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Weather History: February 15: Record temps, storms, ice, tornadoes, wind & snow

Meteorological events that happened on February 15th:


A big Gulf snowstorm produced 6 inches at Brownsville, TX and Mobile, AL, 15 inches at Galveston, TX, and 24 inches of snow at Rayne, LA in 24 hours. Snow fell at the very mouth of the Mississippi River. Houston, TX received 22 inches of snow, and 9 inches blanketed New Orleans, LA.


Charlotte, NC was in the middle of a three day snowstorm over which time 17.4 inches of snow fell, their biggest snowstorm on record.


North Dakota recorded their coldest ever temperature with a reading of -60° at Parshall, ND. It is interesting to note that North Dakota recorded their all-time hottest temperatures (121° on 7/6 at Steele) and coldest temperatures in the same year.


A big snowstorm impacted the east coast. The storm center developed over Texas on Valentine's Day. The storm tracked rapidly southeast into a position near Mobile, AL early on this date and then it moved to the northeast and began to intensify. The storm center past over Columbia, SC and deepened quickly as it moved northeast across North Carolina and off the Virginia Capes. By midnight, of the 16th, the low was just east of the Delmarva Peninsula, with a central pressure of 28.80 inHg. Between 14 to 22 inches of snow fell across the Baltimore-Washington area with 22 inches at Baltimore and 14.5 inches officially in D.C. Winds were sustained at 30 to 40 mph for several days after the storm, causing terrible drifting, in many instances to at least 6 feet. Snowfall rates during the storm were among the heaviest ever record at National Airport 11 inches of snow fell and just a 5 hour period and over 3 inches of snow fell during a one hour period. Generally, a snowfall of 10 to 20 inches occurred from Alabama to a Massachusetts. Up to 30 inches was reported across northeast Pennsylvania and interior sections of New England. The heaviest snow than was about 50 mi. wide and passed directly through the Washington-Baltimore area. Within this band, 15 to 20 inches of snow fell, with 22 inches of snow reported it in the northern suburbs of Baltimore. Overall 43 people lost their lives.


A "meteorological bomb" exploded in the Atlantic southeast of Newfoundland. The term is used to describe a storm that rapidly intensifies over the ocean. On this date, the storm in the Atlantic produced winds of 100 mph and huge 50-foot seas. The storm capsized a drilling rig killing 84 people and sank a Soviet freighter resulting in 33 more deaths.


A storm crossing the central U.S. produced severe thunderstorms which spawned tornadoes in Louisiana and Mississippi. Tornadoes injured four people at Pierre Pass, LA, three persons at Tangipahoa, LA, two people at Lexie, MS and two others at Nicholson, MS. Thunderstorm winds gusting to 100 mph killed one person south of Sulphur, LA. Jackson, MS was drenched with 1.5 inches of rain in 10 minutes.


Low pressure brought heavy snow to parts of Michigan, with 11 inches reported at Rogers City. A cold front crossing the Northern Rockies produced wind gusts to 74 mph at Livingston, MT, and created blizzard conditions across parts of Idaho.


Many cities in the southeastern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date. The afternoon high of 80° at Atlanta, GA was a February record. Highs of 79° at Chattanooga, TN, 84° at Columbia, SC and 85° at New Orleans, LA equaled February records.


Snow, sleet and freezing rain along an arctic cold front prevailed from the north central U.S. to the Northern Atlantic Coast Region. High winds created near blizzard conditions across southern Wyoming, closing Interstate 80, while up to 11 inches of snow fell across central Minnesota.

Heavy snow also blanketed the Northern Atlantic Coast States, with 10 inches reported at Buffalo, NY and Mount Washington, NH. Freezing rain over southern New England knocked out electricity to more than 10,000 homes in the western suburbs of Boston MA.

Heavy snow is uncommon in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada but on this date, residents dealt with 5.5 inches of wet snow. The moisture-laden snow disrupted traffic and caused school closures.


Heavy snow fell along the Missouri-Arkansas border. 10 to 20 inches was quite common, with Mountain Home, AR recording 24 inches of snow. Cape Girardeau, MO received 6 inches of snow in just one hour and 20 minutes.


The heaviest snowfall in three decades dumped 9 inches at Seoul, South Korea forcing hundreds of flight cancellations and delays, blocking roads and halting some ferry services.


On this date through the 17th, the President's Day Storm buried the U.S. East Coast. Many all-time snowfall records were broken, including those in Baltimore, MD and Boston, MA. The storm system brought accumulations of 1 to 2 feet with snowfall amounts exceeding 35 inches across parts of northeastern West Virginia, the heaviest snow accumulations to the East Coast since the Blizzard of 1996.

The Exploits, Red Indian and Badger rivers flooded Badger, Newfoundland Canada as ice jams gave way on this date. This was followed by extremely cold temperatures as low as -4° which froze the floodwaters encasing cars, snowmobiles and some homes in ice. Most of Badger's 1,100 residents were evacuated.


Up to 11 inches of snow fell in areas south of Nashville, TN causing power outages and producing hazardous driving conditions.


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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