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Weather History: December 22: Record temps, storms, ice, snow, wind & flooding

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Meteorological events that happened on December 22nd:

Snow blindness is a temporary loss of sight caused by bright sunlight reflecting off of a snow surface. The blindness usually lasts from several days to a week. Sometimes people afflicted with snow blindness will have trouble distinguishing between colors and may see everything as being colored red. Usually snow blindness will improve if a person rests their eyes and stays indoors. Sunglasses or goggles are usually sufficient to prevent the affliction.


The second of three December storms hit the northeastern U.S. The storm produced 25 inches of snow at Gettysburg, PA, and gales in New England, but only produced light snow along the coast.


Holiday travel was paralyzed over extreme northeastern Kansas, and adjacent parts of Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. Kansas City, MO reported 16.6 inches. The storm produced drifts up to 10 feet high.


A dome of upper level low pressure from the northern Plains into southern Canada combined with a deep trough pushed a cold front down to Tampico, Mexico bringing many record low temperatures for a large part of the country.

The mercury plunged to -51° at Wisdom, MT. Wind chill readings were as low as -100° over a large part of North Dakota. The high temperature at Minneapolis, MN struggled to reach -12°, a record for the date.

Many locations from the West Coast to the Ohio Valley reported record low temperatures for the date including: West Yellowstone, MT: -43°, Williston, ND: -38°, Valentine, NE: -37°, Virginia City, MT: -35°, North Platte, NE: -34°, Casper, WY: -33°, Lander, WY: -31°, Bismarck, ND: -30°, Sheridan, WY: -29°, Helena, MT: -28°, Missoula, MT: -27°, Lincoln, NE: -27° (broke previous record by 14 degrees), Sioux Falls, SD: -26°, Rapid City, SD: -25°, Pocatello, ID: -25°, Kalispell, MT: -25°, St. Cloud, MN: -24°, Omaha, NE: -24°, Shelby, MT: -24°, La Crosse, WI: -23°, Waterloo, IA: -23°, Duluth, MN: -22°, Grand Island, NE: -22°, Norfolk, NE: -22°, Cheyenne, WY: -21°, Kansas City, MO: -21°, Billings, MT: -20°, Minneapolis, MN: -20°, Dubuque, IA: -19°, Sioux City, IA: -18°, Rockford, IL: -18°, Springfield, IL: -18°, Madison, WI: -17°, Colorado Springs, CO: -17°, Des Moines, IA: -17°, Goodland, KS: -17°, Topeka, KS: -17°, Green Bay, WI: -16°, Concordia, KS: -16°, Spokane, WA: -15°, Pendleton, OR: -15°, Boise, ID: -15°, Burns, OR: -13°, Lewiston, ID: -13° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), South Bend, IN: -13°, Marquette, MI: -12°, Columbia, MO: -12°, Clayton, NM: -12°, Yakima, WA: -10°, Wichita, KS: -9°, Springfield, MO: -8°, Amarillo, TX: -7°, Toledo, OH: -6°, Fort Wayne, IN: -6°-Tied, St. Louis, MO: -5°, Detroit, MI: -4°, Olympia, WA: -3°, Oklahoma City, OK: -3°, Tulsa, OK: -2°, Wichita Falls, TX: 1°, Lubbock, TX: 1°, Abilene, TX: 2°, Fort Smith, AR: 2°, San Angelo, TX: 5°, Dallas (DFW), TX: 5°, Dallas (Love Field), TX: 5°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 8°, Roswell, NM: 9°, Quillayute, WA: 11°, Austin, TX: 12°, Salem, OR: 12°, Little Rock, AR: 12°, Seattle, WA: 14°, Portland, OR: 14°, Astoria, OR: 15°, Shreveport, LA: 15°, Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 16°, San Antonio, TX: 17°, Del Rio, TX: 19°, Victoria, TX: 20°, Houston, TX: 20° and Galveston, TX: 24°.


The first day of winter was a relatively tranquil one for much of the nation, but brought a winter storm in the Central Rockies. The storm produced 40 inches of snow at the top of the Pomerelle Ski Resort, south of Burley, ID, their heaviest snow on record.


Strong winds prevailed in the foothills of Wyoming and Colorado. Winds gusted to 123 mph southwest of Fort Collins, CO, and reached 141 mph at the summit of Mount Evans.

An ice storm paralyzed parts of Upper Michigan during the day. The freezing rain left roads around Marquette, MI blocked by cars and semi- trucks.


A 1052 millibar (31.07 inHg) area of arctic high pressure built down across the Plains pushing a cold front into Mexico and bringing many record low temperatures across much of the country from the Rockies eastward. A total of 137 cities across the central and eastern U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date.

Morning lows of -27° at Goodland, KS established their all-time record. They also broke their previous daily record by 10 degrees and Kansas City, MO tied their all-time record low with -23°.

Locations reporting December record lows included: Valentine, NE and Fort Wayne, IN set their all-time December record lows with -39° and -18° respectively.

Scottsbluff, NE set their coldest December temperature, and their 2nd coldest temperature ever recorded, with a bitterly cold low of -42°. Scottsbluff also set their lowest daily high temperature on record with a high of only -13°.

Morning lows included -60° at Rochford, SD and -50° at Recluse, WY. Locations reporting daily record low temperatures for the date included: Busby, MT: -52°, Chinook, MT: -50°, Broadus & Hardin, MT: -47°, Hysham, MT: -46°, Havre, MT: -45°, Valentine, MT: -45°, Forsyth, MT: -44°, Fort Assiniboine, MT: -44°, Grass Range, MT: -37°, Roundup, MT: -36°, Stanford, MT: -36°, Sheridan, WY: -35°, North Platte, NE: -34°-Tied, Columbus, MT: -32°, Bismarck, ND: -32°, Joliet, MT: -31°, Norfolk, NE: -30°, Rapid City, SD: -29°, Cheyenne, WY: -28°, Huron, SD: -28°-Tied, Concordia, KS: -26° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Billings, MT: -26°, Grand Island, NE: -26°, Sioux Falls, SD: -26°-Tied, Omaha, NE: -25°, Livingston, MT: -25°, Sioux City, IA: -24°, Indianapolis, IN: -23° (broke previous record by 14 degrees), Peoria, IL: -23° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Topeka, KS: -22°, Duluth, MN: -22°-Tied, Dodge City, KS: -21°, Des Moines, IA: -20°, Columbia, MO: -20°, Dayton, OH: -20° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Cincinnati, OH: -20° (broke previous record by 12 degrees), Elkins, WV: -19°, Rockford, IL: -19°, Toledo, OH: -19° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Denver, CO: -18°, Fort Wayne, IN: -18° (broke previous record by 12 degrees), Springfield, IL: -18°-Tied, Columbus, OH: -17° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Mansfield, OH: -17°, Wichita, KS: -16°, St. Louis, MO: -16° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Akron, OH: -16°, Evansville, IN: -15° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Louisville, KY: -15°, Springfield, MO: -15°, Cleveland, OH: -15°, Pueblo, CO: -15°-Tied, Beckley, WV: -13°, Jackson, KY: -13°, Syracuse, NY: -13°, South Bend, IN: -13°-Tied, Pittsburgh, PA: -12° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Youngstown, OH: -12°, Huntington, WV: -11°, Lexington, KY: -11°, Grand Rapids, MI: -11°, Charleston, WV: -10°, Nashville, TN: -10° (broke previous record by 15 degrees), Paducah, KY: -10°, Detroit, MI: -9°, Amarillo, TX: -8°, Flint, MI: -7°-Tied, Tulsa, OK: -6°, Wichita Falls, TX: -4°, Memphis, TN: -4° (broke previous record by 16 degrees), Oklahoma City, OK: -4°, Binghamton, NY: -4°, Huntsville, AL: -3° (broke previous record by 14 degrees), Lubbock, TX: -2°, Abilene, TX: -2°, Oak Ridge, TN: -2°, Tupelo, MS: -1°, Avoca, PA: -1°-Tied, Roanoke, VA: 0°, Bristol, TN: 1°, Fort Smith, AR: 1°, San Angelo, TX: 2°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 2°, Knoxville, TN: 2°, Little Rock, AR: 2° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Dallas (DFW), TX: 3°, Lynchburg, VA: 4°, Baltimore, MD: 4°-Tied, Midland-Odessa, TX: 4°, Chattanooga, TN: 4°, Birmingham, AL: 4°, Asheville, NC: 4°-Tied, Wilmington, DE: 5°, Dallas (Love Field), TX: 5°-Tied, Philadelphia, PA: 6°, Bridgeport, CT: 6°, Wallops Island, VA: 7°, Jackson, MS: 7°, Greensboro, NC: 7°, Newark, NJ: 7°, Meridian, MS: 8°, Roswell, NM: 8°, New York (LaGuardia), NY: 8°, Islip, NY: 9°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 9°, Shreveport, LA: 10°, Montgomery, AL: 11°, Atlanta, GA: 11°-Tied, Norfolk, VA: 12°, Austin, TX: 12°-Tied, Houston, TX: 13°, San Antonio, TX: 13°, Mobile, AL: 13°, Baton Rouge, LA: 13°, New Orleans, LA: 15°, Victoria, TX: 16°, Del Rio, TX: 16°, Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX: 16°, Lake Charles, LA: 16° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 16°-Tied, Pensacola, FL: 18°, Galveston, TX: 19°, Charleston, SC: 19°, Corpus Christi, TX: 20°, Cape Hatteras, NC: 22° and Brownsville, TX: 23°.

A rapid temperature rise brought by chinook winds spiked the temperature at Cut Bank, MT by 74 degrees. After a shivering morning low of -34° the afternoon high is a relatively balmy 40°.


A deep upper level trough combined with arctic high pressure brought record cold from the Northern Plains to the West Coast. Wind chills in parts of North Dakota dropped as low as -80°.

Locations reporting all-time record lows included: Worland, WY: -50°, Spring Valley State Park in Lincoln County, Nevada: -38°, Winnemucca, NV: -37° (broke previous daily record by 25 degrees), Denver, CO: -25°-Tied, Sacramento, CA: 18° and Bishop, CA: -8°-Tied.

Cheyenne, WY and Dodge City, KS equaled December record lows with -28° and -21° respectively.

Locations reporting daily record lows included: Wisdom, MT: -52°, Lincoln Ranger Station, MT: -48°, Butte, MT: -44°, Chester, MT: -44°, Boulder, MT: -42°, Conrad, MT: -40°, Townsend, MT: -37°, White Sulphur Springs, MT: -37°, Helena, MT: -35°, Lander, WY: -35°, Miles City, MT: -34°, Elko, NV: -33°, Cut Bank, MT: -32°, Lewistown, MT: -32°, Ely, NV: -29° (broke previous record by 14 degrees), Valier, MT: -29°, Aberdeen, SD: -28°, Burns, OR: -28° (broke previous record by 15 degrees), Missoula, MT: -28°, Cheyenne, WY: -28°-Tied, Billings, MT: -26°-Tied, Boise, ID: -25° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Pocatello, ID: -25°-Tied, Kalispell, MT: -25°-Tied, Colorado Springs, CO: -24°, Pueblo, CO: -23°, Grand Junction, CO: -16°, Reno, NV: -13° (broke previous record by 12 degrees), Clayton, NM: -12°-Tied, Salt Lake City, UT: -10°, Bishop, CA: -8°, Medford, OR: 0° (broke previous record by 16 degrees), Eugene, OR: 4°, Salem, OR: 7°, Las Vegas, NV: 12°, Portland, OR: 13°, Stockton, CA: 17°, Sacramento, CA: 18°, Fresno, CA: 19°, Bakersfield, CA: 20°, Redding, CA: 20°, Santa Maria, CA: 21°, Eureka, CA: 22°, San Francisco Airport, CA: 27°, Long Beach, CA: 28° and Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 35°-Tied.


5 inches of snow fell in just 20 minutes at Turin, NY. The town would be buried under 45 inches of snow during the lake effect snow event. Boonville, NY recorded 31 inches over a two day period.


A major Pacific storm lashed the western U.S. over a three day period, producing tremendous snowfalls in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. The Boreal Ski Area in Nevada was buried under 102 inches of new snow. 100 inches was recorded at the Alpine Ski Area in California, Truckee, California checked in with 72 inches, and 20 inches was measured at Reno, Nevada on the lee side of the mountains. The Kirkwood Ski Resort in California recorded 96 inches of snow in just 36 hours.


Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC dropped to 29° for a morning low for their first freezing temperature of the season. This set a new record for its latest first freezing temperature breaking the previous record of 12/14/1980. This also was the first time the location had not recorded a freezing temperature during the autumn season.


Heavy rains produced flash flooding at Teresopolis, Brazil about 56 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. A resulting mudslide was responsible for 9 deaths and 50 injuries.


As much as a foot of snow accumulated across the Yorkshire Moors in England.


Tremendous snows occurred in the Ohio Valley. The following cities set new records for their greatest snowstorm ever: Evansville, IN: 22.3 inches, Dayton, OH: 16.4 inches and Paducah, KY 14.2 inches. Other big snowfall totals were 31 inches at Liberty, IN, 28 inches at Buena Vista, IN, 24 inches at Greenville, OH, and 23 inches at Mansfield, OH.


A fast moving snowstorm across the Midwest and Ohio Valley becomes the most significant snowstorm on record for southern sections of Illinois. Snowfall records are set at Carmi: 18 inches, McLeansboro: 14 inches and Carbondale: 12 inches.

A freak winter lightning strike splintered a tree and knocked out power to 1,800 customers in Saanich, Greater Victoria British Columbia Canada.


Hurricane force winds from a major winter storm lashed the Maritimes leaves about 30,000 homes and businesses without electricity in Nova Scotia, as well as some 8,000 power customers in New Brunswick and hundreds of others on Prince Edward Island without power. The winter storm generated a 100 mph wind gust at Cape Breton and high storm surge along Newfoundland's south coast.


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

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