1979 in the United States

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Events from the year 1979 in the United States.


Federal Government










  • August 6 – The 5.7 Mw Coyote Lake earthquake affected the South Bay and Central Coast areas of California with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong), causing 16 injuries and $500,000 in damage.
  • August 9 – Raymond Washington, co-founder of the Crips, today one of the largest, most notorious gangs in the United States, is shot and killed 5 months after his arrest for quadruple murder (his killers have not yet been identified).
  • August 10 – Michael Jackson releases his first breakthrough album Off the Wall. It sells 7 million copies in the United States alone, making it a 7x platinum album.
  • August 29 – A national referendum is held in which Somali voters approve a new liberal constitution, promulgated by President Siad Barre to placate the United States.


  • September 1 – The U.S. Pioneer 11 becomes the first spacecraft to visit Saturn, when it passes the planet at a distance of 21,000 km.
  • September 12 – Hurricane Frederic makes landfall at 10:00 p.m. on Alabama's Gulf Coast.
  • September 23 – The largest anti-nuclear demonstration to date was held in New York City, when almost 200,000 people attended.[4]





December 1, 1978 to February 28, 1979

  • This is the coldest winter over the contiguous US since at least 1895 with a mean temperature of 26.61 °F or −2.99 °C as against an 1895/1896 to 1973/1974 seasonal mean of 31.94 °F or −0.03 °C.[7] Except for normally frigid upstate Maine, all of the United States was below average for the winter, an occurrence previously seen only in 1898/1899 and 1909/1910.[8]
  • Both the contiguous US winter mean maximum temperature at 36.73 °F or 2.63 °C (1895/1896 to 1973/1974 mean 42.44 °F or 5.80 °C)[9] and the minimum temperature at 16.51 °F or −8.61 °C (1895/1896 to 1973/1974 mean 21.43 °F or −5.87 °C)[10] are the coldest since at least 1895




See also


  1. ^ For comparison the contiguous US has had only one month drier than February 1979 in Alaska from coast to coast, namely October 1952 with only 0.54 inches or 13.7 millimetres.


  1. ^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Contiguous U.S. Average Temperature, January
  2. ^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Contiguous U.S. Maximum Temperature, January
  3. ^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Alaska Precipitation: February
  4. ^ Herman, Robin (September 24, 1979). "Nearly 200,000 Rally to Protest Nuclear Energy". The New York Times. p. B1.
  5. ^ False Alarms on the Nuclear Front
  6. ^ "1.5 billion in aid OK'd for Chrysler". Chicago Tribune. December 21, 1979.
  7. ^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Contiguous US Average Temperature: December to February
  8. ^ Wagner, A. James; ‘The Circulation and Weather of 1979 – Another Record Winter’; Weatherwise, 33(1) (January 1980); pp. 4-12
  9. ^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Contiguous US Maximum Temperature: December to February
  10. ^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Contiguous US Minimum Temperature: December to February

External links