Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Weather & Climate

Weather History: December 27: Record temps, storms, tropics, snow & flooding

See also

Meteorological events that happened on December 27th:


A post Christmas storm in New York and Vermont produced record snow totals of 30 inches at Burlington, VT, and 39 inches at Montpelier, VT. A public emergency was declared in Vermont.


18.6 inches of snow fell during a winter storm at Norfolk, VA, establishing a single storm record for that location, 17.7 inches in 24 hours. Raleigh, NC picked up nearly 10 inches of snow. Snow was reported in northern Florida for the first time in 35 years.


A cold arctic air mass brought record cold from the Midwest to parts of the East. Locations that reported record low temperatures included: Rochester, MN: -30°, Waterloo, IA: -28°, Mobridge, SD: -19°, Dubuque, IA: -18°, Rockford, IL: -16°, Ste. St. Marie, MI: -15°-Tied, Mansfield, OH: -8°-Tied, Youngstown, OH: 0°, Akron, OH: -2° and Newark, NJ: 5°.


In northern Canada, the town of Resolute in the Nunavut Provence recorded their coldest December day as the temperature plunged to -50°.


Arctic high pressure built down across the Midwest bringing record cold to the southern Plains and parts of the East Coast. Locations reporting their coldest December temperatures on record included: Decorah, IA: -36°, Sparta, WI: -35°, Fayette, IA: -34°, Austin, MN: -33°, Trempealeau, WI: -33°, Elkader, IA: -31°, Osage, IA: -30°, Oelwein, IA: -28°, Guttenberg, IA: -27°, Lynxville, WI: -26°, Prairie du Chien, WI: -26° and Genoa, WI: -25°.

Locations that reported daily record low temperatures for the date included: Rochester, MN: -31°, Dubuque, IA: -21°, Caribou, ME: -20°, Rockford, IL: -19°, Columbus, OH: -14°, Williamsport, PA: -11°, Chicago, IL: -10°-Tied, Akron, OH: -9°, Syracuse, NY: -8°, Youngstown, OH: -4°, Dayton, OH: -4°-Tied, Allentown, PA: -1°-Tied, Bridgeport, CT: 2°, Wilmington, DE: 6°, New York (LaGuardia), NY: 10°, Paducah, KY: 12°, Wichita Falls, TX: 15° and San Angelo, TX: 18°.


Upper level high pressure across the southwest combined with surface high pressure across the Great Basin brought record high temperatures from parts of the northern & central Plains to the West Coast. Scottsbluff, NE recorded their warmest December day on record with 77°. Helena, MT tied their December record high with 64°.

Locations reporting daily record highs for the date included: Palm Springs, CA: 85°, Borrego Springs, CA: 85°, Yuma, AZ: 84°, Phoenix, AZ: 82°, El Paso, TX: 76°, Denver, CO: 75°, Pueblo, CO: 75°, Goodland, KS: 74°, North Platte, NE: 71°, Dodge City, KS: 71°, Las Vegas, NV: 70°, Idyllwild, CA: 70°, Victorville, CA: 70°, Billings, MT: 68°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 67°, Winnemucca, NV: 67°, Flagstaff, AZ: 67°, Cheyenne, WY: 66°, Sheridan, WY: 66°, Colorado Springs, CO: 65°, Reno, NV: 65°, Albuquerque, NM: 65°-Tied, Great Falls, MT: 63°, Pendleton, OR: 63°-Tied, Yakima, WA: 62°, Casper, WY: 61°, Portland, OR: 61°, Salem, OR: 61°, Havre, MT: 60°, Medford, OR: 60°, Rapid City, SD: 59°, Pocatello, ID: 59° (broke previous record by 12 degrees), Timber Lake, SD: 58°, Alamosa, CO: 58°, Olympia, WA: 58°, Astoria, OR: 58°-Tied, Missoula, MT: 56°, Spokane, WA: 55°, Pierre, SD: 54°, Glasgow, MT: 54°, Kalispell, MT: 53°, Quillayute, WA: 53° and Bismarck, ND: 48°-Tied.


A blizzard paralyzed parts of the Northern Plains. The southeast corner of South Dakota accumulated up to 18 inches of snow with winds gusting over 50 mph. The highest snow total occurred at Irene where 18 inches was measured. The storm resulted in hazardous travel conditions and in these conditions a 14 car pile occurred just east of Sioux Falls.

Snowfall amounts across southwest Minnesota were generally over 8 inches. The storm began as a hard freezing rain across northwest Iowa before it changed to snow. Sioux City piled up 10 inches in the ensuing blizzard. Winds gusted to 70 mph drifting snow to 6 to 10 feet deep in southwest Minnesota and snapping ice coated power lines and poles in Iowa. Some rural areas in northwest Iowa were left without power for up to three days.

More than 18 inches of rain fell during a 3-day rainstorm at Vinton, LA. The storm was reported to be the worst in Louisiana in 100 years. Widespread flooding caused as much as $200 million in damage. President Reagan visited the state and declared 10 parishes in northeastern Louisiana disaster areas.


The brutally cold arctic air mass that gripped most of the country finally moved off the Carolina Coast. There were a few record lows for the date including: Concord, NH: -8°, Atlantic City, NJ: 6°, Wallops Island, VA: 18°-Tied, Cape Hatteras, NC: 20°, Charleston, SC: 22°, Vero Beach, FL: 25°, Tampa, FL: 29°, Orlando, FL: 31° and Victoria, TX: 31°-Tied.

Also, a much less pronounced trough dug in across the northern Rockies to Washington State bringing a few record lows: Kalispell, MT: -20° and Spokane, WA: -4°.


Cold high pressure across the Pacific Northwest and across the Southeast brought cold temperatures including all of Florida. Key West, FL tied a December record low with 44°.

Locations reporting daily record low temperatures for the date included: Burns, OR: -11°, Boise, ID: -7°, Salem, OR: 17°, Columbus, GA: 23°, Daytona Beach, FL: 23°, Astoria, OR: 23°, Tampa, FL: 28°, Orlando, FL: 29° and Fort Myers, FL: 34°-Tied.


A winter storm produced snow and high winds in Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska. Denver, CO experienced its worst snowstorm in four years as high winds gusting to 46 mph created near blizzard conditions, whipping the 15 inch snow into drifts 5 feet high, and closing Stapleton Airport. Snowfall totals in the foothills southwest of Denver ranged up to 42 inches at Intercanyon. Blizzard conditions raged across southeastern Wyoming through the day, stranding 300 holiday travelers in the tiny town of Chugwater. Heavier snowfall totals included 22 inches at Elsmere, NE and 19 inches at La Grange, WY, 7.9 inches at Scottsbluff, NE and 7.2 inches at Cheyenne, WY..

Across Minnesota, freezing rain began during the morning before changing to heavy snow, which extended into the next day. The heaviest snowfall was across the high terrain of southwest Minnesota. In southern and eastern South Dakota, 6 to 12 inches of snow fell. Strong northwest winds of 20 to 40 mph hampered travel and snow removal. Snow drifts up to 6 feet deep were common. Across many areas of southern Minnesota, visibilities were reduced to zero due to blowing snow. Snowfall amounts in South Dakota included 12 inches in DeSmet; 10 inches in Wessington Springs and Madison; 9 inches in Huron; 8 inches in Pierre, Brookings, Mission and McCook County; 7 inches in Sioux Falls, Kadoka, Pine Ridge, and Martin. 8 inches also fell in Watertown and Highmore, with 7 inches at Bryant and 6 inches in Clear Lake.

Behind the storm an upper level trough brought record cold from parts of the southern Plains to southern California. Locations reporting record low temperatures for the date included: Roswell, NM: -3°, Clayton, NM: 1°-Tied, El Paso, TX: 14°, San Angelo, TX: 18°-Tied, Palm Springs, CA: 28°, Long Beach, CA: 34°, San Diego, CA: 37° and Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 38°.


Severe thunderstorms developing along a cold front in the south central U.S. spawned a dozen tornadoes in Mississippi between early afternoon and sunrise the following day. A tornado at Harperville, MS destroyed five chicken homes killing thousands of chickens. Strong thunderstorm winds gusted to 80 mph at Rolling Fork, MS.

Behind the front an upper level trough brought cold temperatures from the Rockies to the West Coast. Bishop, CA tied their all-time record low with -8°.

Locations reporting daily record low temperatures for the date included: Ely, NV: -22°, Burns, OR: -13°, Reno, NV: -4°, Big Bear Lake, CA: -2°, Salt Lake City, UT: 0°, Victorville, CA: 12°, Idyllwild, CA: 12°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 18°, Las Vegas, NV: 19°-Tied, Redding, CA: 23°, Borrego Springs, CA: 28° and Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 37°.


A deep upper level trough brought record cold to parts of the East. Many cities in the northeastern U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date including: Elkins, WV: -13°, Syracuse, NY: -11°, Rapid City, SD: -10°, Binghamton, NY: -6°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 1°, Islip, NY: 8°, Philadelphia, PA: 8°-Tied, New York (LaGuardia), NY: 9°, Wallops Island, VA: 14° and Jackson, KY: 17°. Watertown, NY was the cold spot in the nation with a morning low of -37°.


Dense fog developed across West and Southwest Florida during the predawn hours through late morning. Visibilities dropped to near zero at a few locations but consistently were reported at an eighth of a mile through mid morning. Patchy dense fog lingered along coastal waterways and bays of West Central Florida through late morning. At 11:20 am ET, motorists heading northbound on the Pinellas County side of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge descended from the center span in sunshine and unlimited visibility into a patch of dense fog near sea-level. A chain reaction of accidents occurred on the northbound lane followed by a similar chain reaction of accidents by rubberneckers in the southbound lane. In total, 54 vehicles were involved in the fog-related accident. Of the 54 vehicles, 38 were automobiles, 11 were pick-up trucks, and 5 were semi-tractor trailer trucks. One person was killed and 30 people were injured.


Damaging downslope winds formed in and near the Colorado Foothills. Peak wind gusts ranged from 70 to over 110 mph. Numerous trees and power lines were blown down. Some top peak gusts were 114 mph at Wondervu, 92 mph at Golden Gate Canyon, 88 mph at Coal Creek Canyon, and 79 mph near Conifer.

An unusual summer storm, packing winds of cyclone magnitude, struck the 115 sailboats of the famed Sydney to Hobart yacht race in Australia. Six sailors died and 55 had to be rescued in a heroic air and sea effort that included a night helicopter to pull people out of the water. Storm warnings had been issued for the race participants, but traditional pressure caused officials to allow the race to begin on time. Families of the victims blamed the Meteorologists and race officials for not intervening.

On this date through the 27th, severe gales lashed the United Kingdom. Worst affected was southern Scotland, northern England, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. Winds gusted to 109 mph at Malin Head in northwestern Eire, 106 mph at Belmullet also in northwestern Eire), 103 mph at Prestwick, southwestern Scotland and 100 mph at Capel Curig, north Wales.


Amarillo, TX was buried under 20 inches of snow in a 2-day snowstorm.


As yachts in the Sydney to Hobart Race left the Sydney Harbor, the beautiful skyline was filled with heavy smoke from the bushfires ringing the city. But worse conditions were ahead for the fleet as they sailed in the Bass Strait off of the coast of Australia. An extremely violent waterspout slammed into the fleet of yachts, knocking the favored Swedish maxi-racing yacht Nicorette on her side and driving 10 other boats out of the race.

Typhoon Vamei formed in the South China Sea, about 100 miles north of the Equator. Vamei is the first recorded tropical cyclone to develop within 1.5 degrees of latitude (or about 104 miles) of the equator.


An extended warm spell ended in Reykjavik, Iceland with the month's first frost. The first 25 days averaged 9 degrees above normal.


A major nor'easter buried the area of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Canada with as much as 21.3 inches of snow. The misery was compounded by winds gusting to 74 mph causing white-out conditions and road closures.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates recorded an unusual half inch of rain in a 3-day period where rain rarely falls. Local police reported 500 traffic accidents in 24 hours, including one fatality.


Strong storm winds hit the southern California coast. Gusts hit 54 mph at La Jolla, 52 mph at Torrey Pines and San Clemente Island, 51 mph at Pt. Loma, 49 mph at Huntington Beach, 46 mph at North Island and 40 mph at San Diego-Lindbergh Field. Numerous trees were downed, damaging several vehicles. The strong winds generated large surf. Highest sets were 10 to 16 feet. Surf was reported at 10 to12 feet with a three second period at Newport Beach.


A strong cold front pushed into an unseasonably warm air mass over central Illinois, causing severe thunderstorms with widespread wind damage. In Springfield, part of the roof was blown off a school, and 3 large barns and the grandstand were damaged at the state fairgrounds. In addition, heavy rain fell on partially frozen ground to cause flooding in a few areas.


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



  • Mt. Everest avalanche
    Disaster strikes Mt. Everest as at least 12 people were killed in an avalanche
    Watch Video
  • Most Earthlike planet discovered
    The Kepler telescope has discovered the most Earthlike, possibly habitable planet yet
    Space News
  • Easter crosses create debate
    Easter crosses spark a debate of separation of church and state in Ohio
  • Chelsea Clinton is preggers
    Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child
  • Stanley Cup playoffs
    The battle for Lord Stanley's Cup is on, don't miss a minute of playoff action
  • Ukraine discussed amongst U.S., E.U., Russia
    The U.S., E.U. and Russia agree on ways to diffuse the tension in Ukraine
    Watch Video

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!