National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

On This Day In

                   Weather History...

March 12th

Local and Regional Events:

March 12, 1995:

Rapid snowmelt, due to warm temperatures, caused widespread flooding of streams, low areas, and farmland. Many roads were covered with water and some were washed out. Some utility poles and lines were damaged. Some schools, houses, and other buildings were damaged by high water levels. Day County was especially hit hard, with damage to roads alone estimated at $75,000. In addition, ice jams exacerbated the flooding on some culverts and streams.

 

Local Climate Information:

Click HERE for daily climate information for Aberdeen, Mobridge, Pierre, Sisseton, and Watertown.

Click HERE for daily climate information for Sioux Falls, Huron, Mitchell, and Sioux City.

 

U.S.A and Global Events for March 12th:

1928: The St. Frances dam near Santa Paula, California burst before midnight, killing 450 people as a flood tide of 138,000 acres of water rushed down the San Francisquito Canyon. The dam was designed and built between 1924 and 1926 by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, then named the Bureau of Water Works and Supply.

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Photo of the St. Francis Dam in February 1927. Photo courtesy of USGS.

 

File:St. Francis Dam after the 1928 failure.jpg

The dam failed at 11:58 p.m. Monday March 12, 1928, according to the water storage recorder on the dam. 20 minutes prior to that time, the water was slowly dropping in the reservoir indicating that leakage was increasing. The flood destroyed the power house about 1 mile below the dam at 12:04 a.m. March 13, 1928. 

 

1976: A large tornado outbreak spawned tornadoes in the Great Lakes and Midwest, including 9 in northern Indiana and extreme southern Michigan. A tornado missed President Ford's motorcade by a quarter mile near O'Hare. The next morning, he got out of his vehicle to view the damage.

 

Above is an excerpt of Ford's daily diary from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

 

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The tornado map above is courtesy of ustornadoes.com  

 

1993: An incredible blizzard known as "The Superstorm" struck the eastern United States on this date through the 15th. The storm was described as the most costly non-tropical storm ever to strike the U.S. doing an estimated $6 billion dollars in damage. The storm was as strong as a hurricane in terms of winds and low pressure. The pressure dropped to an incredible 28.35 inches of mercury or 960 millibars when then storm was located over the Chesapeake Bay. Boston, Massachusetts recorded a wind gust to 81 mph, the strongest wind they had recorded since Hurricane Edna in 1954. In addition, as the storm was intensifying over the Gulf of Mexico, a wind gust to 99 mph was recorded by an offshore oil rig. It dumped incredible amounts of snow from Alabama to New England. The snow amounts were significant everywhere, but for places like Birmingham, Alabama the 17 inches recorded brought the city to a standstill for three days. Mount Leconte, North Carolina recorded 60 inches of snow. Practically every weather station in West Virginia established a new 24 hour snowfall record during the event. Syracuse, New York was buried under 43 inches of snow. 270 people were killed during the storm and another 48 lost at sea. The storm also brought a 12 foot storm surge and 15 tornadoes to Florida, where 51 people were killed. Air travel was brought to a halt as every major airport from Atlanta north was closed during the height of the storm. During the late evening into the early morning hours of the 13th, a vicious squall line swept through Florida and spawned 11 tornadoes resulting in five fatalities. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 110 mph at Alligator Point and 109 mph at Dry Tortugas. Extremely high tides occurred along the western Florida coast. A 13 foot storm surge occurred in Taylor County, Florida, resulting in 10 deaths with 57 residences destroyed. A 5 to 8 foot storm surge moved ashore in Dixie County. Over 500 homes were destroyed with major damage to another 700 structures. Click HERE for more information from the University of Illinois.

 

Click HERE for more This Day in Weather History from the Southeast Regional Climate Center.