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Weather History: January 10: Record temps, storms, tornadoes, snow & flooding

Meteorological events that happened on January 10th:


18 inches of snow fell at Savannah, GA and 10 inches at Charleston, SC; the heaviest snow for the immediate Coastal Plain of the southeastern U.S. 5 inches fell at St. Mary's River, FL.


“The Big Snow” dumped as much as 40 inches of snow over northern and western Pennsylvania and interior New York State. As much as 2 feet fell across southern New Jersey. 18 inches was recorded at New York City, NY and 15 inches fell at Philadelphia, PA.


The coldest daytime ever experienced in New York City and throughout New England occurred. Accurate thermometers were commonplace and well distributed by this time although most of them were not self-registering, meaning that observations had to be made visually, usually 3 times daily at 7am, 2pm, and 9pm. Montreal, Quebec Canada reported a 7am reading of -43.6°, a reading some 15 degrees lower than its modern record minimum of -29° set in 1933. Harvard at Cambridge, MA registered only -4.5° at 2pm. In New York, the official thermometer located at Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn registered the following temperature range: 7am: -3.7°, 11am: -7.5°, 2pm: -3.8°, 9pm: -8°. White Plains, just north of the city, reported readings of -13° at 7am, -10° at 2pm and -15° at 9pm. This was likely the only day in New York City history when the temperature failed to rise above 0°.


A severe blizzard struck Minnesota, killing 70 settlers, injuring countless others and destroying thousands of livestock.


The temperature fell 47° in just 15 minutes at Rapid City, S.D.


Victoria in Australia recorded their hottest day on record when the high reached 117° at Mildura.


Snow was reported at San Diego, CA for the first and only time since 1882. Snow was noted even on some of the beaches in parts of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Burbank reported 4.7 inches, and Long Beach and Laguna Beach received one inch of snow. The biggest snowstorm to hit Las Vegas, NV began on this date and continued through the 12th. A total of 9.7 inches of snow was recorded.

Many locations across from the Rockies to the West Coast reported record cold. Grant Grove, CA plunged to -6°; their all-time coldest reading on record.

Locations that reported daily record lows included: Billings, MT: -22°, Sheridan, WY: -21°, Ely, NV: -20°, Yakima, WA: -5°, Lewiston, ID: -5°-Tied, Reno, NV: -4°, Medford, OR: 6°, Bishop, CA: 8°, Olympia, WA: 8°, Seattle, WA: 12°, Palomar Mountain, FL: 14°, Portland, OR: 16°, Fresno, CA: 18°, Astoria, OR: 18°, Stockton, CA: 20°, Santa Maria, CA: 22°, Riverside, CA: 25°, Sacramento, CA: 25°, Eureka, CA: 28°, San Francisco Airport, CA: 29°, Long Beach, CA: 31°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 31° and Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 32°.

Meanwhile, high pressure across the southeast produced record high temperatures out ahead of a strong cold front from the southern states to the Tennessee Valley.

Jackson, MS set their all-time record for January with 85° and Meridian, MS tied their January record high with 83°.

Locations that reported daily record highs included: Mobile, AL: 82°, Montgomery, AL: 82°, Columbia, SC: 82°, Birmingham, AL: 81°, Macon, GA: 81°, Savannah, GA: 81°, Augusta, GA: 80°, Columbus, GA: 80°, Tallahassee, FL: 80°-Tied, Charleston, SC: 79°, Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: 79°, Chattanooga, TN: 78°, Huntsville, AL: 77°, New Orleans, LA: 77°, Tupelo, MS: 77°, Atlanta, GA: 76°, Knoxville, TN: 76°, Charlotte, NC: 76°, Nashville, TN: 75°, Greensboro, NC: 73°, Paducah, KY: 70° and Oak Ridge, TN: 67°.


A massive landslide of ice, rock and mud crashed down the side of Peru's highest Mountain, Nevado de Huascaram. The mass of debris, nearly 50 feet deep, moved 11 miles in 15 minutes and was as wide as one mile. 3,500 people were killed.


An ice storm that began on the 8th ending on this date covered much of southeast Oklahoma with a thick layer of ice. As much as a half inch accumulated on many roadways in parts of McCurtain, Atoka, Pittsburg and Coal Counties. Traffic problems were numerous, including a 40 car pile up on highway 69 between Atoka and Kiowa.

Further east, some locations across the northeast reported record low temperatures for the date including: Burlington, VT: -22°, Albany, NY: -13°, Worcester, MA: -5°, Binghamton, NY: -3°, Bridgeport, CT: -1°, Milton, MA: -1°-Tied, Newark, NJ: 3°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 3° and New York (LaGuardia), NY: 4°.


Arctic high pressure over the Tennessee Valley combined with an upper level trough brought record cold from the Mid-Atlantic States to the Tennessee Valley into all of Florida. Locations that reported record low temperatures included: Elkins, WV: -11°, Bristol, TN: -9°, Lynchburg, VA: -4°, Knoxville, TN: -4°, Oak Ridge, TN: 0°, Asheville, NC: 1°, Raleigh, NC: 3°, Wilmington, DE: 4°, Chattanooga, TN: 4°, Charlotte, NC: 4°-Tied, Columbia, SC: 5°, Roanoke, VA: 6°, Augusta, GA: 7°, Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: 9°, Wallops Island, VA: 10°, Macon, GA: 11°, Charleston, SC: 12°, Columbus, GA: 12°, Savannah, GA: 12°, Tallahassee, FL: 12°, Wilmington, NC: 13°, Cape Hatteras, NC: 15°, Jacksonville, FL: 21°-Tied, Brooksville, FL: 22°, Mountain Lake, FL: 22°, Plant City, FL: 23°, Tampa, FL: 24°, Bartow, FL: 24°, St. Leo, FL: 24°, Weekiwachee, FL: 24°, Arcadia, FL: 25°, Lakeland, FL: 25°, Orlando, FL: 26°, Vero Beach, FL: 26°, Parrish FL: 26°, Tarpon Springs, FL: 26°, Winter Haven, FL: 26°, Daytona Beach, CA: 27°, Sarasota-Bradenton, FL: 28°, Venice, FL: 28°, West Palm Beach, FL: 29°, St. Petersburg, FL: 31°, Fort Myers, FL: 32°, Miami, FL: 35° and Key West, FL: 48°-Tied.


The United Kingdom recorded their mildest January day on record when the high reached -0.9° at Aber, North Wales.


54 people were killed and another 350 were injured as a tornado hit San Justo, some 300 miles northwest of Buenos Aries, Argentina in South America.


An intense area of low pressure moved from eastern Iowa through eastern Minnesota. The storm center set many low pressure records as it moved across eastern Minnesota. Duluth, MN reported a barometric pressure reading of 28.55 inHg. New snow of 3 to 6 inches across much of Minnesota began to blow and drift on the morning of the 10th and then developed into a full blown blizzard with heavy snowfall developing. The blizzard continued over all of the state through the 11th with winds of 30 to 50 mph with gusts up to 80 mph. Drifts up to 20 foot high developed in west central Minnesota paralyzing activity. Snowfall amounts from 1 to 2 feet occurred. Numerous roads were closed due to drifting and low visibility. Numerous sustained power outages occurred, particularly in rural sections. Thousands of people were stranded with 168 people trapped in a train at Willmar. Wind chills ranged from -50° to -80° behind the storm. Extensive losses to life and property occurred. There were 35 deaths during the storm and many injuries. Tens of thousands of livestock and poultry losses also occurred with 140 farm buildings damaged or destroyed. Losses to livestock and property were over $20 million dollars. It took 11 days to clear some areas. Shelter was provided for nearly 17,000 people.
Across South Dakota, snow began to fall during the afternoon and then the winds increased and reached blizzard conditions by evening. These severe blizzard conditions continued on through the 11th and through the morning of the 12th. Wind chills fell to -50° to -70°. Many cars stalled on roads due to poor visibility, icy roads, and blowing and drifting snow. 8 people lost their lives. Thousands of livestock and poultry were lost. During the blizzard, a 2,000 foot radio and TV antenna just east of Sioux Falls, SD collapsed.

In the warm sector, an F4 tornado struck McComb, MS just after 8am, hitting two schools as 325 students took shelter. Fortunately, only 5 people were injured. The twister destroyed 88 homes and 30 businesses across the city. Nine people were killed along the tornadoes 47 mile path.

A strong southwesterly flow ahead of the powerful storm and cold front brought record high temperatures from parts of the Great Lakes to Florida including: Fort Myers, FL: 86°, Tampa, FL: 83°, Oak Ridge, TN: 69°, Louisville, KY: 66°, Lexington, KY: 64°, Evansville, IN: 62°, Indianapolis, IN: 62°, Springfield, IL: 61°, South Bend, IN: 61°, Cincinnati, OH: 61°-Tied, Chicago, IL: 60°, Fort Wayne, IN: 60°, Peoria, IL: 59°, Columbus, OH: 59°-Tied, Muskegon, MI: 58° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Akron, OH: 58°, Dayton, OH: 58°, Moline, IL: 57°, Grand Rapids, MI: 57°, Mansfield, OH: 57°-Tied, Lansing, MI: 55°, Rockford, IL: 55°-Tied, Madison, WI: 53°, Milwaukee, WI: 52°-Tied, Green Bay, WI: 48°-Tied and Marquette, MI: 40°.


An arctic blast covered the eastern two-thirds of the country. Wind chills went down to -50° with the coldest wind chill reading of -98° reported at Fargo, ND. Despite the blast only a few locatiuons reported record lows for the date including: Ste. St. Marie, MI: -27°, Providence, RI: 3° and Jackson, KY: 11°.


January 10-11 were the most uncomfortable days ever recorded east of the Rockies according to NOAA as one of coldest air masses in the twentieth century was affecting the United States and an intense Arctic high pressure system over Saskatchewan with a central barometric pressure of 31.15 inHg brought brutal record cold across the upper Mississippi Valley and the Plains. Ste. St, Marie, MI set their record low for January with -36°. The temperature at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, IL plunged to a record low of -26° and high winds drove the wind chill reading to -77°. The temperature in Downtown Chicago fell to -23° while the University of Chicago dropped to -21°. Fort Wayne had a high temperature of just -7°. The lowest temperature in the nation was -37° at Bemidji, MN. Further to the north, Sudbury, Ontario Canada dropped to -38.7° establishing, their coldest night on record. Miserable conditions prevailed at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, OH where the San Diego Chargers played the Bengals in an NFL playoff game with a kickoff temperature of -9°.

Over 800 hockey fans were stranded after a game in the Memorial Auditorium at Buffalo, NY as 25 inches of snow dumped on the city. Muskegon, MI reported their snowiest calendar day on record with 22 inches from lake effect.

Much of the Northern Plains was in the midst of a ground blizzard. While only 1 to 3 inches of snow fell from the 9th through the 12th, winds at 20 to 40 mph led to widespread areas of blowing snow. The blowing snow reduced visibilities and drifted snow to five feet deep closing many roads. For three days extremely cold temperatures as low as -30° combined with the 20 to 40 mph winds to produce extremely dangerous wind chills of -50° to -100°.

Locations that reported record lows for the date included: Williston, ND: -35°-Tied, St. Cloud, MN: -30°, Watertown, SD: -30°, Wheaton, SD: -30°, Timber Lake, SD: -29°, Rochester, MN: -28°, Mobridge, SD: -28°, Sisseton, SD: -28°, Waterloo, IA: -27°, Rockford, IL: -27° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Chicago, IL: -26° (broke previous record by 14 degrees), Valentine, NE: -26°, Sioux Falls, SD: -26°, Kennebec, SD: -26°, Dubuque, IA: -25°, Green Bay, WI: -25°, Milwaukee, WI: -25°, Rapid City, SD: -24°, Moline, IL: -23°, Norfolk, NE: -23°, Pierre, SD: -23°, Sioux City, IA: -22°, Des Moines, IA: -22°, Omaha, NE: -22°, Madison, WI: -22°-Tied, Alpena, MI: -21°, Grand Island, NE: -20°, Columbia, MO: -19°, Peoria, IL: -18°, Springfield, IL: -18°, Lincoln, NE: -18°, Kansas City, MO: -17° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), North Platte, NE: -17, Marquette, MI: -16, Indianapolis, IN: -16, Concordia, KS: -16, Fort Wayne, IN: -15°, South Bend, IN: -15°, Topeka, KS: -15°, St. Louis, MO: -15°, Dayton, OH: -15°, Cincinnati, OH: -14°, Mansfield, OH: -13°, Beckley, WV: -13°, Lexington, KY: -11°, Louisville, KY: -11°, Springfield, MO: -11°, Columbus, OH: -11°, Elkins, WV: -11°-Tied, Wichita, KS: -10°, Jackson, KY: -10° (broke previous record by 21 degrees), Akron, OH: -10°, Huntington, WV: -9°, Paducah, KY: -8°, Burns, OR: -8°, Buffalo, NY: -7°, Charleston, WV:: -7°, Asheville, NC: -6°, Binghamton, NY: -6°, Muskegon, MI: -4°, Oak Ridge, TN: -3°, Atlanta, GA: -2°, Avoca, PA: -2°, Roanoke, VA: -2°, Milton, MA: -1°-Tied, Huntsville, AL: 0°, Newark, NJ: 0°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 0°, Wilmington, DE: 1°, Chattanooga, TN: 1°, Birmingham, AL: 2°, Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: 2°, Harrisburg, PA: 2°-Tied, Atlantic City, NJ: 3°, Providence, RI: 3°-Tied, Dallas (DFW), TX: 7°, Norfolk, VA: 7°, Wallops Island, VA: 8°, Wilmington, NC: 9°, Columbus, GA: 11°, Cape Hatteras, NC: 11°, Macon, GA: 11°-Tied and Waco, TX: 11°-Tied.

A "snow devil" developed at Edinboro, PA. A funnel shaped vortex about 100 feet tall 20 to 25 feet wide formed, ripping small trees out of the ground.

Across the Atlantic, Newport, Shropshire, England recorded Britain's coldest day on record when the temperature dropped to -15°. Braemar, Scotland recorded Scotland’s coldest day on record as the temperature plummeted to -17°.


Bitterly cold air invaded the Rocky Mountain Region, with subzero readings reported as far south as Gallop, NM. Pocatello, ID and Redding, CA reported record lows with -14° and 27 respectively.


A storm in the northwestern U.S. produced wind gusts to 97 mph at Netarts, OR, and up to 2 feet of snow in the mountains of Oregon.


Clear skies, light winds, and up to 24 inches of snow cover, allowed the temperature to plunge to -45° at Roseau, MN, and to -43° at Warroad, MN. The afternoon high at Grand Forks, ND was -16°.

The first documented January tornado on record in Utah struck the south part of Sandy. Asphalt shingles were driven a half inch into a fence.


Strong southerly winds ahead of a Pacific cold front helped temperatures from the West to the central U.S. soared to record levels. Many cities across the central U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date, with afternoon highs in the 70s reported as far north as Nebraska and eastern Colorado. Highs of 80° at Clayton, NM, 76° at Grand Island, NE, 73° at Lincoln & North Platte, NE and 53° at Devils Lake, ND, all established records for the month of January.

Locations that reported daily record highs included: Phoenix, AZ: 84°, Borrego Springs, FL: 81°, Wichita Falls, TX: 78°, Tulsa, OK: 76°, Fort Smith, AR: 75°, Oklahoma City, OK: 75°, Amarillo, TX: 74°-Tied, Pueblo, CO: 74°, Goodland, KS: 74°, Denver, CO: 71°, Topeka, KS: 71°, Colorado Springs, CO: 70°, Norfolk, NE: 70°, Las Vegas, NV: 69°-Tied, Valentine, NE: 68°, Rapid City, SD: 66°, Scottsbluff, NE: 66°-Tied, Flagstaff, AZ: 65°, Sioux City, IA: 64°, Albuquerque, NM: 63°, Reno, NV: 63°, Big Bear Lake, CA: 62°, Ely, NV: 61°, Casper, WY: 59°, Huron, SD: 57°-Tied, Sioux Falls, SD: 56°, Helena, MT: 56°-Tied, Aberdeen, SD: 55°, Bismarck, ND: 54°, Grand Forks, ND: 52°, Glasgow, MT: 49°, Minneapolis, MN: 49°, St. Cloud, MN: 49°, Fargo, ND: 47°, Williston, ND: 47° and International Falls, MN: 39°.

A third consecutive day of 50 to 85 mph wind gusts occurred across the eastern Foothills of Colorado. A 5-mile portion of the Denver-Boulder turnpike was closed after clouds of blowing dust and gravel caused several multi-car accidents near Broomfield. The Jefferson County Airport reported a wind gust of 81 mph. One person was killed and two others injured.

A five-day snowstorm ending on the 15th covered Valdez, AK with 60.7 inches of snow.


Salt Lake City, UT recorded their greatest snowstorm in history with 23.3 inches of snow over 4 days breaking the previous record of 21.6 inches set from 3/12 -15/1944.

A deep, Atlantic gale off the northwest coast of Scotland bottomed out between 912 and 916 millibars (26.93 & 27.05 inHg) setting a new record low sea-level pressure for North Atlantic temperate latitudes.


Record rains ended a 4-year drought in California and caused extensive flooding. All-time 24-hour rainfall records included Santa Barbara with 7.10 inches and Sacramento with 3.74 inches. Totals exceeded 8 inches in most areas for the first half of the month. Nearly 30 inches of precipitation fell in the mountains.


The third in a series of four storms in 10 days dumped heavy snows over the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The Washington/Baltimore area was just digging out from the blizzard two days earlier when another 3 to 6 inches fell. The 2.6 inches at Philadelphia, PA brought its monthly snow total to 33.7 inches, their snowiest month on record. The clipper intensified over the waters just east of New England on this date and produced up to 9 inches of snow over northeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. Boston, MA received 5.4 inches increasing their snow cover to 32 inches, which set an all-time record.

The final storm struck on the 12 dumping another 2 to 6 inches. A maximum of 10 inches of snow fell over Highland and western Loudoun Counties in Virginia.


On this date through the 14th, a 5-day lake effect snowfall event dumped a record 95 inches at Montague, NY, 40 inches of which fell in 12 hours. Over the 24-hour period, the Lewis County site recorded 77 inches, a new U.S. record.

On the 9th through this date, an Alberta clipper brought 2 to 7 inches of snow on top of an already 2 to 5 feet deep snowpack covering Central North and South Dakota. Schools in Faulkton closed for a state record of 13 days. The only entrance/exit to some homes partially buried by snowdrifts was by crawling in and out of windows.


A strong winter storm that started on this day and ended on the 11th brought 2 to 4 inches of rain to the coast and the valleys across southern California. Flash flooding occurred at Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove and Costa Mesa. 13 to 18 inches of snow fell in the Idyllwild area and 3 inches of snow blanketed Phelan along with a wind gust of 71 mph. A funnel cloud was observed at the Orange County Airport.


An international snowmobile race at Eagle River, WI was nearly cancelled for lack of snow. A snowless winter was forcing winter festival organizers all over the upper Midwest to truck in their snow. The world’s largest ice fishing contest at Brainerd, MN had to be cancelled because the ice was not thick enough for vehicles to drive on the frozen lakes.


A deadly mudslide near La Conchita, CA claimed 10 lives. The slide resulted from more than two weeks of heavy rain that deluged Southern California. Los Angeles recorded their wettest 15-day period on record, from 12/27/2004 through this date, 16.97 inches of rain fell. The amount exceeded the city's normal annual rainfall of 15.13 inches.

Further north, four days of rain, from the 7th through this date, resulted in widespread flooding through the Kern County section of the Mojave Desert. Up to 100 homes near Rosamond had water damage. In a 24-hour period ending during the morning on this date, 2.57” of rain fell in Rosamond with 0.75 inches in just two hours.


Three tornadoes touched down in the southwest corner of Washington State in Clark County. In Vancouver, one tornado hit a residential area, downing power lines, uprooting trees and tossing shopping carts into cars, but there were no reports of injuries. The tornado also demolished a rowing club in Vancouver.


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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