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Weather History: February 22: Record temps, storms, snow, tornadoes & tropics

Meteorological events that happened on February 22nd:


Memorable "Cold Sabbath" across New England left many with people with frozen extremities while going to church in Ipswich, MA. A temperature of -11° was observed at Dover, NH.


The mountain village of Floresta, Sicily reported 51.2 inches of snow over 24 hours.


Although heat and dust prevailed in the spring and summer, early 1936 brought record cold to parts of the U.S. Sioux Center, IA reported 42 inches of snow on the ground, a state record.


A 2-day blizzard across the Plains dumped 36 inches of snow fell at Buffalo, OK. 25 inches fell Gage, OK. Follett, TX picked up 26 inches while Amarillo, TX recorded 14 inches. Winds 30 to 50 mph whipped the snow into drifts 20 feet high.


A 5-day blizzard stranded residents on Prince Edward Island, Canada through the 27th. Winds exceed 50 mph with 2 feet of snow produced drifts as high as 23.3 feet.


Persistent heavy rains and snows in California over a 12 day period finally came to an end. Widespread flooding and flash flooding caused 13 deaths, 67 injures, 50,000 evacuations, and over $400 million dollars in property damage. Bucks Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains recorded 49.6 inches of rain (some melted snow) during the period. Runoff from the deluge resulted in dam and levee breaks which accounted for the more serious flooding.


A storm moving northeastward out of the Gulf of Mexico began to spread heavy snow across the Mid-Atlantic Coast Region. Thunderstorms in northern Florida produced wind gusts to 65 mph in Alachua County.


Dry weather prevailed across the nation, with windy conditions from the Central Rockies to northern New England. Winds gusted to 58 mph at Cleveland, OH, and reached 63 mph at Erie, PA. Winds in the Central Rockies gusted to 120 mph at Mines Peak, CO and Rendezvous Peak, WY.


Strong northwesterly winds ushering cold arctic air into the north central U.S. produced snow squalls in the Great Lakes Region, with heavy snow near Lake Michigan. Totals in northwest Indiana ranged up to 24 inches at Gary, and up to 16 inches buried northeastern Illinois.


Thunderstorms developing along and ahead of a cold front produced severe weather from southern Mississippi to North Carolina. One thunderstorm spawned a tornado just prior to dawn near Opp, AL injuring 10 people and causing half a million dollars damage. Thunderstorm winds injured 4 people south of Troy, AL, and 5 people at Columbus, GA. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 76 mph at Dothan, AL.


Cyclone Bobby slammed into the Western Australian coast causing widespread flooding. Some areas reported up to 12 inches of rain through the 26th.


More record warmth occurred over the south central states. The following cities set all-time February record highs: San Angelo, TX with 97°, Wichita Falls, TX at 93°, Oklahoma City, OK with 92° and Wichita, KS with 87°.


Record warmth occurred across parts of the northeastern U.S. New York City, NY had a record high of 69°; Albany, NY and Newark, NJ, set new record highs with 68°. Farther to the north, Concord, NH and St. Johnsbury, VT, each had record highs of 59°.


Seven tornadoes struck east central Florida late on this date and early on the 23rd. Three of the tornadoes were rated F3 on the Fujita scale. 24 people were killed in Kissimmee alone. A total of 42 people were killed, 265 injured, and total damage was $106 million dollars.


A rapidly moving storm system brought bursts of snow to parts of northern Virginia, quickly dropping 3 to 5 inches of snow during the morning hours. A massive 116-car pile up occurred on the southbound side of I-95 near Aquila, VA, south of the nation's capital. One person died and 15 people were taken to the hospital as a result of the chain reaction accident, reportedly the largest ever on the East Coast, which backed up traffic for 30 miles and closed the interstate for several hours.


4.85 inches of rain fell in 24 hours at Hope, British Columbia Canada, the wettest February day on record there breaking the old record of 4.16 inches set on 2/9/1951. The same storm dumped 2.80 inches of rain on Victoria, 2.36 inches in 12 hours, and 2.68 inches at West Vancouver.


A heat wave across Queensland, Australia starting on the 10th led to a number of long-standing records being broken. Brisbane airport recorded its hottest day on record when high reached 104.4°, shattering the previous record of 96.4° set on 2/2/1958. Downtown Brisbane reached 107.1°, the hottest February day on record here. A number of other places across Queensland set record February highs and record high maximum temperatures.


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

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