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Weather History: February 6: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, wind, ice & snow

Meteorological events that happened on February 6th:


It was the famous "Cold Friday" across the Midwest and South. The temperature did not rise above 0° in Ohio and Kentucky.


Plum trees blossomed in South Carolina six weeks early as the south was enjoying one of their warmest winters on record. Weather patterns would change however by late March. An inch of ice would form on the St. John's River. The Six-Mile Creek in northern Florida recorded a temperature of 26°


A snowstorm dumped 6 inches at Williamsburg, VA and as much as 20 inches at Virginia Beach, VA. Over a foot of snow fell at Norfolk, VA.


A rare February lake effect snowfall buried the Oswego area in New York under six feet of snow.


On this date through the 8th, a severe blizzard buried parts of Nova Scotia Canada under 15.7 inches of snow. Rail traffic was disrupted as only trains with snowplows attached were able to push through.


The temperature fell to -90° at Oimaykon, Russia, the coldest temperature ever in Asia.


2.71 inches of rain fell at San Diego, CA, their third wettest calendar day and the wettest February day on record. 2.90 inches of rain fell, ending on the 7th, their greatest 24-hour amount for February on record. 2.60 inches fell in 12 hours. For the storm, 8.20 inches fell at Descanso, 5.70 inches at Escondido. 4.25 inches fell at Long Beach, a 24 hour record. Flooding killed many people. The Los Angeles Basin flooded in many communities. Hodges Dam overtopped. Mountain snowmelt added to the flooding.


Blizzard conditions occurred in parts of New England. 22.5 inches of snow fell at Warwick, NY.


Boston, MA recorded 27 inches of snow in the greatest snowstorm in New England's modern history. Traffic was at a standstill for five days. Motorists had to abandon their cars and take shelter with private citizens and in churches. The Boston Globe went undelivered for the first time in 106 years.


The "Great Blizzard of '78" buried cities across the northeastern U.S. Storm totals included: 30 inches at Tobyhanna, PA 18 inches at New York City, NY, 16 inches at Philadelphia, PA, 14 inches at Baltimore, MD and 25-30 inches around Boston, MA. The official reading of 27.1 inches at Boston, MA set their all-time single snowfall record and 23.6 inches in 24 hours set their 24-hour record. Some locations in northern Rhode Island recorded 38 to 50 inches of snow. The snow was accompanied by blizzard conditions with winds gusting to 40 to 50 mph, reducing visibility to near zero and causing drifts as high as 15-20 feet high. Thousands of cars were stranded on area interstates and eventually covered to their windshields in snow. All travel was banned for a week. Huge waves pounded the coastline. A 14-foot tide battered Portland, ME, the highest on record in the city. The intense low pressure of 984 millibars (29.06 inHg) was up against a huge 1052 millibar (31.07 inHg) high pressure system causing very high winds that gusted as high as 92 mph at Chatham, MA. The storm killed 99 people and caused over $600 million in damage, $500 million in Massachusetts alone.

Behind the storm some locations from the Midwest to the Tennessee Valley reported record low temperatures for the date including: Waterloo, IA: -17°, Des Moines, IA: -12°, South Bend, IN: -11°, Springfield, IL: -10°, St. Louis, MO: -8°, Springfield, MO: -1°, Paducah, KY: 1°, Bristol, TN: 7°-Tied, Memphis, TN: 14°, Jackson, MS: 19° and Mobile, AL: 25°.


Low pressure dumped heavy snow over eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. The storm moved out the next day and left 12.4 inches of snow at Norfolk, VA, their biggest snowstorm since December 1892. Elizabeth City, NC was buried under 20 inches.


A deep upper level trough combined with arctic high pressure across the central Plains brought record low temperatures from the Midwest to the southern Plains including: St. Cloud, MN: -33°, Alamosa, CO: -25°, La Crosse, WI: -22°, Topeka, KS: -21°, Wichita, KS: -21° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Rockford, IL: -20°, Waterloo, IA: -19°, Kansas City, MO: -19°, Dubuque, IA: -18°, Marquette, MI: -18°, Sioux City, IA: -17°, Pocatello, ID: -16°, Moline, IL: -16°, Springfield, IL: -16°, Peoria, IL: -15°, Chicago, IL: -14°, Milwaukee, WI: -14°, Des Moines, IA: -13°, Dodge City, KS: -10°, Columbia, MO: -7°, Burns, OR: -6°, Toledo, OH: -6°, Evansville, IN: -4°, Tulsa, OK: 5°, Wichita Falls, TX: 10°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 11°, Abilene, TX: 12°, San Angelo, TX: 13°, Dallas (DFW), TX: 14°, Dallas (Love Field), TX: 14°-Tied, Las Vegas, NV: 19°, Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 21°, San Antonio, TX: 21°, Del Rio, TX: 24°, Corpus Christi, TX: 28° and Houston, TX: 28°.


Record warmth occurred across parts of the upper Midwest and Plains while Santa Ana winds hit San Diego County, California in to the next day. Gusts up to 75 mph were recorded at Cuyamaca and the Palomar Mountain areas. Wind gusts to 60 mph hit Brown Field and Warner Springs, 40 mph at Julian and Valley Center. 35 mph gusts hit San Diego. A plane flipped over at Brown Field. Winds forced a sailboat into the rocks at Pt. Loma. I-8 was closed for two hours in eastern San Diego County. Trees, power lines and fences were downed, causing damage and power outages.

Locations from the upper Midwest to the West Coast that reported record highs for the date included: Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 86°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 84°, Long Beach, CA: 84°, Santa Maria, CA: 83°, Redding, CA: 76°, Stockton, CA: 70°-Tied, Eureka, CA: 69°, San Francisco, CA: 66°, Havre, MT: 63°, Quillayute, WA: 62°, Pierre, SD: 62°, Huron, SD: 61°, Kennebec, SD: 61°, Lewiston, ID: 60°-Tied, Aberdeen, SD: 58°, Timber Lake, SD: 58°, Wheaton, SD: 58°, Sisseton, SD: 57°, Mobridge, SD: 56°, Sioux Falls, SD: 55°, Watertown, SD: 53°, St. Cloud, MN: 50° and Rochester, MN: 43°.

Brownsville, TX was deluged with 7 inches of rain in just 2 hours. Flooding in some parts of the city was worse than that caused by Hurricane Beulah in 1967.


Squalls in the Great Lakes Region produced a foot of snow at Arcade, NY in just three hours.

Arctic cold invaded the south central and eastern U.S. Many cities reported new record low temperatures for the date including: Portland, ME: -13°, Hartford, CT: -5°-Tied, Lexington, KY: 0°, Jackson, KY: 2°, Louisville, KY: 3°-Tied, Nashville, TN: 5°, Oak Ridge, TN: 8°-Tied, Huntsville, AL: 10°, Chattanooga, TN: 10°, Memphis, TN: 11°, Birmingham, AL: 15°, Meridian, MS: 17°, Jackson, MS: 18°, Shreveport, LA: 20°-Tied and Redding, CA: 29°.


Much of the western half of the country was in the midst of one of the most severe arctic outbreaks of the century. Temperatures in the Yukon of western Canada were comparable to those prior to the arctic blasts of December 1983, and winds above 100 mph ushered the bitterly cold air into western Montana. Many cities in the western U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date. Lows of -33° at Richfield, UT and -30° at Ely, Nevada and were all-time records for those locations. Locations that reported February records included: Lodgepole, CA: -12°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 12° and Stockton, CA: 22°-Tied. Locations that reported daily record lows included: Elko, NV: -29°, Burns, OR: -25° (broke previous record by 19 degrees), Alamosa, CO: -25°-Tied, Pueblo, CO: -23°, Pocatello, ID: -21°, Casper, WY: -20°, Grand Junction, CO: -18°, Winnemucca, NV: -17°-Tied, Reno, NV: -15°, Salt Lake City, UT: -14°, Boise, ID: -11°, Denver, CO: -11°, Big Bear Lake, CA: -3°, Winslow, AZ: -3°, Olympia, WA: 5°, Albuquerque, NM: 5°-Tied, Bishop, CA: 7°, Eugene, OR: 8° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Abilene, TX: 9°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 9°, Idyllwild, CA: 10°, Wichita Falls, TX: 10°-Tied, Medford, OR: 12°, San Angelo, TX: 12°, Portland, OR: 15°, Victorville, CA: 19°, Quillayute, WA: 19°, Las Vegas, NV: :19°-Tied, Astoria, OR: 21°, San Antonio, TX: 21°-Tied, Del Rio, TX: 22°, Sacramento, CA: 24°, Santa Maria, CA: 24°, Houston, TX: 24°, Victoria, TX: 24°, Redding, CA: 26°, Corpus Christi, TX: 26°, Eureka, CA: 27°, Borrego Springs, CA: 27°, Bakersfield, CA: 27°-Tied, Galveston, TX: 30°-Tied, San Francisco Airport, CA: 31°, Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 34° and Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 35°.

Logan Canyon, UT was the cold spot in the nation, with a reading of -54° and Craig, CO reported a low of -51°.


A second cold front brought more heavy snow to the high elevations of Oregon, with 12 inches reported at Sunset Summit. Crater Lake and Mount Bachelor were blanketed with 10 inches of snow. Heavy snow also blanketed northeastern Nevada and parts of Washington State. In Nevada, up to a foot of snow was reported between Spring Creek and Lamoille. Stevens Pass, WA received 14 inches of snow in 24 hours.


A freak snowstorm dumped up to 20 inches of snow on parts of Kentucky between the evening of the 3rd and the morning of the 6th. At Louisville, KY, the snowfall total from the storm stood at 22.4 inches, enough to establish a new record for the greatest snowstorm ever in the city's history. Deep snow covered parts of Central and Eastern Kentucky as well as Southern Ohio.

El Niño kicked into gear. Heavy rain that started on this day and ended on the 9th brought up to three inches of rainfall to Southern California. Catastrophic and widespread flooding resulted, especially in Newport Beach and Irvine. Lots of property damage occurred in southern Orange County. Evacuations and swift water rescues were needed. Landslides, mud slides, and sinkholes occurred. Roads, bridges, and railroads were damaged. A wind gust of 96 mph was clocked at the California Highway Patrol station at the base of the Grapevine, 25 miles southwest of Bakersfield.


Over a week of heavy snow started on this day and ended on the 14th across parts of southern California. The snowfall was called “most in a decade.” Five feet fell at Blue Jay and Mountain High, two feet at Snow Summit, and five to 12 inches at Apple Valley. Mountain High reported 12 inches of new snow on this day. The roof of an ice rink caved in at Blue Jay.

A winter storm dropped 12 to 24 inches of snow across New Brunswick, Canada. Charlo received 19.3 inches and Bathurst recorded 17.7 inches of snow.


An avalanche buried 20 cars under snow near the Salang tunnel which leads through some of Afghanistan's highest mountains.


A tornado tore through villages in a remote region of the Congo in Africa, killing 164 people and injuring 1,700 others.


An area of low pressure moved into central Illinois during the morning, continuing northeast into Indiana later that day. North of the low, bands of snow already started to affect the area on the afternoon the previous day, but increased in intensity during the early morning hours on this date. Thunder snow was reported from eastern Iowa into southern Wisconsin during the early morning, leading to 2 inch per hour snow accumulations rates. Some snow totals from this event include: Sinsinawa, WI: 18 inches, Hazel Green, WI: 14 inches, Cuba City, WI: 13 inches, Platteville, WI: 10.5 inches, Guttenberg, IA: 10 inches, Lancaster, WI: 8.7 inches, Elkader, IA: 8.4 inches, Strawberry Point, IA: 7.8 inches and Muscoda, WI: 7.5 inches.

Near blizzard conditions occur across part of Lower Michigan with snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour. A wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain occurred from Kalamazoo to Jackson, MI. The storm dropped more than 8 inches of snow at Grand Rapids, contributing to their snowiest February on record.


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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