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Weather History: February 1: Record temps, storms, wind, tornadoes, snow & ice

Meteorological events that happened on February 1st:

Blue Canyon, CA averages 240.8 inches of snow per year and is the snowiest recording station in the U.S. Of course, it is also in the higher elevations. Number two on the list is low elevation Marquette, MI with 128.6 inches of snow. Other top 10 location include #5 Caribou, ME at 110.4 inches per year and #7 Lander, WY with 102.5 inches per year.


Thunder and lightning accompanied sleet and snow at St. Louis, MO during the evening hours, even though the temperature was just 13°.


The U.S. Weather Bureau Hurricane Forecasting Center was moved from Kingston, Jamaica to Havana, Cuba. Observation stations had been established in 1898 throughout the central and eastern Caribbean by President McKinley, who reportedly feared hurricanes more than the Spanish Navy in the Spanish American War. In 1902, the hurricane forecasting was transferred to Washington, D.C.


This was the first of five straight days with measurable snowfall at Oklahoma City, OK. This remains a record for Oklahoma City for consecutive days with measurable snowfall.


Seattle, WA was buried under 21.5 inches of snow, their greatest 24-hour snowfall. A total of 32.5 inches of wet snow accumulated over three days. The Seattle cathedral dome collapsed under the snow’s weight.

A 38-hour snowstorm shut down Victoria, British Columbia Canada under 30.8 inches of snow. Strong northerly winds piled the snow into drifts close to 10 feet high.


A dense area of high-pressure brought extreme cold and high barometric pressure readings to the northeastern U.S. Northfield, VT had a high pressure reading of 31.14 inHg the previous day and Portland, ME had a reading of 31.09 inches which is the highest ever recorded at sea level in the United States. The mercury dropped to -45° at Pittsburg, NH.


On this date through the 9th, a memorable blizzard occurred in Saskatchewan, Canada. All highways into Regina were blocked. Railway officials declared the worst conditions in Canadian rail history. One train was buried in a snowdrift 6/10 of a mile long and 36.7 feet deep.


The greatest ice storm on record in the U.S. produced glaze up to 4 inches thick from Texas to Pennsylvania causing 25 deaths, 500 serious injuries, and $100 million dollars damage. Tennessee was hardest hit by the storm. Communications and utilities were interrupted for a week to 10 days.

The temperature at Taylor Park Dam plunged to -60°, a record for the state of Colorado up to that time. New Mexico recorded their coldest temperature ever as Gavilan dropped to -50°.


An intense low pressure system swept across the North Sea. Wind speeds at Aberdeen, Scotland exceeded 125 mph. A storm surge of 13.3 feet breached the dams along the Zuider Zee in The Netherlands, flooding 3.95 million acres or 1/6 of the country.


An F3 tornado tracked 8 miles from Commerce Landing in Tunica County, Mississippi vutting an 8 mile path to near Robinsonville & Clark in Mississippi, killing 20 people and injuring 141 others. 17 people were killed in a plantation school at Commerce Landing, making it the 3rd deadliest school tornado disaster in U.S. History. The heroic teacher died trying to save her students by moving them into ditches. The rebuilt school was named after her. One dead child was blown a half mile away. Despite that fact the funnel was seen, that heavy objects were thrown long distances, and that the tornado was in a forecast box, the event was not officially called a tornado. A survey team stated that since all debris was thrown in one direction, the event should not be listed as a tornado.

New Brunswick, Canada recorded its coldest temperature when Sisson Dam dropped to -53°.


The Australian capital of Canberra recorded their hottest day on record as the high reached 108°.


Across central and eastern South Dakota contained a variety of winter weather causing many problems. Glazing due to heavy fog and drizzle periodically formed on utility lines causing numerous broken power lines. Periodically, strong winds caused widespread blowing and drifting snow resulting in many closed roads. Snowplows would open the roads and often drifting snow would close the roads again. Frequent uses of pusher type snowplows piled banks of snow 20 to 30 feet along the roads and it became impractical to open roads with this type of snowplow. Several rotary snowplows were flown in from military airbases outside of the state to open some of the roads in the eastern part of the state. Numerous school closings occurred during the month due to snow blocked roads.


Malaysia's coldest night on record occurred as the low dropped to 46° at Cameron Highlands.


A winter storm struck the Niagara Frontier and western southern tier of western New Your beginning on January 31st and continued through this date. Precipitation fell as a mixture of rain, freezing rain and snow. Winds gusted as high as 61 mph. Most of western New York's schools closed on the first as glazed highways and the high winds made driving extremely hazardous. Buffalo International Airport shut down most of the day due to ice accumulations up to an inch on the runways. The high winds caused local whiteouts and extreme cold wind chills. Thousands of area homes were without power as ice coated power lines throughout the area. There were numerous reports of traffic accidents including a tractor trailer that was blown off Route 219 in Orchard Park and six tractor trailers jack knifed and slid off the Southern Tier Expressway. The Father Baker Bridge, Fuhrman Boulevard, and the Skyway were closed because of icy pavement and zero visibility.


One of the most widespread outbreaks of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in Florida history occurred on this date. Unusual El Nino conditions resulted in a 180-mph jet stream across the central Gulf of Mexico that strengthened a line of thunderstorms moving eastward into the western Florida Panhandle before dawn and continued southeastward through the entire state, exiting the southeast coast and the Keys around sunset the next day. At least 21 tornadoes occurred, along with severe thunderstorm downbursts, hail, and heavy rains. Seven tornadoes touched down during the day across the Panhandle killing l and injuring one. Overall, five people were killed along with several serious injuries requiring hospitalization, and about 200 people were left homeless.


Snow, sleet and ice glazed southern Tennessee and northern sections of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. 11 inches of sleet and ice fell on Lauderdale County, Alabama in one of the worst winter storms in state history. All roads in Florence, AL were closed for the first time in the city's history.

Colorado's coldest night on record occurred as the town of Maybell dropped to -61°. It was also the coldest night on record in Utah when Peter’s Sink dropped to -69°


The longest recorded, national run without a tornado ended on this date at 52 days beginning on 12/12/1985.


A storm in the Pacific Northwest produced wind gusts to 100 mph at Cape Blanco, OR, and up to 6 inches of rain in the northern coastal mountain ranges.


Many cities in the eastern U.S. reported new record high temperatures for the date, including Richmond, VA with 73°, Baltimore, MD with 71°, Dulles Airport at Sterling, VA with 71°, Washington, DC: with 70° and Wilmington, DE: tied with 65°.

Thunderstorms in southern Louisiana deluged Basile with 12.34 inches of rain.

Arctic cold gripped the north central U.S. Wolf Point, MT reported a low of -32°


While arctic cold continued to invade the central U.S., many cities in the south central and eastern U.S. reported new record high temperatures for the date. Russell KS, the hot spot in the nation with a high of 84°, after reporting a morning low of 12° the previous day.

Four to eight inches of snow fell across western and northern South Dakota. Winds of 25 mph and subzero temperature produced wind chills of -50° to -80°. Several schools were closed across the area due to the dangerous wind chills. Tioga, ND reported a wind chill reading of -90°. The storm continued into the 2nd.


Thunderstorms associated with an upper level weather disturbance produced severe weather across the eastern half of Texas during the late afternoon and evening. Four people were injured at Waco, TX where thunderstorms produced wind gusts to 80 mph. Thunderstorms produced wind gusts to 97 mph at Cotulla, TX injuring two people. Golf ball size hail was reported at Whitney and northeast of Whitsett.


The Canadian Maritimes were in the midst of one of their worst blizzards ever. By the time the storm ended late on the 2nd, 2 to 3 feet of snow had fallen across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Moncton, New Brunswick was buried under 63 inches to set a new all-time single storm record. Winds frequently gusted from 70 to 90 mph. The storm actually backed in from the east and passed very close to Sable Island with a central pressure of 960 millibars or 28.35 inHg, far deeper than any computer model had forecasted. The backlash of the storm grazed down-east Maine and Cape Cod. Danforth, ME recorded 13 inches and Wellfleet, MA measured 7 inches.

Dickinson, ND reached 68° which set a new all-time record high temperature for the month of February. The previous record high for February was 66 set 2/27/1932.


New Mexico's coldest night on record occurred as the low dropped to -50° at Gavilan.


Bitterly cold Arctic air combined with north winds to produce record low temperatures and extreme wind chills across northeast South Dakota and west central Minnesota. Wind chills ranged from -50° to -70° below with actual temperatures ranging from -20° to -40°. Aberdeen had a record low of -36°. Then, as the north winds increased, the wind chills fell from -60° to -80° by late afternoon and during the night. Wind speeds decreased by the late morning of the second, allowing wind chills to rise to -40° to -60°. By late afternoon, the winds had decreased enough to keep wind chills from -20° to -40°.

The same bitterly cold air mass plunges the temperature below zero at Denver, CO for 35 consecutive hours from late on this date until sunrise on the 3rd.


A large scale storm system crossed the region bringing precipitation amounts of two to three inches to parts of western New York. The heavy rains on bare, saturated ground caused area creeks to rise with several exceeding flood stage.

As the intensifying storm moved across the Great Lakes and lifted northeast to the St. Lawrence Valley, very strong winds behind the low blasted the region with wind gusts exceeding 55 mph. Trees and power lines were downed by the strong winds. Hundreds of thousands were without power, some for several days. Fallen trees and limbs littered the area and closed roads. Numerous reports of damage to homes and automobiles were received from throughout the area. Driving bans and States of Emergency were declared in several counties. Numerous school districts were forced to close on the first and several remained closed through the beginning of the following week. In Monroe County, two injuries resulted from the high winds.

Residents across the Ohio Valley were dealing with the aftermath of the same system that brought an ice storm for several days across parts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Totals were a half to one inch thick downing trees and power lines. Around one million people were left without power across the three states.

High winds and heavy rain tore across Ireland leaving 25,000 homes without power and forcing motorists to abandon their cars due to flooding.


NEXRAD radars across Texas and Louisiana captured the tragic images of the debris field from the Space Shuttle Columbia which disintegrated as it re-entered the atmosphere over Texas. Debris fell over a huge area, possibly from California to the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the densest debris fall was reported in the town of Nacogdoches, in eastern Texas.


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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