Meteorological events that happened on February 23rd:
A huge snowstorm affected the coast of New England. Snowfall amounts ranged as high as 4 feet south of Boston, MA. 54 inches of snow fell at Epping, NH. Three large Indiamen out of Salem were wrecked on Cape Cod by strong winds.
In a very rare occurrence, Athens, Greece reported snow.
A severe blizzard in the Sierra Nevada Range closed Donner Pass. It stranded 750 motorists and claimed 7 lives.
A severe ice storm hit parts of Ohio. Up to one inch of glaze covered exposed objects.
An F4 tornado hit the Holiday Inn in Tuscaloosa, AL. Most of the upper floor of the motel was sheared away and a housekeeper was killed.
5 inches of snow fell in one hour at Philadelphia, PA during a big East Coast snowstorm. 24 inches of snow fell at Lancaster, PA and 23.5 inches at Coatesville, PA. Clarksville, MD recorded 18.2 inches, Washington, D.C. picked up 15 inches and Wilmington, Delaware received 14.4 inches. Much tree damage occurred and power outages were widespread. The snows were the result of a rapidly deepening low-pressure system; known as a bombogensis that strengthened from 1004 to 981 millibars in just 12 hours.
The heaviest snowfall in many years commenced in northern and central Arizona as a massive winter storm began to affect the western U.S. This storm continued until the 26th and when it was all over Flagstaff had 31.2 inches and Williams was buried under 35 inches. At one time, Prescott had 22 inches of snow on the ground.
Strong northwesterly winds ushered arctic air into the central U.S., with temperatures in Missouri were 30 degrees colder than the previous day. The strong winds produced squalls along the shore of Lake Superior, with up to 15 inches of snow reported over the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan.
Many cities in the central U.S. reported new record low temperatures for the date, including Lincoln, NE with a reading of -19°.
A fast moving storm produced near blizzard conditions in Michigan. Snowfall totals ranged up to 9.5 inches in Allegan County, wind gusts reached 74 mph at Ann Arbor, and 5 foot snow drifts were reported around Saginaw. The Michigan AAA records showed more than 5,000 traffic accidents reported, a near record for one day. There were several chain reaction collisions. One near Pontiac involved 100 cars.
A black rain fell on parts of eastern Turkey as soot from the Kuwait oil field fires mixed with the precipitation.
An early season heat wave hit the south with all-time February high temperatures including San Antonio, TX: 100°, Oklahoma City, OK: 92°, Fayetteville, AR: 87°, Birmingham, AL: 83° and Knoxville, TN: 83°.
Rivers were running out of their banks in parts of Illinois after record rainfalls in some areas, including Chicago the previous day.
A very unusual thundersnow squall hit Kodiak Airport in Alaska. A C-130 aircraft took two lightning strikes.
Otis, OR recorded their 79th straight day of rain. The streak which began on 12/7/97 remains the longest across the lower 48.
An ice storm struck Western Newfoundland in Canada, knocking out power to 1,600 customers. In Corner Brook, ice covered wires and branches to 2.75 inches thick.
City Workers in New York City conducted a "pothole blitz," filling 1,600 potholes in just one day. The potholes formed as melting snow and rain combined to create the automobile-jarring holes. Just one week earlier, New York City had been bombarded by a major snowstorm on Presidents' Day.
The 4th race of the America's Cup in Auckland, New Zealand between Team New Zealand and Team Alinghi was postponed for the 4th consecutive day because of calm winds. The culprit was low cloud cover that prevented the development of afternoon sea breezes.
A five day winter storm commencing on the 18th dumped 3 to 6 inches of rain on southern California coastal locations and inland valleys with over 12 inches in the foothills and mountains and over 2 inches in the deserts. Some of the bigger totals included 6.80 inches at Fullerton, 12.33 inches at Lake Arrowhead, and 18.79 inches at Lytle Creek. The storm pushed San Diego's winter precipitation total to 3rd all-time. Three tornadoes ocurred in Orange, San Diego, and Riverside counties on the 19th. Extremely heavy snow fell in the San Bernadino County mountains with 4 to 8 feet of new snow above 7000 feet.
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