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Weather History: December 24: Record temps, storms, wind, snow & tornadoes

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Meteorological events that happened on December 24th:

1796

A famous cold day was felt at Cairo, IL where the temperature fell to -8° and in Kentucky where the mercury fell to -13°. The Ohio and Mississippi Rivers were frozen.

1836

An intense cold wave drove the temperature down nearly 40 degrees in 10 hours at Fort Snelling, MN to -28° by Christmas morning, one degree shy of 1822's record.

1868

A severe freeze occurred at Jacksonville, FL when the temperature dropped to 20°.

1872

Extreme cold gripped the Upper Midwest. Downtown Chicago, IL reported an all-time record low of -23°, which stood until 12/24/1983 and Minneapolis, MN plunged to -38°. The afternoon high at Minneapolis struggled to make it to -17°.

1879

It was a frigid Christmas Eve at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada as the temperature fell to -54°.

1927

A Christmas Eve Blizzard buried Findon, West Sussex, United Kingdom driven by gale force winds. The deep and drifting snow cut off the town. 100 men were employed to remove the great snowfall from roads.

1955

It felt anything like the eve of Christmas and within the first few days of winter as much of the southern Plains, deep south to the Tennessee Valley reported record highs. Records for the month of December included: Waco, TX: 91°, Abilene, TX: 89°, Dallas (Love Field), TX: 89° (broke previous daily record by 13 degrees), Dodge City, KS: 86° (broke previous daily record by 20 degrees), Oklahoma City, OK: 86° (broke previous daily record by 17 degrees), Wichita, KS: 83° (broke previous record by 20 degrees), Tulsa, OK: 80°-Tied (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Little Rock, AR: 80°-Tied,

Daily records for the date included: Del Rio, TX: 89°, Dallas (DFW), TX: 88°, San Angelo, TX: 87°, Wichita Falls, TX: 87°, Austin, TX: 82°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 82°, Houston, TX: 82°-Tied, Amarillo, TX: 81° (broke previous record by 12 degrees), Lubbock, TX: 80°, Jackson, MS: 80°, Fort Smith, AR: 80°, Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 80°-Tied, New Orleans, LA: 79°, Roswell, NM: 78°, Meridian, MS: 78°, Tupelo, MS: 78°, Montgomery, AL: 78°, Clayton, NM: 77°, Goodland, KS: 77° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Pueblo, CO: 76°, Memphis, TN: 76°, Birmingham, AL: 74°, Springfield, MO: 74°, Huntsville, AL: 73°, El Paso, TX: 72°, Chattanooga, TN: 72°, Atlanta, GA: 71°-Tied, Colorado Springs, CO: 70°, Denver, CO: 70°, Oak Ridge, TN: 70°, Huntington, WV: 70°-Tied, Bristol, TN: 69°, Columbia, MO: 69°, Beckley, WV: 67°, Kansas City, MO: 66°, Scottsbluff, NE: 65°, Grand Junction, CO: 64° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Cheyenne, WY: 60°, Alamosa, CO: 58° and Casper, WY: 52°.

1962

A band of precipitation over northern Scotland turned to snow, giving Glasgow, Scotland its first white Christmas in 24 years.

1963

The temperature fell to -13° at Memphis, TN, setting the all-time record low temperature for the city. This came only two days after Memphis had received its third heaviest snowfall on record with 14.3 inches.

1972

Queensland in Australia recorded one of its hottest days on record when the high temperature at Birdsville reached 118.4°.

1982

The "Blizzard of '82" blasted eastern Colorado with 18 to 34 inches of snow. Akron was buried under 28 inches of snow. Denver recorded 23.6 inches of snow in 24 hours to set a new all-time 24 hour snowfall record. Winds gusting to 60 mph whipped the snow into 4 to 8 foot drifts. All highways leading out of Denver were closed and Stapleton International Airport was closed for 33 consecutive hours as visibilities fell to a quarter of a mile or less for 17 consecutive hours. Laramie, WY picked up 18.2 inches of snow.

During an unseasonal period of severe weather, thunderstorms over Oregon County, Missouri produced an F4 tornado. The tornado kept up F4 intensity for 43 miles before dropping to F2 intensity and continuing its progress for an additional 33 miles. During its 35 minute life span the twister killed one person, injured 8 others and did over $10 million dollars in damage.

An F2 tornado touched down in Christian County, Missouri and cut a 300 yard wide 16 mile long path of damage. One person was injured and $5 million dollars of damage was reported.

1983

It was the coldest Christmas Eve on modern record in the United States. Arctic air covered almost 90% of the country with temperatures well below freezing and, in many areas of the north, well below zero. On Christmas day 125 record lows were set in 24 different states. Chicago, IL recorded its' coldest temperature ever with a reading of -25°. Miles City, MT established a new U.S. record high barometric pressure of 31.42 inHg or 1063.9 millibars. Sioux Falls, SD led the nation with record cold as the city stayed below zero for 8 consecutive days. Oklahoma City, OK set their highest barometric pressure reading with 31.14 inHg.

Miles City, MT set their all-time record low and coldest high temperature with -38° and -25° respectively. Sheridan, WY also recorded their all-time coldest temperature of -37°.

Locations reporting their lowest December temperature: Alma, WI: -32°, Billings, MT: -32° (broke previous record by 18 degrees), Waukon, IA: -27°, Dubuque, IA: -25°, Chicago, IL: -25°, Rockford, IL: -24° and Youngstown, OH: -12°-Tied (broke previous daily record by 12 degrees).

Locations reporting daily record low temperatures for the date included: Chester, MT: -52°, Wisdom, MT: -52°, Havre, MT: -50°, West Yellowstone, MT: -48°, Bozeman, MT: -46°, Chinook, MT: -46°, Conrad, MT: -46°, White Sulphur Springs, MT: -46°, Fort Assinniboine, MT: -44°, Lincoln Ranger Station, MT: -44°, Shelby, MT: -43°, Great Falls, MT: -42° (broke previous record by 18 degrees), Lewistown, MT: -42°, Livingston, MT: -41°, Cut Bank, MT: -40°, Butte, MT: -40°, Boulder, MT: -40°, Grass Range, MT: -39°, Del Bonita, MT: -38°, Virginia City, MT: -38°, Glasgow, MT: -37°, Helena, MT: -37°, Townsend, MT: -37°, Choteau, MT: -35°, Valier, MT: -35°, Casper, WY: -33° (broke previous record by 20 degrees), Kalispell, MT: -30° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Ennis, MT: -30°, Timber Lake, SD: -28°, Watertown, SD: -28°, St. Cloud, MN: -28°, Mobridge, SD: -26°, Wheaton, SD: -26°, Waterloo, IA: -26°, Rochester, MN: -26°, Rapid City, SD: -26°, Sisseton, SD: -25°, Valentine, NE: -25°, Cheyenne, WY: -25°, Aberdeen, SD: -23°, Sioux Falls, SD: -23°, Green Bay, WI: -21°, Scottsbluff, NE: -21°, Des Moines, IA: -19°, Moline, IL: -19° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Grand Island, NE: -19°, Omaha, NE: -19°, Sioux City, IA: -18°, Peoria, IL: -18°, Lincoln, NE: -18°, Indianapolis, IN: -17°, Kansas City, MO: -17° (broke previous record by 14 degrees), Springfield, IL: -16°, Fort Wayne, IN: -16°, Columbia, MO: -16° (broke previous record by 14 degrees), South Bend, IN: -15° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Akron, OH: -15°, Dayton, OH: -15°, Toledo, OH: -15°, Topeka, KS: -14°, Mansfield, OH: -14°, Lewiston, ID: -13°, Concordia, KS: -13°, St. Louis, MO: -12°, Cincinnati, OH: -12°, Columbus, OH: -12°, Marquette, MI: -11°, Pittsburgh, PA: -11°, Beckley, WV: -11°, Lexington, KY: -10°, Jackson, KY: -10°, Wichita, KS: -10°, Springfield, MO: -10°, Cleveland, OH: -10°, Elkins, WV: -10°, Detroit, MI: -9°, Pocatello, ID: -8°, Louisville, KY: -8°, Huntington, WV: -7° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Paducah, KY: -6°, Charleston, WV: -6°, Wilmington, DE: -5°, Asheville, NC: -5°, Nashville, TN: -4°, Erie, PA: -3°, Bristol, TN: -3°, Amarillo, TX: -3°, Tulsa, OK: -2°, Knoxville, TN: -2°, Oak Ridge, TN: -2°, Atlantic City, NJ: -1°, Allentown, PA: -1°, Harrisburg, PA: -1°, Trenton, NJ: -1°, Fort Smith, AR: 0°, Oklahoma City, OK: 0°, Lubbock, TX: 0°, Roanoke, VA: 0°, Yakima, WA: 0°, Lynchburg, VA: 1°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 1°, Huntsville, AL: 2°, Chattanooga, TN: 2° (Broke previous record by 10 degrees), Atlanta, GA: 3°, Newark, NJ: 3°, Philadelphia, PA: 3°, Birmingham, AL: 4°, Baltimore, MD: 4°, Tupelo, MS: 4°, Greensboro, NC: 4°, New York (LaGuardia Airport), NY: 4°, Abilene, TX: 4°, Washington, D.C.: 5°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 5° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Dallas, TX: 5°, Charlotte, NC: 6° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Raleigh, NC: 6°, New York (Central Park, NY), NY: 6°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 6°, San Angelo, TX: 6°, Wichita Falls, TX: 6°, Richmond, VA: 6°, Athens, GA: 7°, Dallas (DFW), TX: 7°, Bridgeport, CT: 8°, Shreveport, LA: 8°, Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: 8°, Jackson, MS: 9°, Wallops Island, VA: 9°, Montgomery, AL: 10°, Macon, GA: 10°, Meridian, MS: 10°, Norfolk, VA: 10°, Augusta, GA: 11°, Columbus, GA: 11°, Wilmington, NC: 11° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Columbia, SC: 12°, Austin, TX: 12°, Waco, TX: 12°, Mobile, AL: 13°, Baton Rouge, LA: 13°, Cape Hatteras, NC: 13° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Houston, TX: 14°, Olympia, WA: 14°, Pensacola, FL: 15°, Portland, OR: 15°, Del Rio, TX: 15°, San Antonio, TX: 15°, Savannah, GA: 16°, Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 16°, Lake Charles, LA: 17°, New Orleans, LA: 17°, Galveston, TX: 17°, Victoria, TX: 17°, Astoria, OR: 18°, Jacksonville, FL: 18°, Charleston, SC: 18°, Quillayute, WA: 18°, Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX: 19°, Tallahassee, FL: 20°, Corpus Christi, TX: 20°, Brownsville, TX: 24°, Daytona, Beach, FL: 30°-Tied and Orlando, FL: 35°.

If the brutal dangerous cold wasn’t enough, 1983 the Northern Plains was in the grip of a ferocious ground blizzard. Over the stretch beginning on the 18th through the 25th temperatures were rarely above zero across the area and strong winds made conditions especially dangerous. The worst conditions occurred from the 23rd through the 25th as light snow and loose surface snow combined with strong northwesterly winds to produce whiteout conditions for extended periods of time.

The ground blizzard paralyzed most areas, completely blocking most roads with drifts 4 to 5 feet high. One drift in southwest Minnesota climbed to 15 feet deep and took five hours to clear with a large snowplow. With sub-zero temperatures and winds gusting up to 60 mph, at times, wind chills were from -60° to -100°. The intense and long- lived cold spell burst gas lines, caused propane gas to solidify, and froze water pipes and tanks.

The last of five consecutive days that the temperature remained below zero occurred on this day for Chadron, Alliance and Scottsbluff, NE. Cheyenne, WY warmed above zero in the late evening on this day due to Chinook winds, and ended their longest recorded streak of below zero temperatures at 120 hours.

1986

A severe ice storm hit the Ottawa Valley in Ontario and southwestern Quebec Canada on Christmas Eve, forcing many residents to barbecue their holiday turkey as power was lost for 25% of the residents. 1.18 inches of freezing rain accumulated in about 14 hours.

1987

A 4-day siege of heavy rain began in the south central U.S. Flooding claimed 4 lives and caused millions of dollars property damage. Western Tennessee was drenched with up to 14 inches of rain in two days. Total rainfall exceeded 12 inches around Memphis TN, and the heavy rain and subsequent flooding added insult to injury to victims of the West Memphis tornado on the 14th of the month. Little Rock, AR experienced their wettest December day on record with 5.01 inches of rain. West Little Rock, AR reported 10.20 inches of rain in 24 hours.

1988

Early morning thunderstorms developing along a cold front spawned a powerful F4 tornado at Franklin, TN which killed one person, injured 7 others, and caused $8 million dollars damage.

Another in a series of winter storms in the western U.S. produced 20 inches of snow at Blue Canyon, CA in 24 hours. Bishop, CA received 14 inches of snow in just 6 hours, and Redding, CA, which averages 3 inches of snow per year, was blanketed with 10 inches.

1989

Many cities in the south central and eastern U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date. The high of just 45° at Miami, FL was an all-time record for that location. This smashed their previous record for the date by 20 degrees.

Vero Beach, FL set their all-time record December low with 23° while Key West, FL tied their December record low with 44°.

Locations reporting daily record lows included: Elkins, WV: -22° (broke previous record by 12 degrees), Concord, NH: -20°, Mt. Pocono, PA: -20°, Burlington, VT: -18°, Caribou, ME: -18°-Tied, Albany, NY: -15°, Syracuse, NY: -14°, Portland, ME: -13°, Binghamton, NY: -11°, Lexington, KY: -10°-Tied, Evansville, IN: -9°, Hartford, CT: -9°, Avoca, PA: -9°, Huntington, WV: -9°, Williamsport, PA: -9°-Tied, Allentown, PA: -5°, Bristol, TN: -3°-Tied, Reading, PA: -1°, Roanoke, VA: 0°-Tied, Huntsville, AL: 1°, Tupelo, MS: 3°, Birmingham, AL: 4°-Tied, Bridgeport, CT: 6°, Jackson, MS: 6°, Meridian, MS: 6°, Montgomery, AL: 7°, Shreveport, LA: 8°-Tied, Mobile, AL: 9°, Columbus, GA: 9, Georgetown, DE: 9, Baton Rouge, LA: 10, Macon, GA: 10-Tied, Pensacola, FL: 11°, Houston, TX: 11°, Lake Charles, LA: 12°, Islip, NY: 12°, Tallahassee, FL: 13°, Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX: 13°, Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 14°, New Orleans, LA: 15°, Corpus Christi, TX: 15°, Gainesville, FL: 16°, Charleston, SC: 16°, Victoria, TX: 16°, Savannah, GA: 16°-Tied, Brownsville, TX: 18°, Daytona, Beach, FL: 20° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Orlando, FL: 22° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Tampa, FL: 24°, Ft. Myers, FL: 27°, West Palm Beach, FL: 28° and Miami, FL: 31°.

Record low temperatures in the southeast were the result of a heavy Christmas Eve to Christmas day snowstorm that dumped up to 20 inches of snow in Eastern North Carolina giving many locations their first white Christmas ever. Cape Hatteras, NC was in the second day of their greatest snowstorm on record with 13.3 inches. This storm was one of those coastal lows that actually had an "eye" show in IR satellite imagery like a tropical system. Temperatures were in the teens on the coast but just 50 miles off shore were they in the middle 50s.

1990

A deep upper level trough continued to bring dangerous record lows from the Rockies to the West Coast. Many locations reported record low temperatures for the date including: Cache Valley, UT: -44°, Roosevelt, UT: -34°, Alamosa, CO: -33°, Milford, UT: -33°, Winnemucca, NV: -27°-Tied, Ely, NV: -22°, Pocatello, ID: -21° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Boise, ID: -20° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Pueblo, CO: -17°, Burns, OR: -17°, Reno, NV: -11° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Albuquerque, NM: -2°, Yakima, WA: -1°, Bishop, CA: 3°, Medford, OR: 10°, Salem, OR: 10°, Olympia, WA: 11°, Las Vegas, NV: 14°, Portland, OR: 15°-Tied, Sacramento, CA: 19°, Stockton, CA: 19°, Fresno, CA: 20°, Santa Maria, CA: 23°-Tied, Eureka, CA: 27°, Redding, CA: 27°, San Francisco Airport, CA: 29° and Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 35°-Tied.

1993

Light snow at Sioux Falls, SD pushed the melted precipitation for the year for the city to 36.03 inches. This set a new all-time record for yearly precipitation for the location.

1996

Southerly flow out ahead of a cold front brought a few record high temperatures to parts of the Northeast. Central Park in New York City soared to 63°, tying the record high temperature for the date. Other record highs included: Boston, MA: 61°, Hartford, CT: 59°-Tied, Milton, MA: 58° and Worcester, MA: 57°-Tied.

2001

Buffalo, NY had gone through the entire month of November without any snow, the very first time in history that had occurred. But the city would make up for it on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as 25.2 inches of snow fell in just 24 hours, the 3rd highest 24 hour snowfall for the city. The new record would fall just two days later when 29.6 inches of snow fell between 7pm on the 26th and 7pm on the 27th. 82.3 inches of snow fell during a 5-day period, almost as much as the city normally receives in an entire winter season.

2004

The residents of Victoria, TX awoke to their first white Christmas in 86 years when south Texas received a rare blanket of snow that reached 13 inches.

Several locations from the upper Midwest to the Ohio Valley reported record low temperatures for the date including: International Falls, MN: -35°, Valentine, MT: -25°, Marquette, MI: -18°, Alpena, MI: -12°-Tied, Evansville, IN: -10° and Paducah, KY: -6°-Tied.

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