Categories Below:


Record Breaking Tropical Weather

World Record Breaking Weather

United States Record Breaking Weather

New York City Record Breaking Weather

Miami Record Breaking Weather

Destructive and Intense Atlantic Hurricanes

Deadly and Destructive Tornadoes

Deadly, Destructive and Costly Winter Snow Storms


Record Breaking Tropical Weather!

 

Costliest Hurricane to Make Landfall in the World

Hurricane Katrina

Total Estimated Damage:  $80 Billion

Strength:  Category 3

Estimated Wind Speed: 125 mph

Location:  Louisiana & Missippii Coasts

Date:  August 23-31, 2005

**see entry below under Top 5 Hurricanes to Make Landfall in the U.S.**

 

Strongest Hurricane to Make Landfall in the United States (in terms of lowest pressure)

Florida Keys Hurricane

Pressure:  892 millibars

Wind Speed: 155+ mph

Strength:  Category 5

Location:  Florida Keys

Date:  September 3, 1935

**see entry below under Top 5 Hurricanes to Make Landfall in the U.S.**

 

Strongest Hurricane to Exist in the World (in terms of lowest pressure)

Typhoon Tip

Pressure:  870 millibars

Wind Speed: 190 mph

Location:  Eastern Pacific

Date:  October 12, 1970

 

Strongest Hurricane in the Atlantic Basin (in terms of lowest pressure)

Hurricane Wilma

Pressure: 882 millibars

Wind Speed: 185 mph

Location: Caribbean

Date: October 15, 2005

Note: From 2:00am EDT October 18 to 2:00am EDT October 19, winds strengthened from 70mph to 175mph, going from tropical storm to a category 5 hurricane. In the 24-hour period from 8 a.m. EDT October 18 to the following morning, the pressure fell 90 millibars.

 

Deadliest Hurricane to Make Landfall in the United States

Galveston Hurricane

Total Number Dead:  8,000 – 10,000+ dead 

Strength:  Category 4

Location:  Galveston, TX

Date:  September 8, 1900

**see entry below under Top 5 Hurricanes to Make Landfall in the U.S.**

 

Deadliest Hurricane to Make Landfall in the World

Unnamed Cyclone

Total Number Dead:  300,000+ people

Strength:  Category 4

Wind Speed: 135 mph

Location:  Chittagong, Bangladesh

Date:  November 12-13, 1970

Note:  The majority of the people were killed by the tremendous storm surge of nearly 30 feet.  The surge resulted from the storm hitting during high tide in the Bay of Bengal.  The bay’s entrance helped bottleneck the water causing it all to be deposited on shore.

 

Longest Lasting Hurricane in the Atlantic (2)

Hurricane Ginger

Number of Days: 28

Date:  September – October 1971

Storm #3 “San Ciriaco Hurricane”

Number of Days: 28

Date: August – September 1899

 

Longest Lasting Hurricane in the World

Hurricane/Typhoon John

Number of Days:  31

Date:  August – September 1994

 

Highest Storm Surge in the United States

Hurricane Katrina

Storm Surge Height: 28-30 feet

Strength: Category 3

Estimated Wind Speed: 125 mph

Location:  Louisiana

Date:  August 29, 2005

 

Highest Storm Surge in the World

Bathurst Bay Hurricane

Storm Surge Height: 42 feet

Location: Bathurst Bay, Australia

Date: March 4, 1899

Note:  The entrance of the bay bottled up the water from the storm surge.  The result was a large surge because the water had nowhere to go.


World Record Breaking Weather

 

Highest Temperature in the World

Temperature:  136 degrees Fahrenheit

Location:  Al Aziziyah, Libya

Date:  September 13, 1922

 

Lowest Temperature in the World

Temperature:  -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit

Location:  Vostok, Antarctica

Date:  July 21, 1983

 

Greatest Temperature Range in the World

Range: -90.4 degrees to 98 degrees Fahrenheit

Net Temperature Change: +188 degrees Fahrenheit

Location:  Verkhoyansk, Russia

Date:  April 26, 1998

 

Highest Wind Speed in the World

Wind Speed:  231 mph

Location:  Mt. Washington, NH

Date:  April 12, 1934

Note:  There most likely would be a higher wind speed if there were anemometers on higher mountains since wind speed increases with elevation.

 

Greatest Snowfall in the World Over One Season

Total Snowfall:  1,140 inches

Location:  Mt. Baker, WA

Date:  1998-1999

 

Greatest Snowfall in the World Over 24 Hours

Total Snowfall:  77 inches

Location:  Montague, NY

Date:  January 11-12, 1997

Note:  The record snowfall amounts were caused by an extremely heavy lake effect now event.

 

Greatest Snowfall in the World During One Snow Event

Total Snowfall:  189 inches

Location:  Mt. Shasta, California

Date:  Feb. 13-19, 1959

 

Greatest Snowfall in the World Over One Month

Total Snowfall:  390 inches

Location:  Tamarack, CA

Date:  March 1941

 

Greatest Rainfall in the World Over One Day

Total Rainfall:  72 inches

Location:  Foc Foc, La Réunion

Date:  Jan 6-7 1966

Note:  The island of La Réunion holds all major rainfall records from 9 hours to 8 days.  The island is located 400 miles east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

 

Greatest Rainfall in the World Over One Month

Total Rainfall:  366 inches

Location:  Cherrapunji, India

Date:  July 1861

 

Greatest Rainfall in the World Over One Year

Total Rainfall:  1042 inches

Location:  Cherrapunji, India

Date:  Aug. 1860 – Aug. 1861

 

Costliest Flood in the World

Total Damage:  $30 billion

Location:  China

Date:  1998

 

Deadliest Flood in the World

Total Number of Dead:  900,000 – 6,000,000

Location:  Yellow River, China

Date:  1887

 

Location with the Greatest Amount of Sunshine in the World Per Year

Total Amount of Sun:  4300 hours

Location:  Yuma, Arizona

 

Most Rainy Days in the World Per Year

Total Number of Rain Days:  350

Location:  Mt. Wai’ale’ale, Kauai, HI

 

Driest Place on Earth

Total Rainfall:  0.5 mm per year

Location:  Quillagua, Chile

 

Deadliest Tornado in the World

Total Number of Dead:  1300+ people

Location:  Bangladesh

Date:  April 26, 1989

 

Costliest Tornado in the World

Total Damage:  $1,240,000,000

Location:  Moore, OK

Date:  May 3, 1999

 

Most Tornadoes in an Outbreak in the World

Total Number of Twisters:  148 in 13 states

Super Outbreak

Date:  April 3-4 1974

 

Largest Path of Destruction Caused by a Tornado in the World

Total Area:  164 square miles

Tri-State Tornado

 

Largest Measured Tornado in the World

Diameter:  1,600 m

Location:  Mulhall, OK

Date:  May 2, 1999

 

Longest Lasting Tornado in the World

Number of Hours: 3.5

Tri-State Tornado

 

Highest Pressure in the World

Pressure:  32.06 inches of mercury (1085.7 mb)

Location:  Tonsontsengel, Mongolia

Date:  December 19, 2001

 

Lowest Pressure in the World

Pressure:  25.69 inches of mercury (869.86 mb)

Typhoon Tip

 

Largest Hailstone in the World

Diameter:  7 inches

Location:  Aurora, NE

Date:  June 22, 2003

 

Greatest Frequency of Hail Per Year

Number of Days with Hail:  132

Location:  Keriche, Kenya

 

Costliest Hail Storm in the World

Total Damage:  nearly $1 billion

Location:  Munich, Germany

Date:  July 12, 1984

 

Costliest Thunderstorm in the World

Total Damage:  $1.1 billion

Location:  Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX

Date:  May 5, 1995

 

Deadliest Lightning Strike in the World

Number of Dead:  81 people

Location:  Elkton, MD

Date:  December 8, 1963

Note:  A lightning bolt struck a Boeing 707 igniting 3 fuel tanks and downing the plane.

 

United States Record Breaking Weather

 

Highest Temperature in the United States

Temperature:  134 degrees Fahrenheit

Location:  Greenland Ranch, Death Valley, CA

Date:  July 10, 1913

 

Lowest Temperature in the United States

Temperature:  -80 degrees Fahrenheit

Location:  Prospect Creek Camp, AK

Date:  Jan. 23, 1971

 

Greatest Temperature Range in the United States

Range:  44 degrees to -56 degrees Fahrenheit

Net Temperature Change:  100 degrees

Location:  Browning, MT

Date:  Jan 23-24, 1916

 

Greatest Rainfall in the United States Over One Day

Total Rainfall: 43 inches

Location:  Alvin, TX

Date:  July 25-26, 1979

Note:  The heavy rainfall was caused by tropical storm Claudette.

Greatest Rainfall in the United States Over One Month

Total Rainfall:  107 inches

Location:  Kukui, Hawaii

Date:  March 1942

 

Greatest Rainfall in the United States Over One Year

Total Rainfall:  739 inches

Location:  Kukui, HI

Date:  Dec. 1981- Dec. 1982

 

Costliest Flood in the United States

Total Damage: $18 billion

Great Midwest Flood

Date:  1993

 

Deadliest Flood in the United States

Total Number of Dead:  2,200+ dead

Johnstown Flood of 1889

Location:  Johnston, Pennsylvania

Date:  May 31, 1889

 

Deadliest Tornado in the United States

Total Number of Dead:  695 people

Tri-State Tornado

Location:  Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana

Date:  March 18, 1925

 

Highest Pressure in the United States

Pressure:  31.85 inches of mercury (1061.67 mb)

Location:  Northway, AK

Date:  Jan 31, 1989

 

Lowest Pressure in the United States

Pressure:  26.35 inches of mercury (892.21 mb)

Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane

 

Costliest Hail Storm in the United States

Total Damage:  $625 million

Location:  Denver, CO

Date:  July 11, 1990

 

Most Tornadoes in an Outbreak in the United States

Total Number of Twisters:  148 in 13 states

Super Outbreak

Date:  April 3-4 1974


New York City Record Breaking Weather

 

Highest Temperature in New York City

Temperature:  106 degrees Fahrenheit

Date:  July 9, 1936

 

Lowest Temperature in New York City

Temperature:  -15 degrees

Date:  Feb. 9, 1934

 

Consecutive 90 Degree Days In New York City

Number of days:  13

Date:  August 24 – September 4, 1953

 

Highest Wind Speed in New York City

Wind Speed:  113+ mph

Location:  Battery Park

Date:  October 14, 1954

 

Greatest Snowfall in New York City Over One Season

Total Snowfall:  75.6 inches

Date:  1995-96

 

Greatest Snowfall in New York City During One Snow Event

Total Snowfall:  26.9 inches

Date: February 11-12, 2006

 

Greatest Snowfall in New York City Over 24 Hours

Total Snowfall:  25.5 inches

Date:  December 26, 1947

 

Greatest Snowfall in New York City Over One Month

Total Snowfall:  30.5 inches

Date:  March 1896

 

Greatest Rainfall in New York City Over One Day

Total Rainfall:  11.17 inches

Date:  October 8-9, 1903

 

Greatest Rainfall in New York City Over One Month

Total Rainfall:  16.85 inches

Date:  September 1882

Greatest Precipitation in New York City In One Year

Total Rainfall:  80.56 inches

Date:  1983

 

Least Amount of Precipitation in New York City In One Year

Total Rainfall:  26.09 Inches

Date:  1965

 

Most Days Without Rain in New York City

Number of Days: 36

Date:  October 9 – November 13, 1926

 

Highest Pressure in New York City

Pressure:  31.08 inches of mercury (1051.13 mb)

Date:  Feb. 13, 1981

 

Lowest Pressure in New York City

Pressure:  28.38 inches of mercury (960.95 mb)

Date:  March 1, 1914

Note:  Pressure resulted from an intense snowstorm that dumped one to two feet of snow across the area


Miami Record Breaking Weather


Highest Temperature in Miami

Temperature:  100 degrees Fahrenheit

Date:  July 21, 1942 and June 22, 2009

 

Lowest Temperature in Miami

Temperature:  27 degrees Fahrenheit

Date:  February 3, 1917


Consecutive 90 Degree Days In Miami

Number of days:  34

Date:  May – June 1952

 

Greatest Rainfall in Miami Over One Day

Total Rainfall:  10.06 inches

Date:  September, 10 1960


Greatest Rainfall in Miami Over One Month

Total Rainfall:  27.54 inches

Date:  September 1960

Greatest Precipitation in Miami In One Year

Total Rainfall:  87.51 inches

Date:  1947

 

Least Amount of Precipitation in Miami In One Year

Total Rainfall:  33.45 Inches

Date:  1974

** Miami has never recorded an accumulation of snow, and has only once recorded snow flurries, on January 19, 1977.

 

 

Most Deadly, Destructive and Intense Hurricanes to Make Landfall in the U.S.

 

Hurricane Katrina

 

Katrina is the costliest hurricane to hit the United States, shattering Hurricane Andrew’s previous record. Causing $81 billion in damage, Katrina was associated with many other records broken in the 2005 hurricane season. Katrina takes the record for the highest storm surge of 28-30 feet, which replaced Hurricane Camille’s surge of 24 feet. Other records that Katrina is included in are: most category 5 hurricanes, most hurricane names to be retired, and most major hurricanes to hit the USA. Tropical depression twelve formed on August 23, 2005 in the southeastern Bahamas as a result of a tropical wave and the remnants of tropical depression ten. After becoming a hurricane on August 25, Katrina made landfall near Hallandale Beach, Florida as a category 1 hurricane. Katrina weakened as it crossed Florida, but regained its hurricane status as it entered the warm Gulf of Mexico waters. By August 28, Katrina attained category 5 status with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph and a central pressure of 902mb. Katrina made its second (Buras-Triumph) and third (near Louisiana/Mississippi border) landfalls in Louisiana on August 29 as a category 3 hurricane, and maintained hurricane status as far as Jackson, Mississippi. The remnants of Katrina were last noticeable on August 31 near the Great Lakes. Katrina affected the entire Southeast region, bringing storm surge to Louisiana, Florida, and Alabama, as well as drenching rains to Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, and Tennessee. Tropical storm force winds reached as far as Fort Campbell, Kentucky on August 30. Hurricane Katrina is in the books as one of the most costly, if not the costliest hurricane to ever hit the United States at an estimated $81 billion.

 

Hurricane Andrew

 

Andrew was the second costliest hurricane to ever hit the United States causing nearly $27 billion in damage, equating about $35 billion in today’s dollars.  Florida saw the vast majority of the damage with nearly $26 billion of destruction caused there.  Packing winds in excess of 165 mph, Andrew struck Florida on August 24, 1992.  It then made landfall for a second and final time in Louisiana on August 26th as a category 3 hurricane.  Only 23 casualties were directly attributed to Andrew in the United States, a far cry from the 256 deaths caused by Camille, one of the three other category 5 hurricanes to hit the United States.  Accurate forecasting and timely warnings were the main reasons for minimizing the number of deaths.  Andrew was a compact storm, which reduced the extent of the casualties and damage caused by the storm.

 

Galveston Hurricane

 

The greatest disaster in United States history occurred on September 8, 1900 when a category 4 hurricane struck Galveston, TX.  The entire island was submerged, destroying or damaging most structures.  With a storm surge upwards of 15 feet and maximum winds greater than 130 mph, the storm killed an estimated 8,000-12,000 people making it the deadliest in history.  The large death toll is likely due to a combination of inadequate technology and the failure of residents to evacuate the island. The water level reached nearly 20 feet in some places during the height of the hurricane washing away many people and their homes. With the highest point in Galveston reaching a mere 8 feet above sea level, it is not surprising that almost everything was washed away. The storm was also responsible for nearly 1 billion dollars in damage with not a single building escaped unscathed.

 

Labor Day Hurricane

 

The Labor Day hurricane was the most intense hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States, with a whopping minimum central pressure of 892 millibars.  Since most barometers failed during the extent of the hurricane, it is very possible that the pressure readings were even lower, already blowing other record lows out of the water. With wind gusts that exceeded 200 mph, the storm was reportedly capable of sandblasting the skin off of people.  The storm struck the Florida Keys on September 2, 1935 killing over 600 people and stripping the islands of the majority of its structures and vegetation.   A rescue train was sent to retrieve veterans, who were building a highway to Key West.   But the train was dispatched too late and the passenger cars were washed off the track.  The hurricane was so strong that it ripped the railroad tracks from the ground in some places.  The hurricane later moved northward wreaking havoc along the Florida coast and eventually making landfall in the panhandle as a much less intense storm.

 

Hurricane Camille

 

On August 15, 1969, Camille made landfall near Pass Christian, MS. The category 5 hurricane had wind gusts up to 200 mph with a minimum central pressure of 909 millibars.  Camille had a storm surge of 24 feet, which caused widespread damage to the coastline.  Unfortunately, much of the data available on Camille’s intensity is not accurate since many, if not all, of the barometers and anemometers were not able to withstand the fury of the hurricane.  Out of the 256 people killed by Camille, 113 were killed in Virginia where the storm dumped as much as 30 inches of rain in the Appalachian Mountain region.  The total cost of the storm was $1.4 billion, equating to about $7 billion in today’s dollars, making it the fifth costliest storm on record.

 

Lake Okeechobee Hurricane

 

The Lake Okeechobee hurricane was the fifth most intense storm to make landfall in the United States.  With a central pressure of 929 millibars and winds estimated at 145 mph, the hurricane killed at least 1,836 people.  In 1928 records of the number of people living in the region was unknown, so it is possible that almost twice that number of people were killed.  Damage totaled to an equivalence of $33 million today.  The vast scale of the storm affected an area along the coastline from Vero Beach to Miami with West Palm Beach being particularly hit hard.  In addition to causing a storm surge at the coast, the hurricane also caused a surge inland at Lake Okeechobee reaching 6-9 feet high.  The surge broke the dike that had been holding Lake Okeechobee’s waters back flooding the area around the lake and drowning hundreds of people.

 

Hurricane Mitch

 

Hurricane Mitch was only a tropical storm when it struck the United States, but it is far more infamous for the widespread devastation that it caused in Nicaragua and Honduras.  Mitch formed on October 21, 1998 as a tropical depression in the southern Caribbean Sea and strengthened to a category 5 hurricane within 5 days.  Mitch meandered through the Caribbean with top sustained winds reaching 180 miles per hour, making it the strongest storm in nearly a decade.  Mitch stalled out off the coast of Honduras and began to weaken.  The long pause caused not only wind damage, but major flooding in the region. The rain only worsened in Nicaragua and Honduras as Mitch approached the coast.  After three days of sitting off the coast, Mitch made landfall as a tropical storm continuing to weaken and inundate the area with water.  Flooding and mudslides killed thousands of people in the mountains.  Mitch killed nearly 10,000 people before finally emerging back into the Gulf of Mexico.  It then reformed into a tropical storm and raced across Florida into the Atlantic.  Mitch was the most deadly hurricane since the 1780 Great Hurricane and was the strongest hurricane ever to form in October.

 

Most Deadly and Destructive Tornadoes to Touchdown in the U.S.

 

2011 Super Outbreak, April 25-28, 2011

 

From April 25-28, 2011 the largest tornado outbreak in United States history swept across the Southern, Midwestern, and Northeastern United States.  A total of 335 tornadoes were confirmed in 21 states from Texas to New York, with even isolated tornadoes in Canada.  The funnels left catastrophic destruction in Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and most of all, Alabama.  Widespread and devastating tornadoes occurred on each day of the outbreak, with April 27 being among the most profuse and destructive tornado days in US history.  On this day alone, four tornadoes were rated EF5, which is the highest ranking possible on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, and typically there is only about one of these in a given year.  The outbreak was caused by a vigorous upper-level trough that moved into the Southern Plains states on April 25. An extratropical cyclone developed ahead of the trough between northeast Oklahoma and western Missouri. On April 26, there was again a predicted likelihood of severe thunderstorms, including an extended threat of strong to violent long track tornadoes during the afternoon and evening hours around east Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The storm then tracked eastward through Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia on April 27. A very powerful mid-level jet stream moved into the Ohio, Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys behind the trough, creating incredible wind shear while the low pressure center moved quickly northeastward across those areas.  In the mean time, temperatures across the southeastern United States ranged from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and helicity levels were extremely supportive of significant tornadic activity and strong to violent long-track tornadoes. After crushing through the south, tornadoes spread up to North Carolina, through Virginia, and even into Washingtion, DC. The huge temperature gradients and all the other perfect ingredients, led to a total of 56 severe weather watches issued by the SPC over the four days, including 41 tornado watches. Over 492 preliminary local storm reports were received for tornadoes over the four days, including 292 in 16 states on April 27.  It was also the costliest tornado outbreak and one of the costliest natural disasters in United States history, with insured damage estimated as high as $6 billion, and total damages exceeding $10 billion. April 2011 is ranked as the most active tornado month on record with 875 tornadoes.  The previous record number of tornadoes during any month was 542 set in May 2003.  NWS records indicate that 361 people were killed during the entire month of April 2011, 321 of those were killed during the April 25-28 tornado outbreak.

 

Joplin Tornado May 22, 2011

 

A multi-record breaking EF5 tornado touched down near Joplin, MO late in the afternoon of Sunday May 22, 2011. It was part of a larger tornado outbreak sequence in late May. Eventually reaching a maximum width in excess of 1 mile during its path through the southern part of the city, it intensified and tracked eastward across the city of Joplin. Damage became very widespread and catastrophic as it entered residential subdivisions in southwest Joplin, with estimated winds over 200 mph, peaking at 225 to 250 mph. This storm ranks as one of Missouri’s and Americas deadliest tornadoes and is likely to be one of the costliest. Officials report that 158 people were killed, and another by a lightning strike during cleanup operations the next day. The cost estimate to rebuild Joplin could reach as high as $3 billion. This storm is only the second EF5 tornado in the entire state of Missouri history dating back to 1950. This May 2011 tornado was the deadliest tornado to hit the United States since 1947, seventh deadliest single tornado in US history, and 27th deadliest in World history.

 

Tri-State Tornado March 18, 1925

 

The deadliest tornado to ever strike the United States touched down on March 18, 1925.  The funnel tracked over Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, and Southwestern Indiana lasting for nearly 4 hours.  During that time, the F5 twister killed 695 people and injured 2,027 people.  Many towns sustained heavy damage and several towns were nearly destroyed including Gorham, IL, Parrish, IL, and Griffin, IN.  At times, there were multiple funnels on the ground and most evidence suggests that a “family” of tornadoes caused the damage rather than just one twister.  Most people received no or little warning of imminent tornado danger.  Warning systems had not yet been developed, and even had they been, the twister was moving extremely fast at a record of 73 mph.  An estimate $16.5 million of damage was created by the tornado, which would translate to about $1.4 billion today.

 

Oklahoma City Tornado, OK May 3, 1999

 

The most costly tornado in U.S. history touched down in the Oklahoma City, OK metropolitan area on May 3, 1999.  The twister covered a path of nearly 38 miles in 4 hours with widespread devastation, indicating a tornado of F5 level intensity.  Wind speeds of 318 miles per hour were recorded, making it the strongest tornado and strongest wind speed ever recorded.  The tornado was estimated to be a mile wide at times, cutting a wide swath of death and destruction across Oklahoma.  The tornado was one of several that formed that day across Oklahoma and Kansas.  800 houses were destroyed in Oklahoma City alone with damage estimates over $1.2 billion.  36 people died in this storm with several hundred injuries.

 

Waco Tornado, TX May 11, 1953

 

On May 11, 1953 a F5 tornado ripped through Waco, Texas killing 114 people and injuring 600 others.  The twister was the tenth deadliest in U.S. history cutting a 1/3 of a mile wide path of destruction through downtown Waco.  Upon touching down, the storm moved almost due north for 10 miles.  More than 850 homes were destroyed along with over 2,000 automobiles.  Piles of bricks as high as 5 feet were scattered throughout the city with survivors being buried for up to 14 hours.  Damage estimates were estimated to be 41 million dollars (275 million dollars when adjusted for inflation).

 

Worcester Tornado, MA June 9, 1953

 

The unthinkable happened on June 9, 1953 when a strong tornado (F4) struck a major urban area in the eastern United States killing dozens and injuring thousands.  The tornado was described as a cone of black smoke that descended from the clouds creating a 46-mile path of destruction through Worcester and the area surrounding it.  The tornado ranks as the 20th deadliest tornado killing 94 and injuring 1,300 people.  The twister carried debris into the Atlantic Ocean with some objects being found 30 miles away from where they initially were.  The storm leveled 4,000 buildings leaving close to 10,000 people homeless in addition to hundreds of cars that were totaled.  Damage estimates were $52 million, which would be about $349 million when adjusted for inflation.

 

Omaha, NE May 6, 1975

 

On May 6, 1975, a F4 tornado touched down in Omaha, Nebraska killing 3 people and injuring over 200.  The death toll would have been higher had there not been any storm spotters activated in the area.  The fact that the tornado occurred during the day helped make it easier to spot and track reducing the possibility of fatalities and injuries.  The twister ripped through west central Omaha destroying 287 homes and damaging 1400 others.  Total damage from the storm reached over $1.1 billion dollars, when adjusted for inflation, making it the second costliest storm in U.S. history.

 

Most Deadly, Destructive, and Costly Winter Storms to Hit the United States

 

Superstorm of 1993

 

One of the most powerful snowstorms on record was the Superstorm of 1993.  Not only did this storm produce widespread severe weather, but it also dumped large amounts of snow from Alabama to New York. Never before had a system produced snowfall in such a large area. Snowfall amounts reached 60 inches in some places on the North Carolina and Tennessee border.  Some areas received a great deal of ice including parts of New Jersey, which received up to 2.5 inches of sleet.  The storm was responsible for wind speeds greater than 100 miles per hour and record low temperatures of -10 degrees or lower.  Record low-pressure readings were also observed up and down the coast.  These pressure levels were very close to the levels of a major hurricane.  Widespread severe weather also occurred with 15 tornadoes touching down.  Additionally, a line of thunderstorms in Florida produced a storm surge of 12 feet, which is very unusual for any type of weather event not associate with tropical systems.  The storm claimed the lives of 270 people and property damage estimates exceeded 3 billion dollars.

 

Blizzard of 1888

 

The Blizzard of 1888, also known as the “Great White Hurricane,” was a powerful nor’easter that struck the eastern U.S. from March 11 to March 12.  The storm dumped more than 50 inches of snow in some areas with wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour.  The combination of wind and snow led to snowdrifts of 40 to 50 feet, which helped shut down most eastern U.S. cities.  The storm killed over 400 people many of whom were aboard the 200 ships that were sunk.  Damage estimates for the storm are about $20 million.  Many of the snowfall totals are still records in some areas.

 

Blizzard of ‘96

 

Much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic received at least a foot of snow from this storm from January 6 - 8.  Some parts of West Virginia and Virginia received more than 4 feet of snow, with widespread wind gusts of over 50 miles per hour recorded.  The storm set several new one-storm records for much of New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  154 people died during this event with an estimated $3.5 billion in damage.  Incidentally, the region indirectly experienced more devastation several weeks later during a warm spell.  Much of the snow melted from the storm causing flooding that killed 33 people.

 

Megalopolitan Blockbuster Snowstorm of 1983

 

The snowstorm of 1983 dumped snow from northeastern Georgia to eastern Maine.  Amounts of 2 feet or more were common in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York State.  New York City received 22 inches of snow as many urban areas including Harrisburg and Philadelphia were pummeled.  The latter two cities along with Hartford, CT set new records for both 24-hour snow totals and single-storm totals.  Winds were intense with a 72 mph wind gust recorded in Chatham, MA.  The storm caused 46 deaths of which 33 came from a ship that capsized off the Virginia coast.

 

President’s Weekend Storm of 2003

 

The President’s Weekend Storm of 2003 brought urban centers like Boston, Washington, D.C., and New York City to a standstill.  Snow fell from Kentucky to Connecticut with ice falling in parts of the Southeast. Heavy rains from moisture streaming up from the Gulf of Mexico flooded much of Eastern Kentucky.  Amounts of 2 feet or more were widespread across the Northeast with most of the snow falling on February 17.  New York City received 19.8 inches of snow, but that was not nearly enough for the City to join Baltimore, Washington, and many other areas in setting records for snowfall totals.  10 deaths were attributed to the storm with dozens of millions of dollars in damage mostly due to snow cleanup.

 

Blizzard of 1947

 

Arguably one of the biggest snowstorms ever to hit New York City, it set new records in New York for most snow in 24 hours with 25.5 inches and most snow from a single storm with 26.1 inches.  The storm began during the morning commute stranding thousands of people on the roads and in the subways on December 26 and lasted into the next day.  Strong winds created large drifts of snow that caused the cleanup to take over one week.  77 people lost their lives across the northeastern United States.

 

Blizzard of 1978

 

The third in a line of major winter storms to hit the United States, the blizzard of 1978 dropped one to three feet of snow from Delaware to Massachusetts with New York City receiving 18 inches.  The storm’s rapid intensification and slow, meandering movement were a surprise to forecasters.  The blizzard moved up the eastern coast reaching a minimum pressure of 984 millibars.  The storm then made a slow loop of the coast of Long Island before gradually moving off to the east-northeast.  The sluggish movement of the storm produced storm totals of up to 50 inches in parts of northern Rhode Island and four massive tidal surges (record 14 foot tide in Portland, Maine).  Peak wind gusts of 83 and 92 mph were experienced in parts of Massachusetts due to the enormous high-pressure area to the north.  The wind and snow combined to create massive snowdrifts of 15 feet or more throughout the parts of the Northeast.  The storm claimed 54 lives and caused close to $1 billion in damage, the majority due to coastal flooding.

 

Blizzard of 1958

 

The eastern part of the United States was inundated with snow by this blizzard with areas from Alabama to Maine receiving 10 inches of snow.  The storm lasted from February 14-16 dropping 30 inches of snow in the Catskills and parts of New Hampshire. Although New York City only received 10 inches, many urban centers including Boston and Baltimore received 15 inches or more.  43 fatalities along with $500 million in damage were blamed upon the storm.

 

Snowstorm of 1961

 

The third major snow event in a line of great snowstorms, the storm dumped up to 40 inches of snow across the region.  This storm occurred at the end of a long cold spell.  New York City, Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia all received over a foot of snow with the City receiving 2 feet.  Much of the coastal areas received a very heavy, wet snow as temperatures rose to near freezing.  The storm produced hurricane and gale force winds along the coast with a wind gust of 96 mph in Milton, Massachusetts.

 

Blizzard of 2006

 

This record-breaking snowstorm left New York City at a standstill when it dropped almost 27” of snow February 11-12, 2006. It ranks 2nd for dropping the most snowfall in a 24 hour period, only 1.4” shy of the previous record 25.5” set in December 1947. Cities up and down the Eastern Seaboard saw snowfalls over 20”, with suburban Baltimore seeing 21.3”, LaGuardia Airport collected 25.4”, and Fairfield, CT picking up 30.2”. The rare phenomenon of “thundersnow” accompanied much of the snowfall, along with 40mph winds causing blizzard warnings in certain parts of the region. Four major airports were forced to close, causing thousands of flights to be cancelled. Power outages plagued many residents in New Jersey and New York, with up to 100,000 residents powerless in Washington. There were three confirmed fatalities with this storm

 

Blizzard of 2005

January 20, 2005 marked the start of a clipper system diving quickly into the northern Plains. As it hit the Lower Great Lakes, it tapped into the Gulf of Mexico moisture and propagated east southeast across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and southern Ohio. This unusual blizzard collided with a weaker clipper system just to its north which passed all of its energy into the developing storm and exploded just before it hit the Atlantic. Although the storm wasn’t all that deep, huge amounts of moisture drifted northward from the Gulf Stream and dumped record snowfall totals across southern New England. Copious amounts of snow covered much of the Upper Midwest, northern Ohio Valley, and most of New England. The Midwest racked up 5 to 13 inches, with up to 16 inches near Lake Michigan. Southern New England had snow totals ranching from 8 to 37 inches, with some areas around Boston reporting snowfall rates of 3 to 5 inches per hour! Boston officially record 22.5 inches from this particular storm, which made a huge contribution to breaking the all time record for the amount of monthly snowfall for any month. January 2005 rang in a record 43.3 inches! On top of the record snowfall, winds gusts of over 60 mph were recorded across portions of the Midwest, and up to 85 mph across portions of southern New England. 6 foot snow drifts were reported in parts of Massachusetts and entire cities were shut down across the northeast due to widespread white-out conditions.

 

Southeastern Snowstorm of 2011

January 10th, 2011 marked the interaction of a Gulf Coast storm with a very cold air mass that was located all the way into the Gulf Coastal region. The rare set up pummeled Northern Texas and the Gulf states with nearly 1-foot snow accumulations. Interior portions of the Carolinas into the Appalachian Mountains received up to 2 feet of snow. Significant amounts of sleet and freezing rain also mixed in across Arkansas, Tennessee, and the Carolinas causing hand fulls of travel issues and power outages. The storm intensified as it edged up the east coast dropping about 1 to 3 feet of snow along the Eastern seaboard. Even though minor snow accumulations are expected in the Southeast US during the winter months, the mere coverage and magnitude of snow accumulations made this a historic storm.

 

Halloween Blizzard of 1991

 

This early season snowstorm developed across the Southern Plains along a very strong cold front. The storm intensified as it tracked North along the Mississippi River, sucking in the ever plentiful Gulf moisture. This storm produced 1 to 2 feet of snow across East Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. A few places in Northeast Minnesota reported around 3 feet of accumulation, and Duluth, Minnesota set an all time record of 36.9 inches. Snow drifts of 5 to 10 feet resulted from the gusty winds refusing to quit even after the snow had ended.

 

October Snow storm of 2011 (Northeast US and New England)

The phrase once in a lifetime should not be tossed around lightly. This snow storm was truly once in “several” life times. The October snowfall was about as odd an event as could be possible. It is likely to never be seen again, at least for many centuries. The storm hit on October 29th as a vigorous upper level low moved east across the northern Ohio Valley and Great Lakes with a very cold pool of air for late October. As the storm approached the east coast surface low pressure developed along the Mid-Atlantic coast. As the system developed a strong tropical jet connection enabled this Nor’easter to tap into deep tropical moisture left over from Hurricane Rina in the Caribbean and at the same time draw in cold air to its core like a magnet. The mixing of these two features, both somewhat unique and opposite from each other, resulted in snowfall totals up to 32 inches in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Some other noteworthy totals: West Milford New Jersey 19”, Jaffrey New Hampshire 32”, Bristol CT 17”, Central Park NYC 3”, Newark NJ 5” and Boston MA 1”.  Snow accumulated all the way down into Virginia.

Watch CBS News video here for a video explanation… http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7386440n&tag=mncol;lst;6

List of Snowfall totals… http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/discussions/nfdscc2.html

 

Jeff Berardelli

The Weather Professor