May 31, 1889
May 31, 1985
May 31, 2002
Are you sensing a pattern here? May 31st has traditionally been a day of weather devastation in western Pennsylvania. Let me explain each of those dates.
May 31, 1889: The Johnstown Flood – The flood was the result of the failure of the South Fork Dam and resulted in a torrent of 4.8 billion gallons of water. The result was over 2,200 people dead and $17 million in damage.
May 31, 1985: Tornado Outbreak – There were at least 41 tornadoes and the death toll was 88. There were over 1,000 injuries, too. This is the 25th anniversary of this outbreak. It’s notable for our region because of the Moshannon State Forest tornado. The F4 tornado traveled over 70 miles and was over one-half a mile wide. For more details, right click and save target as on this link.
May 31, 2002: Kennywood Macroburst – I include this one because it hits home for me. A lot of people here go to Kennywood, too. It was an extremely volatile day and a macroburst hit Kennywood Park. I remember this well because my brother was at the park when this hit. He had to jump into a vendor’s booth and they shut the window. Here’s how the National Weather Service describes the day: