Special Report

20 Shattered Weather Records

Charles Dudley Warner once said that the weather is “a matter about which a great deal is said and very little done.” People are at the mercy of the weather. They can adapt to cold or rain or extreme heat, but nature can often remind us that it is still the most powerful force on the planet.

Across the scientific community, the year 1880 is generally recognized as the point when scientific records began to meet the rigorous standards by which data is evaluated to this day. Since then, many of the records for most powerful storm and most extreme temperature have been broken and re-broken. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed existing data to determine some weather records that shattered the previous record — some of which may never be broken.

There’s a good chance that many of the most extreme weather events on the planet have never been officially recorded. Throughout thousands of years of human history, people have only developed the tools and methods needed to accurately track the weather records relatively recently.

Of course, the modern age of humanity makes up a tiny fraction of the Earth’s history, so many of the greatest storms, snow falls, and heat waves ever have likely been lost to history. There are many anecdotal reports of massive hailstones or huge downpours of rain from many corners of the globe. But since some these events were never officially verified by any scientific body, they are not eligible for any sort of official record.

Climate change is predicted to cause such weather extremes that many of these records will likely be shattered in the near future. Scientists believe that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are having a drastic effect on the world’s climate. This could disrupt the natural cycles of the world’s weather, causing greater extremes in heat, cold, and storms like tornadoes and hurricanes.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed worldwide weather records from a variety of sources, including the World Meteorological Association, to determine records in extreme weather as well as the previous record the new one broke.

Click here to see 20 shattered weather records.