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Weather History: December 5: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, snow & wind

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Meteorological events that happened on December 5th:

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.


A big snowstorm in the southeastern U.S. produced 11 inches at Montgomery, AL, 18.5 inches at Rome, GA, and 22.5 inches at Knoxville, TN.


A major winter storm over the Rockies produced blizzard conditions across Denver, CO. Snow fell for 40 consecutive hours measuring 37.6 inches. Winds gusted as high as 47 mph creating near white out conditions and drifts up to 5 feet high. Transportation was brought to a grinding halt for as much as a week. Structural damage occurred as roofs collapsed under the weight of the snow. The snow was remarkably moist for the time of year measuring 3.44 inches of liquid. The Foothills received even more snow. Georgetown received 71 inches. Amounts in Wyoming totaled: 24 inches at Chugwater, 23.1 inches near Centennial and 21 inches at Cheyenne.


Locations from Florida, parts of the Great Lakes and New England recorded late autumn warmth. Enosburg Falls soared to 72° to establish the state of Vermont’s high temperature record for the month of December. Other record high temperatures for the date included: West Palm Beach, FL: 90°, Fort Myers, FL: 86°, Key West, FL: 86°, Miami, FL: 86°, Burlington, VT: 67°, Concord, NH: 59°, Alpena, MI: 56° and Ste. St. Marie, MI: 51°.


Canadian high pressure built in behind a cold front bringing chilly temperatures from parts of the Rockies to the West Coast. Record low temperatures for the date included: Bishop, CA: 6°, Winslow, AZ: 9°, Salt Lake City, UT: 11°, Las Vegas, NV: 18°, Santa Ana, CA: 28°, Riverside, CA: 28°, Escondido, CA: 31°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 37°, San Diego, CA: 38°, San Diego, CA: 38° and Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 39°.


38 people were killed and 270 others injured as an F4 tornado struck Vicksburg, MS. This would be the last killer tornado in the very terrible tornado season of 1953. This was the most damage since the 47 days of continuous shelling the town received in the Civil War. Damage totaled $25 million dollars.


Victorville, CA hit 85°, their highest temperature on record for December.

Other record highs temperatures for the date included: Yuma, AZ: 84°, New Orleans, LA: 82°, Pensacola, FL: 79°, El Paso, TX: 75°-Tied, Idyllwild, CA: 73°, Fresno, CA: 72°, Bishop, CA: 72°, Winslow, AZ: 71°, Albuquerque, NM: 68°, Reno, NV: 67° and Alamosa, CO: 59-Tied.


High surf from an intense storm near Alaska swept rocks and seawater into pavilions at Onekahakaha Beach near Hilo, HI. Water reached 150 feet above the high-tide mark at Napili Beach and swept into the swimming pool and ground floor of a hotel there.


A deep upper level low over central Canada created an incredible dip in the northern branch of the jet stream off the West Coast across the southwest out in to the Plains bringing a surge of brutally cold arctic air from the Plains to the West Coast. Record low temperatures for the date included: Glasgow, MT: -29°, Williston, ND: -28°, Helena, MT: -28°, Pocatello, ID: -25°, Aberdeen, SD: -22°, Rapid City, SD: -22° (broke previous record by 15 degrees), Great Falls, MT: -19°, Missoula, MT: -18°, Fargo, ND: -17°, Colorado Springs, CO: -16°, Billings, MT: -16°, Denver, CO: -15° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Pueblo, CO: -15°, Valentine, NE: -14°, Ely, NV: -14°, Burns, OR: -14°, North Platte, NE: -13°, Reno, NV: -12°, (broke previous record by 21 degrees), Winnemucca, NV: -10°, Kalispell, MT: -8°, Boise, ID: -6°, Salt Lake City, UT: -3° (broke previous record by 14 degrees), Clayton, NM: -2°, Pendleton, OR: 1° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Amarillo, TX: 4°, Grand Junction, CO: 8°-Tied, Medford, OR: 18°, Eugene, OR: 20°, Portland, OR: 20°, Salem, OR: 20°, Astoria, OR: 24°, Quillayute, WA: 25°, Sacramento, CA: 26°, Eureka, CA: 30°, San Francisco Airport, CA: 31° and Long Beach, CA: 37°.


An F3 tornado struck Tulsa, OK during the late afternoon hours injuring 38 people and destroyed numerous structures, including homes and businesses.


Upper level high pressure off the West Coast brought record high temperatures to parts of the west including: Santa Ana, CA: 89°, Palm Springs, CA: 89°, Long Beach, CA: 89°, Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 89°, Escondido, CA: 87°, Borrego Springs, CA: 85°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 85°, Sacramento, CA: 69°, San Francisco Airport, CA: 69°, Stockton, CA: 69° and St. Cloud, MN: 52°.


An explosively deepening ocean storm southeast of New England caught forecasters off guard and unloaded heavy snow over New England. By the time it was all over on the 6th, Boston, MA was buried under 12.9 inches of snow. Some places south and west of Boston and in Rhode Island had over 2 feet.


An unseasonal upper level ridge off the southeast coast was responsible for record high temperatures from the Ohio Valley to the East Coast including: Orlando, FL: 84°, Jacksonville, FL: 82°, Augusta, GA: 78°, Norfolk, VA: 78°, Richmond, VA: 77°, Cape Hatteras, NC: 77°, Wilmington, NC: 77°, Columbia, SC: 77°, Savannah, GA: 77°-Tied, Raleigh, NC: 76°, Charleston, WV: 75°, Charlotte, NC: 73°, Atlantic City, NJ: 73°, Lynchburg, VA: 73°, Huntington, WV: 73°, Washington, D.C.: 72°, Wilmington, DE: 72°, Greensboro, NC: 72°, Baltimore, MD: 71°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 71°, Elkins, WV: 71°, Harrisburg, PA: 70°, Philadelphia, PA: 70°, Bristol, TN: 70°, Rochester, NY: 68°, Erie, PA: 68°, Jackson, KY: 67°, Buffalo, NY: 67°, Syracuse, NY: 67°, Cincinnati, OH: 67°, Cleveland, OH: 67°, Allentown, PA: 67°, Wallops Island, VA: 67°, Akron, OH: 66°, Avoca, PA: 65°, Williamsport, PA: 65°, Fort Wayne, IN: 64°, South Bend, IN: 64°, Binghamton, NY: 64°, Grand Rapids, MI: 63°, Toledo, OH: 63°, Flint, MI: 62°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 62°, Mansfield, OH: 62°-Tied, Muskegon, MI: 60°, Detroit, MI: 60°-Tied and Houghton Lake, MI: 55°.


A heavy snowfall, which began on the 4th, came to an end over central and northern Oklahoma. 6.1 inches fell at Oklahoma City, which set a new record for the heaviest snowfall for so early in the season. 10 inches of snow was measured at Skiatook.

In Florida, Daytona, Beach, FL set a record high with 84°.


Heavy snow blanketed parts of the north central U.S., and freezing drizzle produced a coat of ice up to a half inch thick in northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. Snowfall totals ranged up to 7 inches at Grand Rapids, MN, and a foot at Seney, MI. High winds in the north central U.S. gusted to 63 mph at Pellston, MI, and reached 70 mph at Makinaw Bridge, MI.

A few locations across the Plains recorded record high temperatures for the date including: Roswell, NM: 77°, Amarillo, TX: 74° and Rapid City, SD: 67°.


As a trough prevailed across the Northeast, a ridge across the Plains to the West Coast brought some record high temperatures including: Redding, CA: 68°, Norfolk, NE: 65°, Sheridan, WY: 62°-Tied, Huron, SD: 61°, Bismarck, ND: 60°-Tied and Quillayute, WA: 54°.


A warm Pacific storm system brought high winds and heavy rain to western Washington and Oregon. Up to 10 inches of rain deluged the western slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State over a 3-day period, and 500 people were evacuated due to flooding along the Skagit River. Up to 5 inches of rain drenched northwest Oregon, and winds gusted to 71 mph at Netarts.

A few locations from the Plains to the West Coast reported record high temperatures for the date including: Tulsa, OK: 77°-Tied, Grand Island, NE: 69°, Lincoln, NE: 69°, Concordia, KS: 69°-Tied, Flagstaff, AZ: 67°, Big Bear Lake, CA: 65° and Medford, OR: 63°.


A major storm dropped 10 inches of snow on Sydney, Nova Scotia Canada as winds, gusting to 73 mph knocked out power.


The first of two major storms brought extremely heavy snows to interior New England. Over a foot of snow fell from Northeastern Pennsylvania to Western Massachusetts through the 6th.


An abnormally strong upper level and surface high pressure ridge extended from off the southeast coast to the Gulf of Mexico bringing widespread record high temperatures from the Plains & Midwest to the East Coast. Locations setting their all-time December high temperature record included: La Crosse, WI: 67°, Winona, MN: 65° and New Hampton, IA: 63°.

Locations reporting daily record high temperatures included: Orlando, FL: 84°-Tied, Houston, TX: 83°, Montgomery, AL: 83°-Tied, Baton Rouge, LA: 82°-Tied, Baton Rouge, LA: 82°-Tied, Meridian, MS: 81°, Columbia, SC: 81°, Augusta, GA: 80°, Wilmington, NC: 80°, Charleston, SC: 80°, Birmingham, AL: 79°, Huntsville, AL: 79°, Savannah, GA: 79°, Mobile, AL: 79°-Tied, Fort Smith, AR: 79°-Tied, Pensacola, FL: 79°-Tied, Tupelo, MS: 78°, Galveston, TX: 78°, Chattanooga, TN: 77°, Raleigh, NC: 76°-Tied, Washington, D.C.: 75°, Charlotte, NC: 75°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 75°, Atlanta, GA: 75°-Tied, Columbia, MO: 74°, Springfield, MO: 74°, Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: 73°, St. Louis, MO: 72°, Asheville, NC: 72°, Harrisburg, PA: 72°, Greensboro, NC: 72°-Tied, Paducah, KY: 71°, Baltimore, MD: 71°-Tied, Evansville, IN: 68°, Erie, PA: 68°-Tied, Indianapolis, IN: 66°, Toledo, OH: 66°, Detroit, MI: 65°, Lansing, MI: 65°, Waterloo, IA: 64°-Tied, Flint, MI: 63°, Mansfield, OH: 63°, New York (Central Park), NY: 63°-Tied, Dubuque, IA: 62°, Madison, WI: 62°, Milwaukee, WI: 61°, Green Bay, WI: 56° and Minneapolis, MN: 54°.


A fierce winter storm with winds of up to 109 mph battered Denmark leaving 6 people dead and many injured. Damage was estimated at more than $134.5 million. The sea level rose more than 16.5 feet above normal on the Danish west coast. This was the worst storm in Denmark this century.


A strong low pressure system moved northeast from southeast South Dakota into northeast Minnesota. At the same time, a strong cold front moved east across the Upper Mississippi Valley. Strong thunderstorms developed along the cold front. The winds gusted to 50 mph at New Lisbon, WI and a severe thunderstorm produced nickel size hail just south of Eyota, MN. Strong southerly winds ahead of this cold front helped temperatures to climb into the lower and middle 60s across the region. Many record high temperatures were established for the date. Locations setting record high temperatures for December included: Holland, MI: 70°, Flint, MI: 70°, Grand Rapids, MI: 69°, Lansing, MI: 69°, Sparta, WI: 66° and Prairie du Chien, WI: 66°.

Locations reporting daily record high temperatures for the date included: Richmond, VA: 78°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 77°, Charleston, WV: 77°, Jackson, KY: 76°, Lynchburg, VA: 76°, Roanoke, VA: 76°, Huntington, WV: 76°, Raleigh, NC: 76°-Tied, Washington, D.C.: 75°, Baltimore, MD: 75°, Kansas City, MO: 74°, Bristol, TN: 74°, Elkins, WV: 74°, Topeka, KS: 73°, Wichita, KS: 73°, Louisville, KY: 73°, Harrisburg, PA: 73°, Pittsburgh, PA: 73°, Lexington, KY: 72°, Newark, NJ: 72°, Erie, PA: 72°, Wallops Island, VA: 72°, St. Louis, MO: 72°-Tied, Greensboro, NC: 72°-Tied, Nashville, TN: 72°-Tied, Cleveland, OH: 71°, Youngstown, OH: 71°, Philadelphia, PA: 71°, Evansville, IN: 70°, Indianapolis, IN: 70°, South Bend, IN: 70°, Islip, NY: 70°, New York (Central Park), NY: 70°, Cincinnati, OH: 70°, Columbus, OH: 70°, Toledo, OH: 70°, Oak Ridge, TN: 70°-Tied, Moline, IL: 69°, New York (LaGuardia), NY: 69°, Syracuse, NY: 69°, Akron, OH: 69°, Allentown, PA: 69°, Hartford, CT: 68°, Chicago, IL: 68°, Dayton, OH: 68°, Mansfield, OH: 68°, Providence, RI: 68°, Milwaukee, WI: 68°, Waterloo, IA: 67°, Peoria, IL: 67°, Rockford, IL: 67°, Fort Wayne, IN: 67°, Detroit, MI: 67°, Avoca, PA: 67°, Boston, MA: 66°, Omaha, NE: 66°, Williamsport, PA: 66°, Milton , MA: 65°, Alpena, MI: 65°, Albany, NY: 65°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 65°, Dubuque, IA: 64°, Houghton Lake, MI: 64°, Green Bay, WI: 64°, Madison, WI: 64°, Muskegon, MI: 63°, Minneapolis, MN: 63°, Bridgeport, CT: 62°, Ste. St. Marie, MI: 62° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Concord, NH: 62°, Worcester, MA: 61°, Portland, ME: 60° and Marquette, MI: 52°-Tied.


An early season winter storm brought snow to the I-95 corridor of the Mid-Atlantic. Snowfall totals included: 7.4 inches at Baltimore (BWI Airport), MD, 7 inches at Philadelphia, PA, 6.2 inches at Dulles Airport in Sterling, VA and 6.1 inches at Reagan-National Airport in Washington, D.C.

A major winter storm brought significant snow and ice accumulations to all of southern Illinois, beginning the previous morning and continuing into the morning on this date. The precipitation was mostly snow, except in counties bordering the Ohio River, where the snow changed to an extended period of freezing rain. Ice accumulations were around a quarter of an inch from Cairo to Metropolis and Golconda. Snow accumulations across southern Illinois were generally 6 to 8 inches. Travel was heavily impacted as numerous vehicle accidents occurred.


On this date through the 7th, the greatest Nor'easter snowstorm in recent memory struck New York and New England. 14 inches fell in Central Park in New York City. Providence, RI recorded its greatest single snowfall with 17 inches. The greatest accumulation buried Pinkham Notch at Mount Washington, NH with 47 inches.


The morning temperature at Grand Forks bottomed out at -19°, shattering the previous record low set in 1972. It is the third time in five days that Grand Forks has set a low temperature record.

Surf with highest sets to 18 feet struck the coast of San Diego County, 10 feet in Orange County on this day through the 6th. Highway 101 in Cardiff was inundated with minor flooding. The Imperial Beach Pier sustained minor damage.


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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