfield reported its earliest triple-digit high temperature on record, with a temperature of 101°.
Burlington, KS recorded 12.59 inches of rain in 24 hours to set the state record.
Unseasonal late season snow fell across parts of the northern Rockies. Snowfall totals included: Mystic Lake, MT: 7 inches, Red Lodge, MT: 6 inches, Pryor, MT: 5 inches, Billings, MT: 4 inches. At Red Lodge, MT 15 inches of snow fell from this date through June 2nd; 3 inches of snow fell at Sheridan and Wyola, WY on June 1st.
Sioux Falls, SD recorded their latest snowfall on this date when a half inch was reported.
A late freeze did severe damage to crops across parts of New England. This was the latest freeze on record for the suburbs of Boston, MA. The temperature in Burlington, VT dropped to 25°.
A 7.7 magnitude earthquake just off the coast of Peru triggered the most catastrophic avalanche in history. The initial avalanche became a tremendous landslide traveling at over 100 mph. The landslide fell nearly vertically into the valley and villages below Mount Huascaran. It took less than three minutes for the landslide to reach the town of Yongui, where 20,000 people died, entombed in ice, snow and rock. It flowed on like a river to bury another village. A total of 66,000 people died in the disaster.
Canada's sunniest month ended as Eureka in the Northwest Territories recorded 621 hours of sunshine.
It was the wettest May ever for parts of northern Texas and Oklahoma. Wichita Falls, TX established record with 13.22 inches. Oklahoma City, OK recorded 12.07 inches for the month to set a record.
May 1982 established the record for number of U.S. tornadoes in any month with 365. The record would be broken in 1995 and again in 2003, each time in May.
Albany, NY experienced its wettest spring season in 109 years of records with 19.54 inches while Philadelphia, PA also had their wettest spring with 21.85 inches of precipitation.
A vicious tornado outbreak struck southern Ontario, central and eastern Ohio, western and central Pennsylvania, and western New York. 42 tornadoes ripped through the area. 88 people were killed and total damage was over $200 million dollars. Eight of the tornadoes were rated F4 on the Fujita scale. The tornado that devastated Niles, OH was classified as an F5. A huge F4 tornado had a 69 mile path length in central Pennsylvania, mostly through Moshannon State Forest. An estimated 88,000 trees were destroyed as the tornado's path width reached 2.2 miles at one point.
The same storms system was responsible for a swarm of tornadoes that left 8 people dead, 155 injured and $100 million in damage at Barrie, Ontario Canada. This tornado also had a 124 mile long track, the longest on record in Canada. Tornadoes were also reported in Grand Valley, Orangeville and Tottenham in central Ontario killing 3 people. 13 tornadoes were reported over Ontario on this day.
A dust storm occurred across the northern quarter of Illinois. Winds during the storm were 30 to 50 mph, with some gusts to 70 mph. Visibility in towns and cities was between 1 and 5 miles, but outlying areas near farm fields had local visibility less than 20 feet. Numerous accidents were caused by the low visibility, with one person killed and 22 injured. Soil erosion losses were estimated around $3 million dollars.
The Weather Service Office in Washington, DC reported its driest spring on record with only 3.47 inches of precipitation from March 1st to May 31st.
Thunderstorms in New England produced wind gusts up to 90 mph at Worcester and Northboro, MA, and hail 1.5 inches in diameter at Williston, VT.
Unseasonably hot weather prevailed in the northeastern U.S. The afternoon high of 94° at Portland, ME was a record for the month of May.
Hot and humid weather prevailed in the eastern U.S. Several cities reported record high temperatures for the date. Cape Hatteras, NC reported their first 90 degree day in May in 115 years of records.
Thunderstorms in northwest Texas drenched Amarillo with more than 3 inches of rain to ease drought conditions.
Thunderstorms produced severe weather and torrential rains in northern Indiana, northern Ohio and southern Lower Michigan. Saint John, IN was drenched with 4 inches of rain in two hours, and Woodland, MI was deluged with two inches in 20 minutes. Pittsburgh, PA reported a record 6.55 inches of rain for the month of May, with measurable rain reported on 25 days during the month.
Afternoon and evening thunderstorms developing along a warm front produced severe weather from northwest Texas to southeastern Louisiana. The thunderstorms spawned 16 tornadoes, including 13 in northwest Texas. One tornado hit the town of Spearman, TX causing more than a million dollars damage, and 7 other tornadoes were reported within 25 miles of Spearman. Thunderstorms over northwest Texas also produced baseball size hail at Monahans, and wind gusts to 80 mph at Paducah.
187 homes and buildings were flooded in Warren County, Mississippi after nearly 7 inches of rain fell in 12 hours. Total damage was estimated at $6 million dollars.
Norfolk, VA hit 100° setting a new all-time record high for the month of May and Philadelphia, PA hit 97° tying their May record high set the previous day.
This was the warmest May on record in Washington, D.C. The city also observed a record 11 days of 90-degree heat.
Severe Thunderstorms struck eight counties across central Florida. Hail from nickle up to golfball size was reported in Pinellas, Putnam, Citrus, Marion, and Brevard counties.
The largest hail was in Putnam County where it broke windows and tree limbs. Severe thunderstorm winds were reported in Sumter, Citrus, Marion, Levy, Alachua and Putnam Counties. Winds destroyed a carport and blew down trees and power lines in Sumter County and many trees and power lines were blown down in the other counties. A firefighter was injured by lightning at Largo in Pinellas County.
This May was the driest on record for Chicago, IL and Rockford, IL. Only 0.30 inches of rain fell at Chicago and Rockford had a paltry 0.48 inches.
The total rainfall at El Paso, TX of this past month was 4.22 inches, making this the wettest May ever for the city. The normal rainfall for May is only 0.24 inches, which means that this month's rainfall total was 1,758% of normal.
May of 1993 was very wet across the state of Iowa, which was just of prelude of flooding to come in the summer of 1993. Statewide, rain was recorded somewhere in Iowa on 26 of the 31 days in the month and statewide precipitation averaged 5.68 inches or 143% of normal. Flood warnings were issued for the Rock River and the upper portion of the Des Moines River in northwest Iowa during the second week of May. A record crest occurred on the Rock River at Rock Rapids measuring 12.53 feet, which was 6 feet above flood stage. Damage in Lyon County alone was near $2 million dollars and the city of Rock Rapids had 56 houses damaged.
The U.S. set a new monthly tornado record in May, 1995 with 408 twisters reported. The record would be surpassed in the busy month of May 2003, when over 500 twisters were reported.
Mount Washington, NH recorded 95.8 inches of snow for the month which exceeded the previous May snowfall record by 43.6 inches.
During the early morning hours, a derecho struck southeast Michigan across the Saginaw Valley, Thumb and Flint areas. Wind gusts reached 70 to 120 mph which resulted in two deaths, two injuries and widespread damage. Thousands of trees are knocked down and hundreds of homes and businesses suffer damage. Sections of the state are declared a major disaster area and thousands are without power, some for several days. The storm had formed over Wisconsin late the previous night where damage totaled about $60 million dollars to property and $1.82 million dollars to crops.
During the afternoon, lines of severe thunderstorms formed and moved rapidly east across New York and Western New England. Several of these storms became tornadic over Saratoga, Albany, Rensselaer, and Washington counties in New York and Bennington County in Vermont. Straight-line winds in excess of 60 mph caused damage occurred across a wide area. Cloud to ground lightning rates over the region reached 15,000 strikes per hour, rates not observed before over this region. Lightning hit a car traveling on the New York State Thruway--traveled through the car to a door handle--burning the arm of 16 year old female passenger. Lightning throughout the area shattered trees and set a number of fires. At Locust Hill Country Club, the nationally televised Ladies Pro Golf Association tournament was delayed four times by the storms. There were reports of numerous trees and wires down as well as power outages. Tens of thousands were without power. In Niagara and Orleans counties, about 50% of the apple crop was damaged by the pelting hail stones. Top wind gusts included: 79 mph at Hamlin, NY, 77 mph at Ontario, NY and 70 mph at Buffalo, NY.
These storms resulted 68 injuries but no fatalities, tens of millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses, and extensive forest damage. An F3 tornado moved through the northern section of Lyons in Berks County, Pennsylvania causing much damage, but only a few injuries and no fatalities. Worcester, MA reported a downburst wind gust of 94 mph.
Fresno, CAreachedahighofonly85°andatBakersfieldthehigh reached84°.Thiswasthewarmestreadingofthemonthatboth locations and only the 3rd May on record in both cities that the high temperature never cracked 90 degrees (also occurred in May 1917 and 1961).
Death Valley National Park, CA recorded a high temperature of 118°, setting a daily record.
Fresno, CA reached106°,marking the 9th time this month the high reached into the triple digits.This set a record for the most triple digit high temperatures in May. Further south, Palomar Mountain, CA set their all-time May high temperature record with 91° and Idyllwild, CA tied their high temperature for May with 93° (5/29/1984).
Birmingham, AL recorded 17.23 inches of rain during the month to establish a new rainfall record for the month of May. It also was the third wettest month ever in the Magic City. Amazingly, the month came very close to being the all-time wettest month ever there, eclipsed only by July 1916 when a dying tropical storm hovered over Alabama, dumping 20.12 inches of rain on the city.
543 tornadoes were recorded in the U.S. for May, 2003; by far the most tornadoes ever recorded in a single month. May of 2003 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.
For the first time since official records began, no tornados were reported anywhere in Oklahoma for May 2005. This was unusual because May typically marks the peak of tornado season for the state, with an average of 21 tornados for the month.