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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Memorable Weather Events of the Past 200 Years

Memorable Weather Events of the Past 200 Years

Sure, the weather seems wacky these days. January temperatures in the 70s in New York; either no rain or non-stop rain, hurricanes and heatwaves. But America has had its share of shocking weather events for centuries, and here are some of the most talked about:

1816: The Year Without A Summer
1816 has gone down in history as the “poverty year” and “eighteen hundred and froze-to-death!” Citizens were treated to a backward spring with record late snows (heavy snows fell in New England between June 6th and 11th), and an exceptionally cold summer featuring frosts in July and August. Finally, there was a drought during early fall that culminated in a killing frost well before the end of September. Crop failures were widespread, not only in New England, but also across Canada and Western Europe.

The apparent cause of this wintry anomaly was the eruption of the Tambora Volcano, half a world away in Indonesia in 1815. A tremendous cloud of fine ash and dust was ejected into the stratosphere, where it reduced the heat and light of the sun, causing 40°F temperatures in Georgia in July!

Ironwood, Michigan Daily Globe – 03/19/1925
NewspaperArchive.com

The Great Tri-State Tornado of 1925
This out of control monster tore through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana on March 18, creating what still remains today as the worst U.S. tornado disaster. It didn’t run out of steam for 220 miles, one of the longest paths for any twister. Its fury stretched up to a mile wide as it passed directly through nine towns, killing 695 people, including 234 in Murphysboro, Illinois and 126 in West Frankfort, Illinois. Close to 3,000 homes were flattened. By today’s standards the property damage would be astronomical, but even then it totaled $17 million.

Other horrific weather events:
The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900
September 8

Aftermath of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900
Aftermath of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane
Library of Congress

15 ft. tidal surge
6,000 people lost their lives
3,600 homes destroyed
$30 million in property damage

The Blizzard of 1993
a.k.a. “Superstorm ‘93”
March 13 — 14
17 in. of snow in Birmingham, AL
56 in. of snow in Mount LeConte, TN
318 people died
$3 – $6 billion in property damage

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.