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Weather History: February 13: Record temps, snow, storms, tornadoes, wind & ice

Meteorological events that happened on February 13th:


An avalanche at Alta, UT killed 16 people and left 13 others buried for 12 hours before being rescued.


It was the coldest morning of record along the Gulf Coast. The temperature dipped to 7° at New Orleans, LA and Pensacola, FL, and -1° at Mobile, AL. The mercury dipped to -2° at Tallahassee, FL, the coldest reading of record for the state. It was also Louisiana's coldest night on record; here lows dropped to -16.1° in Minden. Brownsville, TX recorded their all time low with 12°. Snow flurries were observed as far south as the Fort Myers - Fort Pierce line (which runs just north of Lake Okeechobee) and in the Florida panhandle close to 3 inches of snow fell in some places. Dayton, OH recorded its coldest temperature ever with -28°.

After weeks of bitter cold, residents of New Orleans, LA found ice 2 inches thick on the Mississippi River. The river reportedly was frozen from Minnesota almost to the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico. Chunks of ice floated out into the Gulf.

As frigid air engulfed much of the country, a powerful blizzard known as the "Storm King" was pounding the East Coast. 20 inches of snow fell at Washington, D.C. and 34 inches fell at Cape May, NJ. The pressure in the center of the storm was estimated at 966 millibars or 28.53 inHg, as strong as a major hurricane.


Morning lows of -40° at Lebanon, KS, -40° at Warsaw, MO and -29° at Pond, AR established all-time records for those 3 states.


The morning low plunged to -58° at House River and Fort McMurray, Alberta Canada.


Tallahassee, FL recorded their largest snowfall on record. Close to 3 inches fell in 5 hours during the early hours.


St. Louis, MO recorded their low temperature record for the month as they dropped to -18°.

Mohe, in northeast China, holds the country’s record low temperature of -62.1°.


Severe flooding struck Central Arizona through the 22nd. Flooding in the Phoenix, AZ metropolitan area cut the city in two as only 2 bridges over the normally dry Salt River remained open, turning commutes into nightmares. Even the I-10 Bridge was closed.


The following all-time high-pressure readings were recorded across over the eastern U.S. due to a dense arctic air-mass: Philadelphia, PA rose to 31.05 inHg, Washington DC with 31.02 inHg, Wilmington, DE at 30.99 inHg and Asheville, NC with 30.84 inHg.


A record shattering cold spell forced the temperature below zero for the 51 consecutive nights at Grand Forks, ND finally ending on this date. This set a new record for the most consecutive nights of sub-zero temperatures at Grand Forks International Airport.


The Ohio Valley was in the grips of a major snow storm. Snowplows were abandoned in Ohio as the snow was whipped into huge drifts. Over 1 foot of snow fell in eastern Kentucky with drifts as high as 15 feet. Over 2 feet of snow in parts of North Carolina.


A storm in the western U.S. produced heavy rain over central California. Chews Ridge reported nearly 11 inches of rain in 24 hours, and extensive flooding occurred in San Benito County. The Mount Rose ski resort in Nevada experienced a "white-out" with 60 mph winds and 36 inches of snow.


Strong winds in the wake of a storm in the northeastern U.S., gusted to 60 mph at Oswego NY and snow drifts in northeastern Ohio were reported as high as 6 feet snow.

High winds in the mountains of Utah, gusting to 106 mph at the Snowbird ski resort, contributed to a 40 car pile-up on I-15, near the town of Bluffdale.


Showers and thunderstorms produced locally heavy rain and flash flooding from central Texas to western Pennsylvania. Up to 10 inches of rain deluged western Kentucky in 2 days, with 5-day totals ranging up to 13.16 inches at Gilbertsville Dam, KY. Flooding caused tens of millions of dollars damage, including $18 million dollars damage at Frankfort, KY.


A slow moving cold front brought heavy snow to Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Big Horn, WY reported 15 inches of snow and up to 22 inches was reported in parts of Utah. In Colorado, 8 to 12 inches of snow fell over the northwest suburbs of Denver, while 16 to 22 inches was reported in the high mountain elevations west of Fort Collins. Strong winds accompanied the heavy snow, and bitter cold weather followed in its wake.


During the morning hours, a heavy wet snow blanketed much of Arkansas. The snow was quick hitting, lasting generally less than 6 hours, accumulated fast enough to overcome the melting effects of a warm ground. In general, northern and central Arkansas received 3 to 6 inches of snow with some areas reporting 8 or more inches between Little Rock and Russellville and Heber Springs.


The United Kingdom recorded its mildest February day on record when the high temperature reached 67.3° at Greenwich, London.


The low at Fairbanks, AK dropped to -36° marking the 19th consecutive day with low temperatures of -35° degrees or colder, setting an all-time record for the location.


Late this day and into the early morning hours of the 14th, severe thunderstorms spawned 6 tornadoes over southwestern Georgia that killed 19, injured 202, and caused $35 million dollars in damages. Camilla was hit the worst as an F3 tornado killed 11 and injured 175 in the town.


An unusual snowstorm swept across the southern Black Sea region bringing cold and snow to Turkey and Greece. Istanbul, Turkey received 14 inches.


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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