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Weather History: December 14: Record temps, storms, snow, wind & flooding

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Meteorological events that happened on December 14th:


A mighty storm sent a high storm surge onto Holland, drowning a reported 50,000 people. In East Anglia, England, 500 lives were lost.


A rare frost was observed at the bay side in San Diego.


The temperature at Helena, MT plunged an unbelievable 79 degrees in 24 hours and 88 degrees in 34 hours from 63° to -25°. At Fairfield, MT, the mercury plummeted 84° in just 12 hours, going from 63° at noon to -21° at midnight, establishing the U.S. record for a 12-hour temperature fall.


Beginning on this date through the 17th, a relentless December snowstorm buried Buffalo, NY under 36.6 inches of snow, with unofficial totals south of the city ranging up to 70 inches.

Arctic high pressure built in across the west brining record lows to some locations from the Rockies to the West Coast including: Flagstaff, NV: -14°, Billings, MT: -13°, Casper, WY: -10°, Reno, NV: -5°, Victorville, CA: 7°, Las Vegas, NV: 16°, Portland, OR: 24°, Riverside, CA: 26°, Santa Ana, CA: 28°, Escondido, CA: 28°, San Francisco Airport, CA: 31° and Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 38°.


Trace of snow or sleet at or near Pensacola, Crestview, DeFuniak Springs, Quincy, Carrabelle, Tallahassee, St. Marks, Monticello, Madison, Mayo, Live Oak, Lake City, Glen St. Mary, and Hilliard. Frozen precipitation occurred before noon at most points, but occurred in the afternoon at Mayo and Lake City and near Hilliard. Temperatures were above freezing and snow or sleet melted as it fell.


Corona, NM received a record snowfall of 40 inches beginning on this date through the 16th.


A state record 38 inches of snow fell in 24 hours in Heber Springs, AZ as the state was in the grips of a snowstorm. Actually, two different storms, they occurred so close together that they were perceived as one. 86 inches of snow fell during the 9 day period at Flagstaff, AZ. The Navajo nation was especially hard hit. Residents were instructed to write distress signals in the snow using ashes from their fireplaces. Snow even fell in the southern deserts of Arizona.

The cold air following the initial front produced one of the coldest days on record on this day. It was the coldest day on record in Big Bear Lake, where the high temperature was 15°. Locations reporting record low temperatures for the date included:

Pocatello, ID: -7°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 10°, Olympia, WA: 15°, Fresno, CA: 21°, Santa Maria, CA: 21°, Quillayute, WA: 23°, Palm Springs, CA: 25°, Borrego Springs, CA: 31°, Long Beach, CA: 33°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 38°-Tied and Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 39°.


A tornado which began to the immediate south of Republic, MO cut a swath through the city of Republic and moved northeast to pass over the weather service office located at the Springfield airport. The entire terminal building received considerable damage. The wind gust recorder reached past the maximum of 115 mph and topped out at 120 mph.


A southwesterly flow ahead of a cold front brought record high temperatures from the Missouri Valley to the Great Lakes and upper Ohio Valley including: St. Louis, MO: 75°, Louisville, KY: 73°, Columbia, MO: 70°, Springfield, MO: 69°, Evansville, IN: 69°, Cincinnati, OH: 69°, Springfield, IL: 68°, Indianapolis, IN: 67°, South Bend, IN: 67° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Chicago, IL: 66°, Peoria, IL: 66°, Fort Wayne, IN: 66°, Detroit, MI: 65°, Flint, MI: 63° (broke previous record by 14 degrees), Akron, OH: 63°, Youngstown, OH: 62°, Moline, IL: 61°, Alpena, MI: 61° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Milwaukee, WI: 60°, Lansing, MI: 60°, Madison, WI: 59°, Grand Rapids, MI: 59°, Rockford, IL: 58°, Muskegon, MI: 57°, Green Bay, WI: 55°, Houghton Lake, MI: 55° and Ste. St. Marie, MI: 53°.

A line of severe thunderstorms with a strong cold front rumbled through southwest Iowa producing damaging winds. Farms throughout the area received extensive damage to buildings, trees and machinery. Some livestock were killed or injured.

Behind the front Havre, MT and Sheridan, WY recorded record low temperatures for the date with -24° and -11° respectively.


A powerful storm spread heavy snow from the Southern Plains to the Mid-Mississippi Valley, and produced severe thunderstorms in the Lower Mississippi Valley. An F3 tornado hit West Memphis, AR, killing 6 people and injuring 200. The tornado passed within 1200 feet of the Southland Dog Track which was packed with nearly 7,000 people. The tornado left 1,500 people homeless, and left many residents without electricity. The twister crossed the Mississippi River into Shelby County, Tennessee.

Kansas City, MO was blanketed with 10.8 inches of snow, a 24 hour record for December, and snowfall totals in the Oklahoma panhandle ranged up to 14 inches. 12 to 18 inches of snow fell from the Texas Panhandle, into northern Oklahoma, and to southern Kansas. Strong winds, gusting to 63 mph at Austin TX, ushered arctic cold into the Great Plains, and caused considerable blowing and drifting of snow.

Ahead of the storm, Jackson, MS tied a daily record high with 81°.

Strong Santa Ana winds prevailed along the base of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains. In San Bernardino, winds gusted to 60 mph. Gusts up to 80 mph were reported around San Bernardino. One was injured when a tree fell on a truck. 80 power poles were blown down within a half mile stretch in Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga. Downed tree limbs damaged cars, homes and gardens. Power poles and freeway signs were damaged. A parked helicopter was blown down a hillside in Altadena. Avocado crop damage from winds hit Fallbrook. Over most of San Diego County the dry air led to low temperatures where the wind was calm. It was 13° in Mt. Laguna, 18° in Campo, 23° in Valley Center, 28° in El Cajon, 31° in Del Mar and 33° in Chula Vista. Other locations reporting record lows for the date included: Clayton, NM: -3°, El Paso, TX: 8° and Lubbock, TX: 8°.


Blowing snow was reported in western Kansas, as snow and gusty winds plagued the Central Rockies and Central Plains. Colorado Springs, CO reported 13 inches of snow. Low pressure in Wisconsin brought heavy snow to the Lake Superior snowbelt area, with 22 inches reported at Marquette, MI.

Meanwhile, a few locations across the west reported record high temperatures for the date including: Borrego Springs, CA: 84°, Winslow, AZ: 64°-Tied and Redding, CA: 62°.


High winds and heavy snow prevailed from Montana to Colorado. Snowfall totals in Wyoming ranged up to 20 inches at Burgess Junction with 50 inches reported from the 13th through the 16th. Sheridan, WY recorded their snowiest December day with 12.4 inches and 20.6 inches total from the 13th through this date. Other two day totals from the 13th through this day included: Clearmont, MT: 18 inches, Leiter, MT: 13 inches, Priro, MT: 9 inches and 4.4 inches at Billings, MT. Wind gusts in Colorado reached 87 mph south of the town of Rollinsville.

Strong northwesterly winds continued to produce heavy snow squalls in the Great Lakes Region. Totals in northeastern Lower Michigan ranged up to 29 inches at Hubbard Lake, with 28 inches reported at Posen. Two day totals in northeastern Wisconsin ranged up to 30 inches.

A few locations reported record lows for the date including: Concordia, KS: -10° and Redding, CA: 27° followed by a record high of 71°.


High winds plagued the Colorado Rockies behind a strong Pacific cold front. Boulder, CO reported the highest reported wind gust of 120 mph. Trees were uprooted and structural damage occurred including one business losing their roof. Two tractor trailers were blown over south of Boulder while another rolled over southeast of Golden. Several vehicles were trapped in a blinding dust storm near Broomfield. Golden, CO reported a gust of 97 mph. Gusts were generally between 70 and 100 mph. Denver reported a 51 mph gust.


0.05 of an inch of rain fell at Albany, NY bringing their total for the year to 47.20 inches, making it their wettest year ever.

Santa Ana winds produced a gust of 111 mph at Fremont Canyon and a gust of 92 mph at Rialto. Two were killed from flying debris.


A surprise snowstorm dumped as much as 10 inches of snow on parts of the Deep South. The storm was Mississippi's biggest December snowstorm on record. 4 inches of snow fell across parts of Alabama.

While parts of the south were shivering, portions of the often frigid and snowy Midwest basked in warmer weather. While it was 35° with sleet at Birmingham, AL, it was 66° at Rapid City, SD.


A fierce wind storm blacked out 175,000 customers in Southwestern British Columbia, Canada; their worst power failure in years. Winds observed at Vancouver International Airport reach 50 mph and peaked at 89 mph on the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

The temperature reached 54° on Jan Mayen Island in the Norwegian Sea; a December record for this Arctic Island located near latitude 70 degrees north.


The Norwegian car transporter ship Tricolor, carrying 2,862 Volvos, BMWs and SAABs collided with a ship off the coast of Dunkirk, France in thick fog. The car transporters cargo was worth an estimated $64.4 million dollars. The wreck remained submerged just below the surface. It was struck by another ship on the 16th and again reportedly by another vessel on the 31st.


A line of severe thunderstorms dropped 7.28 inches of rain on downtown Houston, TX.

During morning rush hour, commuters in Montreal, Quebec Canada seen snow fall at the phenomenal rate of 3.1 inches an hour. Over 11 hours, the city received a record-breaking 16.1 inches of snow.


A low pressure system moved out of the Rockies, curving through the southern Plains northeast into Upper Mississippi River Valley. Snow spread out ahead of the system, with heavy snows falling across central and northern Minnesota, and some portions of northern Wisconsin. Accumulations in excess of 10 inches occurred in some locations, with blizzard conditions also very prevalent. With the front's passage, temperatures dropped 20 degrees in 2 hours in parts of Wisconsin. A temperature change of over 40 degrees from the morning on this date to the next morning was common. The cold was made more significant as the winds increased to 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph behind the front. These strong winds, coupled with the plummeting temperatures, created dangerous wind chills of -20° to -35°.

Several locations behind the storm reported record low temperatures for the date including: Havre, MT: -33°, Great Falls, MT: -25°: Tied, Casper, WY: -19°, Billings, MT: -18°, Denver, CO: -18°, Sheridan, WY: -16° and Portland, OR: 23°-Tied.


Check out my colleague Weather Examiners:

Baltimore, MD area weather with Tony Pann at

Orlando, FL area weather with Dr. Steve Oliver at

Houston, TX area weather & the weekly Weather America Newsletter with Larry Cosgrove at

NOAA Headlines Examiner with Dr. Steve Oliver and IPR at



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