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Weather History: February 12: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, ice & snow

Meteorological events that happened on February 12th:


Ice flows were spotted in the Gulf of Mexico after passing from the Mississippi River. Ice actually blocked the river at New Orleans, LA. This was only one of two times that this occurred, the other during the Great Arctic Outbreak of 1899.


The Great Arctic Outbreak continued. Nebraska recorded its coldest temperature ever with -47° at Camp Clarke. Tulia tied Texas's all-time record low with a reading of -23°. All-time record cold occurred at Dallas, TX: -8°, Amarillo, TX -16°, Little Rock, AR -13° and Kansas City, MO -22°. Birmingham, AL dropped to -10°; their all-time coldest reading. This record was measured at the old Fountain Heights Weather Office, not the Birmingham Airport. Unofficial reports indicated that the outlying areas experienced temperatures as cold as -14°. Along with the record cold, Birmingham received four inches of snow. In the eastern U.S., Washington D.C. hit -15°.

Along with the extreme cold, the Atlantic Coast dealt with a blizzard. Charleston, SC received a record 3.9 inches of snow. Boston, MA recorded 23 inches, their greatest total up until 1969. 20.5 inches of snow fell in Washington, D.C. with a snow depth of 34.2 inches.


Germany's coldest night on record occurred as the low temperature dropped to -36° at Hüll.


Calgary, Alberta Canada experienced their warmest February day on record as the high temperature soared to 66°.


A Navy airship crashed in the Pacific Ocean off of Point Sur Lighthouse in California. The ship encountered very strong winds, rising to an altitude of nearly 5,000 feet in just a few minutes and then crashing rapidly into the sea. Amazingly, only 2 of the 83 crew members aboard were killed.


North Dakota recorded their coldest ever temperature with a reading of -60° at Parshall.


Two strong tornadoes hit central Alabama. An F4 in Sumter County struck a 41-car train. 39 of the 41 cars derailed as the train crossed the trestle over the Suchanoochee River. The conductor and fireman on the train were killed and many others injured. Later that day, the north side of Montgomery was devastated by another F3 that killed 26 people.


Heavy snow and zero visibility were reported in the Gulf of Mexico by a ship 25 miles south of Fort Morgan, AL during the afternoon hours. Tallahassee, FL received 2.8 inches of snowfall. Five inches fell at Vermillion Locks, LA and 2 inches fell at Burrwood, LA. Jacksonville, FL picked up their first measurable snowfall in 59 years with 2 inches.


A snowstorm in the Deep South produced more than a foot of snow in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.


Omaha, NE was buried under 18.5 inches of snow over a two day period. This is the city's second greatest snowfall on record.


A storm in the eastern U.S. produced high winds from North Carolina to Maine. A storm in the western U.S. produced up to 30 inches of snow in the Sierra Nevada Range of California.

Switzerland recorded their coldest morning on record as the low dropped to -41° at La Brévine.


A classic "nor'easter" formed off the Carolina coast and intensified as it moved up the Atlantic coast bringing heavy snow to the northeastern U.S. Totals ranged up to 26.1 inches at Camden, NY, 26 inches at Chester, MA and 24 inches fell at Berlin, NH and Rochester, VT.

Arctic cold gripped the north central U.S. Duluth MN was the cold spot in the nation with a low of -32°.


Unseasonably mild weather prevailed across Alaska. Morning lows of 29° at Anchorage and 31° at Fairbanks were actually warmer than those in northern Florida.

In Florida, snow in Tampa and Daytona Beach occurred as Florida experienced its most widespread snowstorm in history. Two inches fell in Savannah, GA; one of only 3 times that snowfall in the city required a ruler for measurement. Charleston, SC picked up close to 4 inches.


Strong southerly winds ahead of an arctic cold front pushed temperatures into the 70s as far north as Iowa and Nebraska. Many cities in the central U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date. Lincoln, NE reported a record high of 73°, and the afternoon high of 59° at Minneapolis, MN smashed their previous record for the date by 12 degrees. Springfield, IL reported a record 48 consecutive days with above normal temperatures.


An intense snow squall off Lake Michigan cut visibility to zero along a section of U.S. 31 in Muskegon, MI. The resulting whiteout caused a 96 car pile up; 25 were injured in the melee.


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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