National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Critical Fire Weather Conditions for California and the Plains; Wet and Stormy Across the East

Critical fire weather conditions are likely to persist over parts of California and the Plains through Thursday. Elsewhere, a pair of cold fronts will deliver wet and stormy conditions to the eastern U.S. into Wednesday. Much cooler air will arrive in wake of the frontal passages with a return to below normal temperatures. Read More >

Weather trivia for October


Oct 1, 1893
The second great hurricane of the 1893 season hit the Mississippi
Delta Region drowning more than 1000 persons.
IN 1998...Heavy rain fell across the Liberal area for 24 hours with
the heaviest rain falling between 8 am and 5 pm. Five to eight inches
were reported with one unofficial report indicating 10 inches.
Streets were flooded that had never flooded before. A local
disaster was declared.

Oct 2, 1898
A hurricane struck the Georgia coast washing away Campbell Island.

Oct 3, 1912
The longest dry spell of record in the U.S. commenced as Bagdad
CA went 767 days without rain.
IN 1986...Remnants of Hurricane Paine deluged Oklahoma and
southeastern Kansas with 6 to 10 inch overnight rains. Hardy Oklahoma
was drenched with 21.79 inches. Heavy rain between September 26th and
October 4th caused 350 million dollars damage in Oklahoma.

Oct 4, 1777
The battle of Germantown was fought in a morning fog that grew more
dense with the smoke of battle, causing great confusion. Americans
firing at each other contributed to the loss of the battle.

Oct 5, 1638
The journal of John Winthrop recorded that a mighty tempest struck
eastern New England. This second severe hurricane in three years
blew down many trees in mile long streaks.

Oct 6, 1941
A tornado hit Kansas City Missouri leaving 4 dead and causing
$250,000 damage.

Oct 7, 1992
An early fall snowstorm dumped from seven to ten inches of wet
snow across the Belleville and Munden areas in north central
Kansas. The combination of the heavy snow and high winds behind
the storm caused tremendous amounts of tree and power line damage
in this area. Approximately 20 power poles were snapped off and
some residents were without power for up to 48 hours.
Approximately 75 homes in the Belleville area sustained damage
from falling trees and branches.

Oct 8, 1871
Prolonged drought and dessicating winds led to the great Chicago
fire, the Peshtigo horror, and the Michigan fire holocaust. Fire
destroyed more than seventeen thousand buildings killing more
than 200 persons in the city of Chicago, while a fire consumed
the town of Peshtigo WI killing more than 1100 persons. In
Wisconsin, a million acres of land were burned, and in Michigan,
2.5 million acres were burned killing 200 persons. "Tornadoes of
fire" generated by intense heat caused houses to explode in fire,
and burned to death scores of persons seeking refuge in open
IN 1919...An intense tornado moved through the town of Hoisington,
11 miles north of Great Bend. It damaged or destroyed 60 homes
which resulted in $200,000 in damages. Business papers and
cancelled checks were found at Lincoln, 55 miles to the

Oct 9, 1949
A tornado moved north northeast from 10 miles south of Rush
Center to 6 miles northeast of LaCrosse. Four farms were hit as
the tornado passed 4 miles southeast of Rush City. Barns and
silos were destroyed on three farms.

Oct 10, 1973
Fifteen to twenty inch rains deluged north central Oklahoma in
thirteen hours producing record flooding. Enid was drenched with
15.65 inches of rain from the nearly stationary thunderstorms,
which established a state 24 hour rainfall record. Dover
Oklahoma reported 125 of 150 homes damaged by flooding.

Oct 11, 1928
What was probably a family of small tornadoes moved northeast
from the northwest corner of Finney county, passing west of Amy
and south of Healy. Many farm buildings were destroyed and one
home was twisted.
IN 1954...A tornado moved east from 4 miles north of Catharine KS
to 8 miles north of Gorham. A home was unroofed, and oil derricks
were blown down. A pickup truck was tossed 30 feet into the air.

Oct 12, 1918
Forest fires ravaged parts of Minnesota from the Duluth area
northeastward, claiming the lives of 600 persons. Smoke with a
smell of burnt wood spread to Albany NY and Washington D.C. in
24 hours. Smoke was noted at Charleston SC on the 14th, and by
the 15th was reported in northeastern Texas.

Oct 13, 1846
A great hurricane tracked across Cuba, Florida, Georgia, the
Carolinas, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The hurricane inflicted
major damage along its entire path, which was similar to the
path of Hurricane Hazel 108 years later. The hurricane caused
great damage at Key West FL, and at Philadelphia PA it was the
most destructive storm in thirty years.

Oct 14, 1984
Dense fog contributed to a 118 vehicle accident on Interstate 94,
just south of Milwaukee WI. It was the seventh day of an eight
day stretch of dense fog. At the time of the accident the visibility
was reportedly close to zero.

Oct 15, 1954
Hurricane Hazel struck the Carolina coastline. The hurricane
demolished every pier along a 170 mile stretch from Myrtle Beach
South Carolina to Cedar Island North Carolina, and obliterated
entire lines of beach homes. Hurricane Hazel also destroyed 1500
homes as it moved inland with seventeen foot tides. Winds between
Myrtle Beach South Carolina and Cape Fear North Carolina gusted to
150 mph. Hurricane Hazel caused 163 million dollars damage, and
claimed the lives of 98 persons.

Oct 16, 1980
A house was destroyed, and three other homes and a trailer were
damaged during a brief tornado touchdown at Munjor KS.
IN 1998...A tornado that began in eastern Trego county, steadily
moved northeast before dissipating north of Hays. The tornado hit
several farms in rural Ellis county and slammed into sparsely
populated Yocemento. After leaving Yocemento, the tornado tore
through a feed yard and on across other parts of rural Ellis
county. Fortunately, the tornado stayed just west and north of
populated Hays where a high school football game was in progress.
The tornado damaged or destroyed 10 homes, a grain elevator, many
outbuildings, a tractor and a feedlot. During the weaker moments
of the tornado, it moved a 14,000 pound tractor 30 yards. One
modular constructed home on a concrete slab was completely
destroyed with the remains carried one half of a mile. A steel I beam
from a concrete building traveled several hundred yards,
eventually crashing into a grain elevator. Three empty anhydrous
ammonia tanks were moved causing a leak of a benign amount of
vapor. An injury occurred to a male driving a tractor trailer
rig on interstate 70.

Oct 17, 1781
General Cornwallis attempted to escape encirclement by crossing York
River, "but a violent storm arose" dispersing his boats causing him
to ask for an armistice.
IN 2016...The high of 101 degrees established the record high for the
month of October at Dodge City.

Oct 18, 1906
A hurricane struck South Florida drowning 124 persons stranded in
the Florida Keys.

Oct 19, 1844
The famous Lower Great Lakes Storm occurred. Southwesterly
winds were at hurricane force for five hours, driving lake waters
into downtown Buffalo New York. The storm drowned 200 persons.

Oct 20, 1770
An exceedingly great storm struck eastern New England causing
extensive coastal damage from Massachusetts to Maine, and the
highest tide in 40 years.

Oct 21, 1934
A severe windstorm lashed the northern Pacific coast. In Washington
State, the storm claimed the lives of 22 persons, and caused 1.7
million dollars damage, mostly to timber. Winds, gusting to 87 mph
at North Head WA, produced waves twenty feet high.

Oct 22, 1965
The temperature soared to 104 degrees at San Diego CA. Southern
California was in the midst of a late October heat wave that year.
Los Angeles had ten consecutive days with afternoon highs reaching
100 degrees.

Oct 23, 2002
Freezing drizzle and freezing rain occurred over much of southwest
Kansas. The biggest impacts related to the storm were ice
accumulations of an eighth to a quarter of an inch across far
southwest Kansas from Johnson to Elkhart, east through Sublette and
Meade. Reports of ice accumulation of a half inch were reported in
Meade county. Tree limbs and power lines were taken down by the
weight of the ice in Seward and also in Stafford counties. There
were several reports of damage to fences and vehicles due to tree
limbs falling on them. Approximately 100 customers in Liberal were
without electricity due to the downed power lines. Ice storms are
rare in October.

Oct 24, 1785
A four day rain swelled the Merrimack River in New Hampshire and
Massachusetts to the greatest height of record causing extensive
damage to bridges and mills.

Oct 25, 1997
A major late fall blizzard struck part of west central and
southwest Kansas dumping 10 to 20 inches of snow across the area.
A strong north wind whipped the snow into 15 to 20 foot drifts.
Most roads were impassable for several days after the snow ended.
22,000 head of cattle died both in pastures and in the feedlots.
Monetarily this amounted to $11 million in losses. Additionally,
the cattle that did not die during the blizzard suffered severe
weight loss which led to higher operating costs for feedlots.
Over 35,000 head of cattle perished across western Kansas.

Oct 26, 1859
New York City had their earliest substantial snow of record as
four inches blanketed the city.

Oct 27, 1878
The low of 10 degrees established the record low for the month of
October at Dodge City.

Oct 28, 2003
An on-going drought that was in its third year continued across
most of Kansas. The state of Kansas declared drought disaster
areas with an estimated cost of $275 million for this growing
season alone.

Oct 29, 1956
A tornado moved north northeast from 7 miles south southeast of
Burdett Kansas to 6 miles northwest of Rozel, and ended in the
northwest part of Grant township. This tornado struck 11 farms
and three homes were destroyed.

Oct 30, 1947
The Donora PA smog disaster finally came to an end. For five
days an inversion trapped impurities in the lower atmosphere over
the Monongahela Valley killing 20 persons, and leaving more than
2000 others sick.
IN 1991...A strong winter storm brought southwest Kansas its first
snowfall for the year, dumping up to 14 inches in Garden City. A
large storage shed collapsed due to heavy snows in Johnson, and
slippery roads caused a lot of havoc and claimed the life of a
child in an automobile accident. Bitter cold temperatures also
accompanied the heavy snows, and wind gusts to 45 mph brought
wind chills down to the 20 below zero range. The frigid
conditions and blowing snow claimed the lives of two men, both of
exposure in separate incidents, when they left their cars after
they got stuck. Both men tried to make their way back home.

Oct 31, 1846
87 pioneers were trapped by early snows in the Sierra Nevada
Mountains that piled five feet deep, with 30 to 40 foot drifts.
Just 47 persons survived the "Donner Pass Tragedy."
IN 1991...Freezing rain and sleet fell across south central Kansas.
This precipitation caused extensive tree and power line damage.
Two inches of ice accumulated in some spots. Derby, Mulvane, and
Haysville were hardest hit. Tree limbs up to 10 inches in
diameter were snapped off and caused widespread electrical
outages. At one point all of Mulvane was without power and about
12,000 customers in Wichita and El Dorado lost power.


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