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Weather History: February 28: Record temps, storms, wind, snow & flooding

Meteorological events that happened on February 28th:


Heavy snow caused the Ashley River Bridge in Charleston, SC to collapse.


A massive storm spread record snows from Kansas to New York State.

Snow fell for over 24 hours at Toledo, OH. When it was all over, the 19 inches set a single storm record for the city.

Topeka, KS reported 18.7 inches of snow in 24 hours to set their record for most snow in a 24-hour period. 36 inches of snow at Astoria, IL sets new state 24-hour snowfall record. Northfield, VT picked up 31 inches of snow. Snowfall totals ranged up to 17.5 inches at Springfield, IL and 43 inches at Rochester, NY. 60 inches fell in parts of the Adirondack Mountains of New York State.


It was 4° at Idyllwild, CA the lowest temperature on record for February.


An intense coastal storm swept across southeastern Massachusetts. 3,000 motorists were stranded on Lower Cape Cod. Tens of thousands of homes on the Cape lost power. 18 inches of snow buried Nantucket and Hyannis and very strong winds blew the snowfall into huge drifts. Winds at Nantucket were sustained at 61 mph with gusts to 72 mph. The barometer fell to 29.02 inches at Cape Cod. The central pressure in the storm was measured by a ship at 949 millibars or 28.02 inHg. The Loran tower at Siasconset was toppled by the high winds.


An accumulation of heavy snow on the roof of a Listowel arena in Ontario Canada caused it to collapse during a hockey game. Several people inside were killed.


It was -10° at Big Bear Lake, CA the lowest temperature on record for February.


Thompson Pass, AK finishes the month with 346.1 inches of snow, a monthly snowfall record for the state of Alaska.

The world's 12-hour rainfall record was set as 52.76 inches fell at Belouve, on La Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. The world record for heaviest 9-hour and 18.5 hour rainfall were also set with 42.79 inches; and 66.49 inches, respectively.


Unusual late winter warmth occurred across the central U.S. Kansas City, MO set their all-time record high for February as their temperature soared to 83°.


Death Valley, CA set their February high temperature record with 98°.


A powerful storm produced severe thunderstorms in Louisiana and Mississippi early in the day. A monstrous F-4 tornado touched down near Moselle, MS mid-morning and grew to a width of 2 miles as it passed near Laurel, MS. The Glade Elementary School was almost completely destroyed, but school luckily was not in session since it was the weekend. All six deaths occurred in Glade, MS and four of those were in one trailer. One man was killed as he ran to warn a neighbor of the approaching storm. The tornado swept homes right off their foundations, and tossed 18 wheel trucks about like toys. The tornado traveled a distance of 40 miles killing 6 people, injuring 350 others, and caused $28.5 million dollars damage. Strong straight line winds associated with the powerful storm system gusted to 70 mph at Jonesboro, AR and Carbondale, IL.


Thunderstorms in California produced severe weather during the early morning hours. Strong thunderstorm winds, gusting to 74 mph, downed trees in the Sacramento area.

Unseasonably mild weather prevailed in the northwestern U.S. The afternoon high of 71° at Portland, OR was a February record.


Thunderstorms in the southeast corner of the nation produced winds gusts to 58 mph at Fort Lauderdale, FL, and a total of 7 inches of rain. Heavy snow whitened parts of the Northern Plateau and the Northern Rockies, with 10 inches reported at Marion, MT.

Across the upper Midwest, a prolonged snowstorm began on this date and didn’t end until 3/4. Despite the extended period, modest snowfall totals were reported. Here are some totals and length of time snow fell: Huron, SD: 75 hours and 15 minutes with 13.8 inches, Watertown, SD: 60 hours and 25 minutes straight with 13.5 inches, Sioux Falls, SD: 76 hours 55 minutes with 12.1 inches, Pierre, SD: 83 consecutive hours with a total of 10 inches, Rapid City, SD: 77 hours and 8 minutes with 6.7 inches and Aberdeen, SD: 62 hours and 57 minutes, but only 4.8 inches of snow.


Showers and thunderstorms over the Southern Plains Region capped a record wet February for parts of Oklahoma. Totals for the month ranged up to 9.11 inches at McCurtain, with 4.63 inches reported at Oklahoma City. Snow and sleet fell across northern Oklahoma, with 4 inches reported at Freedom and Jefferson. Snow also spread across southern Kansas into Missouri and Arkansas, with 6 inches reported at Harrison, AR. In Alaska, February temperatures at Nome averaged 21 degrees below normal, ranging from -38° to 29° during the month.


In California, a series of storms that started on 2.27 and ended on 3.1 produced three to six inches of rainfall at lower elevations, with 11 to 14 inches of precipitation in the mountains. 4.45 inches of precipitation fell on this day in Idyllwild, the greatest daily amount on record for February. 2.42 inches fell in Borrego Springs, the greatest daily amount on record for February and the third greatest daily amount on record. Two died and six were injured. Hazards included urban flooding, mudslides, and road washouts. Flood waters were five feet deep at Desert Hot Springs. Two to three feet of snow were dumped on the Big Bear area and up to two feet fell elsewhere in the mountains. Highways were closed. The town of Tustin reported a tornado on this day.


A storm that started on the 25th and ended on this date produced 0.5 to 1.5 inches of rainfall in coastal areas. Snowfall of ten inches was recorded at Idyllwild, two inches in Yucaipa and even a dusting in Hemet and Corona. One to two feet of snow fell in the higher mountains and up to six inches fell in the high desert.


A snowstorm in the southwest produced a foot and a half of snow at Flagstaff, AZ. An 80 mile stretch of Interstate 17 outside Flagstaff was closed for a period of time. In Ely, NV, the mercury fell to -9°, a record for the date.


No measurable snow fell in Chicago, IL during the month. Out west, Santa Barbara, CA received 21 inches of rain for the month.


Starting on the previous day, a severe storm, named Xynthia, slammed into France, smashing sea walls, destroying homes, polluting farmland with saltwater and devastating the Atlantic coast's oyster farms. Wind gusts reached close to 125 mph on the summits of the Pyrenees and up to 100 mph along the Atlantic Coast. Wind speeds of 109 mph were measured atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The storm hit hardest in the Vendee and Charente-Maritime regions in southwestern France. The storm was blamed for 52 deaths.


Cold temperatures and heavy snowfall invaded most of Greece. Snow blanketed the suburbs of Athens where temperatures dropped to 36°.


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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