Snail darterAug. 12, 1955: Back-to-back hurricanes drench the eastern U.S. in heavy rains. Hurricane Connie makes landfall on North Carolina's Outer Banks, then running up Chesapeake Bay and inland toward the Great Lakes. Five days later, Hurricane Diane arrived at Cape Fear, N.C. Each storm brought more than a foot of rainfall to some areas, and the flooding, rather than winds and tides, was largely responsible for more than 200 deaths.

Aug. 12, 1973: University of Tennessee biologist David Etnier discovers the snail darter (at right), a small endangered fish, living in Tennessee's Tellico River. The find touches off an immense controversy, pitting the fish's fate against the proposed construction of a Tennessee Valley Authority dam on the river.

Aug. 12, 1992: The U.S., Canada and Mexico announce the completion of negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). U.S. government statements assert that the pact will protect the environment, and "create hundreds of thousands of jobs" in all three countries.

Aug. 12, 2011:  Austin, Texas completes a 27-day streak of temperatures above 100F, the longest such streak ever for the Texas capital.

Aug. 12, 2012:  A reactor at Connecticut’s Millstone nuclear complex shuts down when its cooling water source becomes too warm.  While other reactors on the Tennessee River have shut down in the past due to too-warm cooling water, this is the first time that a reactor using seawater has to come offline.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.