March 30, 1962: Alabama Wind/Hail Storm

| March 29, 2009 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

Pictures on the front page of the Birmingham News on Friday, March 30, 1962 showed the Cuban trial of participants in the Bay of Pigs invasion attempt. A major story covered the Federal Government decision that it would cut off aid to segregated schools. The News reported this would cost Alabama $772,000 in Federal Aid. Locally, the Red Mountain Expressway was a hot story. Contracts were signed by the State Department of Transportation to begin construction on the much ballyhooed project.

The front page of the News carried a piece each day about why it was nice to live in Birmingham. Items that day included: Birmingham is a beautiful city; spring transforms the city into a floral celebration of azaleas, wisteria, redbuds, dogwoods, tulips and jonquils; Birmingham has rolling hills and beautiful Red Mountain and finally, the city boasts a 239 day growing season.

It was one of those beautifully mild spring mornings in Birmingham on that Friday. A cold front was approaching from the northwest and the weather forecast called for showers and slightly cooler conditions. It had been 75F the day before in the Magic City.

That front would trigger showers and storms that mid-afternoon that produced widespread hail and damaging winds across North and Central Alabama. Marble sized hail accumulated to a depth of 2 inches in Albertville in Marshall County. Heavy hail was reported in Cullman. The storms massed south of Birmingham and crossed over Shades and Red Mountain. Across the city, trees were blown down, carports were knocked over, signs damaged, windows knocked out and utility lines were downed. Hail whitened lawns.

At the Airport, 80 small planes and 2 military aircraft were damaged. One small plane was flipped upside down by the high winds. Estimates of damage at the Airport along topped $500,000.

The next morning, Florida’s deadliest single tornado would slash through Milton, killing 17 people.

– Bill Murray
Follow my weather history tweets on Twitter. I am wxhistorian.

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Bill Murray is the President of The Weather Factory. He is the site's official weather historian and a weekend forecaster. He also anchors the site's severe weather coverage. Bill Murray is the proud holder of National Weather Association Digital Seal #0001 @wxhistorian

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