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Weather History: February 5: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, wind, ice & snow

Meteorological events that happened on February 5th:

Today is National Weatherman/Meteorologist day commemorating the birth of John Jeffries in 1744. Jeffries, one of America's first weather observers, began taking daily weather observations in Boston, MA in 1774 and he took the first balloon observation in 1784. This is a day to recognize the men and women who collectively provide Americans with the best weather, water and climate forecasts and warning services of any nation.


Excited residents threw snowballs in San Francisco, CA after the city received its greatest ever snowstorm. Up to 7 inches fell in western parts of the city, 3.7 inches was officially recorded downtown.

Intensely cold temperatures of -5° were blamed for splitting a rail on a bridge over the White River in Hartford, CT causing a train derailment. 34 people died as rail cars plunged into the icy river.


The beginning of the Blizzard of 1899, dubbed the "Snow King" when a fast moving area of low pressure from Louisiana dumped between 5 and 6 inches of snow in the Washington, D.C. area along with strong winds.


An intense nor'easter dumped 17.5 inches of snow on New York City, NY. The storm was accompanied by extremely high tides from strong northeast winds and a full moon. Many structures along the shore on Coney Island, Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach, NY were destroyed by the waves. Flamethrowers were used to clear the huge snow banks on city streets.


A storm at Gibraltar covered the summit of The Rock with hail coloring it white. Contemporary reports indicated that the top of the Rock of Gibraltar had not been white since at least 1874.


Surface high pressure across the southern Rockies and an upper level ridge brought spring-like temperatures from parts of the Midwest to the West Coast. Colorado Springs, CO set a February record high with 76°. This broke their previous record by 13 degrees.

Other locations that reported daily record highs for the date included: Palm Springs, CA: 92°, Yuma, AZ: 90°, Riverside, CA: 87°, Phoenix, AZ: 87°, Tucson, AZ: 85°, Long Beach, CA: 85°, San Diego, CA: 80°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 79°-Tied, Pueblo, CO: 77°, Dodge City, KS: 76°, Denver, CO: 76° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Goodland, KS: 74°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 73°, Eureka, CA: 73°, Concordia, KS: 71°, Springfield, MO: 71°-Tied, Medford, OR: 70°, Valentine, NE: 68°, Stockton, CA: 68°, Flagstaff, AZ: 67°, Kansas City, MO: 67°-Tied, Big Bear Lake, CA: 65°, Billings, MT: 65°, Ely, NV: 64°, Pendleton, OR: 64°, Rapid City, SD: 63°, Casper, WY: 62° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Cheyenne, WY: 62°, Boise, ID: 62°, Salt Lake City, UT: 62°-Tied, Lander, WY: 61°, Pocatello, ID: 61°, Sheridan, WY: 60°, Helena, MT: 60°-Tied, Huron, SD: 59°, Sioux Falls, SD: 59°, Alamosa, CO: 59°, Havre, MT: 57°, Bismarck, ND: 56°-Tied, Williston, ND: 55°, Aberdeen, SD: 54°, Spokane, WA: 53°, Fargo, ND: 51°, Kalispell, MT: 51°, Grand Forks, ND: 47° and International Falls, MN: 42°.

Madrid, Spain recorded its coldest reading ever as the temperature fell to 5.4°.


Sacramento, CA had a rare accumulating snowfall where two inches fell.


Another winter blizzard plagued the northern half of South Dakota continuing through the 9th. The unusual aspect of this blizzard was that the wind came from the southeast between 25 to 45 mph. Only one to three inches of new snow accumulation fell during the five-day period but was piled high on the existing large snow drifts. Most of the northern half of the state was paralyzed due to blocked roads. 18 counties across the northern part of the state were declared a disaster by the governor. There were numerous livestock losses.


Lake Placid, NY was just a little over a week away from hosting the Winter Olympics and there was only 5 inches of snow on the ground.

This was the start of nine consecutive days of measurable precipitation in San Diego, which ended on the 13th. This ties a record with 2/26-3/6/1983 and 2/13 - 21/1980 for the most days with measurable precipitation.


Cold high pressure and a trough brought record low temperatures to parts of the west including: Flagstaff, AZ: -21°, Winnemucca, NV: -16°, Big Bear Lake, CA: -6°, Idyllwild, CA: 9°, Bishop, CA: 9°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 15°, Victorville, CA: 18°, Stockton, CA: 25°, Santa Maria, CA: 27°, Escondido, CA: 28°, Sacramento, CA: 28°, Borrego Springs, CA: 31° and Long Beach, CA: 36°-Tied.


A supercell thunderstorm tracked through the Tomball area northwest of Houston, TX and produced four tornadoes along with damaging microburst winds and up to tennis ball size hail. An F3 tornado killed two people, injured 80 others and devastated a mobile home park and the David Wayne Hooks Airport. 300 aircraft were either damaged or destroyed. Much of the larger hail was propelled by 60 to 80 mph winds, resulting in widespread moderate damage. Total damage from this storm was $80 million dollars.


Thunderstorms in the Southern Plains Region caused flooding in parts of south central Texas. Del Rio, TX was soaked with two inches of rain in two hours prior to sunrise.


Cold and snow invaded the southern U.S. Roswell, NM was buried under 16.5 inches of snow in 24 hours, an all-time record for that location. Parts of the central Gulf Coast Region reported their first significant snow in 15 years. 2 to 4 inches fell from eastern Baton Rouge Parish to St. Tammany and Washington Parish. This was the most snow in southern Louisiana since 1973. More snow would fall three days later across much of the same area.

Strong winds in Minnesota and the Dakotas produced wind chill readings as cold as -75°.


Severe cold gripped much of the nation thanks to a deep upper level trough. Many cities from the Rockies to the West Coast reported record cold. Astoria, OR set a February record low of 9°.

Locations that reported daily record low temperatures for the date included: Elko, NV: -27°, Ely, NV: -27°, Denver, CO: -24°, Burns, OR: -24°, Billings, MY: -19°, Boise, ID: -15°, Grand Junction, CO: -13°, Pendleton, OR: -12°, Reno, NV: -10°, Salt Lake City, UT: -8°, Salem, OR: -1° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Olympia, WA: 2° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Oklahoma City, OK: 3°, Eugene, OR: 4° (broke previous record by 19 degrees), Wichita Falls, TX: 7°, Medford, OR: 9°, Portland, OR: 9° (broke previous record by 15 degrees), Abilene, TX: 9°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 10°, Dallas, TX: 11°, San Angelo, TX: 14°, Seattle, WA: 14°, Redding, CA: 21°, Quillayute, WA: 21°-Tied, Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 22°, Sacramento, CA: 25°, Corpus Christi, TX: 28°, Bakersfield, CA: 28°-Tied, San Francisco Airport, CA: 31° and Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 38°-Tied.

In contrast, an upper level ridge brought record highs to a few locations in Alaska. St. Paul Island tied their record high for the date with 39° and Barrow set a new daily record high with 29°.


For the second time in two days, and the third time in a week, high winds plagued the northwestern U.S. Winds in Oregon gusted to 60 mph at Cape Disappointment, and gusts in Washington State reached 67 mph at Bellingham. The first in a series of cold fronts began to produce heavy snow in the mountains of Washington and Oregon. 10 inches of snow fell at Timberline, OR.


A series of many intense storms started on this day and ended on the 16th. The storms brought a total of more than 20 inches of precipitation to the mountains and 8 to more than 16 inches to lower elevations. Two people were killed in an avalanche at Mt. Baldy. Flash flooding, mudslides, and road closures also occurred.


It was the final day of the Arctic Outbreak across the East. The temperature at Greene, RI dropped to -25° to establish the state's all-time low temperature record. Across parts of Florida, this was the coldest outbreak since the "Christmas freeze" of 1989 which caused significant loss of winter fresh fruits and vegetables. Crop damage was estimated at $109 million dollars. Strong winds caused wind chill values in the teens, and disrupted electrical service to over 20,000 customers. Shelters were opened in several counties.

Lynchburg, VA dropped to -10° tying their all-time record low. Burkes Garden plunged to -22°, which is one of the coldest temperatures ever recorded in Virginia.

Locations that reported February record low temperatures included: Elkins, WV: -22°-Tied (broke previous daily record by 11 degrees), Bristol, TN: -15°, Oak Ridge, TN: -13°, Charleston, WV: -12°, Wallops Island, VA: 3° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Columbus, GA: 10° (broke previous daily record by 11 degrees) and New Orleans, LA: 16°.

Locations that broke daily record lows included: Beckley, WV: -16°, Hartford, CT: -13°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: -10° (broke previous record by 17 degrees), Atlantic City, NJ: -8°, Knoxville, TN: -8°, Allentown, PA: -6°, Huntington, WV: -6°, Jackson, KY: -5° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Youngstown, OH: -3°, Richmond, VA: -2°, Baltimore, MD: -1°-Tied, Raleigh, NC: 0°, Islip, NY: 1°, Greensboro, NC: 1°-Tied, Roanoke, VA: -1°-Tied, Bridgeport, CT: 2°, Chattanooga, TN: 2° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Newark, NJ: 3°, Huntsville, AL: 4°, Paducah, KY: 5°, Birmingham, AL: 6°, Tupelo, MS: 7°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 7°, Meridian, MS: 8°, Montgomery, AL: 10°, Macon, GA: 10°, Jackson, MS: 10°, Mobile, AL: 11°, Augusta, GA: 11°, Pensacola, FL: 15°, Baton Rouge, LA: 15°, Shreveport, LA: 15°, Tallahassee, FL: 16°, Charleston, SC: 16°, Lake Charles, LA: 17°, Gainesville, FL: 18°, Jacksonville, FL: 19°, Houston, TX: 23°, Tampa, FL: 25°, Daytona Beach, FL: 26°, Orlando, FL: 26°, Vero Beach, FL: 30°, West Palm Beach, FL: 33° and Key West, FL: 45°-Tied.


High winds pushed mountains of ice against the northern shore of Lake Erie crushing several houses and cottages at Colchester, Ontario Canada.


Louisville, KY was in the middle of a three day snowstorm where 22.4 inches of snow fell on the city, their greatest snowstorm ever. The same record was set at Cincinnati, OH where 18.3 inches fell.


A snowstorm hit parts of the Mid-Atlantic from Delaware, extreme eastern Maryland, Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Accumulations varied greatly from 1 to 3 inches south and east of Philadelphia to over 18 inches in parts of northwestern New Jersey.


Dense fog with visibility at zero led to two separate pile-ups on Highway 99 both near Selma in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The larger pile-up involved a total of 63 cars and trucks with 24 vehicles involved in the second pile-up. A total of three people died and over 30 were injured.


The afternoon high of 41° at the Mount Washington Observatory, NH broke a daily record and was just two degrees shy of their monthly record.

On this date through the 7th, a cold front swept across western New York and as the cold air deepened, lake effect snows developed. Off Lake Erie, the strong westerly winds reduced visibilities to half a mile at times and pushed the lake effect snows well inland into parts of Livingston and Ontario counties. Specific snow amounts totaled during the 60-hour storm included: off Lake Erie: Warsaw: 26 inches, South Dayton: 24 inches, Perrysburg: 23 inches, Chaffee: 18 inches, Angelica: 12 inches and 10 inches at Friendship. Off Lake Ontario snow totals reported: Hooker: 33 inches, North Osceola: 16 inches, Lowville: 15 inches, Highmarket: 10 inches and 6 inches at West Monroe.

High winds developed briefly along the Foothills extending from Golden to near Boulder, CO. Peak wind gusts included: 92 mph at the National Wind Technology Center on Rocky Flats, 84 mph at Golden and 43 mph at Denver International Airport..


Winnipeg Manitoba Canada's temperature plummeted to -44°, the city's coldest day in 31 years. Wind chill values drop below -50°.

Godthab, Greenland's temperature soared to 45°.


On this date lasting into the early morning hours of the next day, an outbreak of 87 tornadoes occurred across 9 states in the mid-south, causing 58 fatalities. This was the deadliest U.S. tornado outbreak since 1985 and the second deadliest since 1950. The parent storms were sparked by a potent upper-level trough. Some of the worst damage was near Nashville and Memphis and in star-crossed Jackson, TN, which endured its third major tornado strike following hits in 1999 and 2003. Students at Union University dove for cover as dormitories were heavily damaged, but nobody died on campus. The longest tornado tracked for 123 miles across north-central Arkansas. Five violent tornadoes ranked as EF4 on the enhanced Fujita scale occurred during this event. This event has become known as Super Tuesday and the worst storm affecting the Jackson, MS service area produced several weak tornadoes across extreme southeast Arkansas and northwest Mississippi, but it also produced hail between baseball and softball size which damaged many vehicles.

A period of mild temperatures and rain on top of a melting snowpack led to widespread dense fog during the morning, closing numerous schools and causing many traffic accidents across east-central Illinois. One person in Vermilion County was killed in an accident. In the afternoon, thunderstorms formed along a warm front caused some severe weather south of I-70, with winds gusting from 60 to 70 mph. Flash flooding was reported on both sides of the front, due to the heavy rain and rapidly melting snow.


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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