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Weather History: December 6: Record temps, storms, wind, snow & tropics

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Meteorological events that happened on December 6th:


A great unprecedented snowstorm hit the southern range of the Appalachian Mountains dumping 42 inches of snow in three days. 33 inches fell at Asheville, NC with twice as much in the mountain passes and 25 inches fell at Rome, GA. Montgomery, AL received a record 11 inches and Columbia, SC picked up 11 inches of snow and 1 to 2 inches of sleet.


A winter storm brought heavy snow to parts of the northern Plains and Midwest. Duluth, MN set their 24-hour snowfall record with 25.4 inches. Otherwise snowfall amounts generally ranged from 6 to 12 inches.


A storm over the eastern U.S. produced high winds which toppled the national Christmas tree at the White House in Washington, D.C.


Barcelona, Spain reported their wettest day on record as 7.72 inches of rain fell.


Most of the country was under the influence of a massive deep upper level trough while Florida escaped the deep freeze with record high temperatures courtesy of an upper level ridge extending from off the southeast coast into the northern Caribbean.

Some of the coldest December temperatures in history was recorded with some low temperatures well into the 20’s and 30’s below zero. Record low temperatures for the date included: Roundup, MT: -35° (also occurring two days later), Broadus, MT: -32°, Havre, MT: -31°, Medicene Bow, WY: -31°, Helena, MT: -30°, Williston, ND: -30°, Aberdeen, SD: -30°, Rochester, MN: -28°, Bismarck, ND: -28°, Sheridan, WY: -28° (broke previous record by 15 degrees), Miles City, MT: -27°, St. Cloud, MN: -27°, Fargo, ND: -26°, Lander, WY: -26° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Grand Forks, ND: -26°, Great Falls, MT: -25°, Huron, SD: -24°, Casper, WY: -24°, Valentine, NE: -23° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Sioux Falls, SD: -22°, Duluth, MN: -20°, Billings, MT: -20°, Rapid City, SD: -20°, Minneapolis, MN: -19°, Pueblo, CO: -19° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Cheyenne, WY: -19°, Scottsbluff, NE: -18° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Denver, CO: -17° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), La Crosse, WI: -16°, Colorado Springs, CO: -15° (broke previous record by 12 degrees), North Platte, NE: -15°, Green Bay, WI: -15°, Waterloo, IA: -12°, Pocatello, ID: -12°, Kalispell, MT: -12°, Madison, WI: -11°, Missoula, MT: -9°, Dubuque, IA: -8°, Milwaukee, WI: -7°, Dodge City, KS: -6°, Marquette, MI: -6°, Clayton, NM: -6°, Amarillo, TX: -1°, Chicago, IL: 0°, Peoria, IL: 0°, Boise, ID: 7°, Muskegon, MI: 8°, Eugene, OR: 15°, Astoria, OR: 16° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Quillayute, WA: 20°, Portland, OR: 22°-Tied and San Francisco Airport, CA: 37°-Tied.

Escaping the relentless cold, locations in Florida reported record high temperatures for the date including: West Palm Beach, FL: 87°, Fort Myers, FL: 86°, Orlando, FL: 86°, Daytona Beach, FL: 85° and Tampa, FL: 83°-Tied.


High pressure off the East Coast brought record high temperatures from parts of the Ohio Valley to the East Coast including: Orlando, FL: 86°-Tied, Cape Hatteras, NC: 77°, Newark, NJ: 72°, Boston, MA: 70° (followed by a record high December minimum of 57°), Harrisburg, PA: 70°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 70°, Wilmington, DE: 69°, New York (Central Park), NY: 68°, Syracuse, NY: 68°, Allentown, PA: 68°, Philadelphia, PA: 68°, Hartford, CT: 67°, Worcester, MA: 67°-Tied, Binghamton, NY: 65°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 65°, Avoca, PA: 65°-Tied, Concord, NH: 63°, Albany, NY: 63°, Burlington, VT: 63°, Portland, ME: 61° and Caribou, ME: 54°.


Another in a series of storms brought high winds and heavy rain to the northwestern U.S., with heavy snow in some of the higher elevations. In northern California, Crescent City was drenched with 2.58 inches of rain, and winds gusted to 90 mph. Up to 14 inches of snow blanketed the mountains of northern California, and snow and high winds created blizzard conditions around Lake Tahoe, NV.


The morning low at Bismarck, ND was 11 degrees warmer than the low of 25° at Meridian, MS. During the afternoon, several cities from the Lakes to the northwestern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date, including: Redding, CA: 67°, Big Bear Lake, CA: 62°, Portland, OR: 60°, Salem, OR: 60°-Tied, Alpena, MI: 57°, Madison, WI: 53° and Ste. St. Marie, MI: 48°-Tied.


Heavy snow blanketed the Central Rocky Mountain Region. Totals in the southern foothills of Colorado ranged up to 17 inches at Rye. Arctic air invaded the north central U.S. International Falls, MN was the cold spot in the nation with a morning low of -9°, and temperatures in northern Minnesota hovered near zero throughout the day. Islip, NY plunges to a record low of 18°.

A few locations out west and one in Kentucky reported record high temperatures for the date. Borrego Springs, CA tied their December record high with 87°. Other record highs included: Redding, CA: 69°, Sacramento, CA: 68°, Stockton, CA: 68° and Jackson, KY: 65°.


An intense winter storm blasted areas of the south-central Plains to the Midwest bringing everything from ice to heavy snow. A significant ice storm struck much of southwest Kansas coating surfaces with one half to 1 inch of ice. A tremendous amount of tree damage occurred. According to the electric companies there were communities without power for several hours. One traffic fatality was blamed on icy roads.

A heavy snow and ice event covered most of the northern two-thirds of Iowa. Much of the southern third of Iowa received freezing rain and sleet bringing down many trees and tree limbs as well as numerous power lines. At one time or another, nearly 300,000 residents lost power, some for as long as four days. To the north of the ice, heavy snow fell with 6 to 12 inches common. Dubuque and Ames received nearly a foot. Boone and Shelby received about 11 inches, Little Sioux had 10 inches and the town of Oelwein recorded 6 inches. Damage was well into the millions of dollars across the state of Iowa from this event.


A tightly wrapped 990 millibar (29.23 inHg) low dumped unexpected heavy wet snow over eastern Pennsylvania, southeastern New York, and southern New England. Snowfall totals included 19 inches at Tobyhanna, PA, 18 inches at Cornwall, CT, 17.6 inches at Worthington, MA, and 16 inches at East Jewett, NY. Winds gusted to 75 mph at Nantucket, MA and to nearly 100 mph offshore from a ship on Georges Bank.


The heaviest rains in 70 years struck Orange County, California with 4 to 8 inches of rainfall starting on this day and ending on 12.7. Ten inches was recorded at Mission Viejo and over 4 inches at Corona. Heavy downpours also hit the Victor Valley. Widespread flooding resulted in Orange County, along with mud slides and coastal erosion in Laguna Beach. Flooding also occurred in Corona and several communities of Victor Valley. Mud flowed through Adelanto.


This was one of the wildest weather days in recent memory with just about all weather imaginable.

One of the worst cold season derechoes ever recorded hit northern Indiana and northwest Ohio. Strong storms damaged a house in Elkhart, blew down trees and power lines in Markle, and spread 70 to 100 mph winds throughout northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. 82 mph winds were observed at Grissom Air Reserve Base, where the roof was ripped off of a warehouse. Widespread damage to structures, trees and power lines were reported.

A tremendous upper level ridge brought widespread record highs from the Plains to the East Coast. The following locations in Wisconsin recorded their highest December temperatures: Platteville, WI: 64°, Richland Center, WI: 64° and Mauston, WI: 63°.

Other daily record highs included: Brownsville, TX: 85°-Tied, Tampa, FL: 83°-Tied, Augusta, GA: 82°, Columbia, SC: 82°, Mobile, AL: 81°, Wilmington, NC: 81°, Charleston, SC: 81°, Richmond, VA: 81°, New Orleans, LA: 81°-Tied, Shreveport, LA: 81°-Tied, Savannah, GA: 80°, Raleigh, NC: 80°, Roanoke, VA: 80°, Galveston, TX: 79°, Pensacola, FL: 79°, Norfolk, VA: 79°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 79°, Tupelo, MS: 79°-Tied, Birmingham, AL: 78°, Washington, D.C.: 78°, Charlotte, NC: 78°, Lynchburg, VA: 78°, Athens, GA: 77°, Baltimore, MD: 77°, Chattanooga, TN: 77°, Little Rock, AR: 77°-Tied, Macon, GA: 77°-Tied, Huntsville, AL: 76°, Greensboro, NC: 76°, Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: 76°, Nashville, TN: 76°, Memphis, TN: 76°-Tied, Charleston, WV: 75°, Huntington, WV: 75°-Tied, Atlanta, GA: 74°, Knoxville, TN: 74°, Oak Ridge, TN: 74°, Evansville, IN: 73°, Indianapolis, IN: 73°, Jackson, KY: 73°, Cincinnati, OH: 73°, Columbus, OH: 73°, Harrisburg, PA: 73°, Asheville, NC: 73°-Tied, Lexington, KY: 72°, Dayton, OH: 72°, Louisville, KY: 72°-Tied, Paducah, KY: 72°-Tied, St. Louis, MO: 72°-Tied, Cleveland, OH: 70°, Pittsburgh, PA: 70°, Elkins, WV: 70°-Tied, Fort Wayne, IN: 69°, Detroit, MI: 69°, Atlantic City, NJ: 69°, Buffalo, NY: 69°, Syracuse, NY: 69°, Toledo, OH: 69°, Youngstown, OH: 69°, Erie, PA: 69°, Philadelphia, PA: 69°, Williamsport, PA: 69°, Rochester, NY: 68°, Islip, NY: 67°, New York (LaGuardia), NY: 67°, Akron, OH: 67°, Mansfield, OH: 67°-Tied, Flint, MI: 66°, Avoca, PA: 66°, South Bend, IN: 65°, Lansing, MI: 65°, Alpena, MI: 57°-Tied, Madison, WI: 56°, Milwaukee, WI: 56°, Houghton Lake, MI: 55°, Green Bay, WI: 52° and Ste. St. Marie, MI: 50°.

With the ridge in the east, a trough across the west brought chilly unsettled weather.

Phoenix, AZ saw their first snow since 1994 and Las Vegas picked up its heaviest snow since 1967 with 2 inches. Over 45 accidents were reported in just a 3 hour period.

Redding, CA plunged to a record low with 25°.

In Nevada, Snow fell across the Las Vegas valley and most places recorded 2 inches on the ground. Over 45 accidents were reported in just a 3 hour period. US 95 between Eastern and Las Vegas Boulevard had to be closed due to the number of accidents.


The ridge off the southeast coast held a cold front at bay bringing one more day of record warm temperatures. Atop Mount Washington, NH (elevation 6,288 feet), the temperature reached 47°, setting their highest temperature ever recorded in the month of December.

Other daily record highs included: Tampa, FL: 83°-Tied, Atlanta, GA: 75°, Hartford, CT: 74°, Newark, NJ: 74°, Atlantic City, NJ: 73°, Wilmington, DE: 72°, Boston, MA: 72°, Concord, NH: 72°, New York (LaGuardia), NY: 72°, Syracuse, NY: 72°, Philadelphia, PA: 72°, Providence, RI: 72°, Wallops Island, VA: 72°, Portland, ME: 71° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), New York (Central Park), NY: 71°, Milton, MA: 70°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 70°, Allentown, PA: 70°, Albany, NY: 68°, Rochester, NY: 68°-Tied, Bridgeport, CT: 67°, Worcester, MA: 67°-Tied, Burlington, VT: 64°, Alpena, MI: 62°, Ste. St. Marie, MI: 58°, Houghton Lake, MI: 57° and Caribou, ME: 56°.


A major Nor'easter pounded regions of the Canadian Maritimes. Moncton, New Brunswick Canada received 24 inches of snow. Whipped by winds of up to 60 mph, the snow grounded planes and cut power to thousands of residents.

On this date through the 7th, heavy rains from Tropical Storm Odette, packing sustained winds of 65 mph, dumped up to 7 inches of rain in southern areas of the Dominican Republic.


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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