Skip to main content
Report this ad

See also:

Weather History: January 13: Record temps, storms, ice, tropics & flooding

Meteorological events that happened on January 13th:


Flooding in California, known as the “Nochian Flood,” produced a vast sea in the Sacramento Valley. San Francisco, CA had a total rainfall for the month of 24.36 inches.


The mercury plunged to -65° at Fort Keough, located near Miles City, MT. The reading stood as a record for the continental U.S. for 66 years.


A tropical cyclone struck the Society Islands in the South Pacific, causing a storm surge as high as 40 feet. 1,000 people were killed.


The Great Cold Wave of January 1912 a record cold wave gripped areas from the upper Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic. Records set in Maryland during this period remain to the present day. It was close, but not quite cold enough to break the records in Virginia set during the February 1899 "Great Arctic Outbreak". The cold wave of 1912 hit on January 5 and continued until February 16. It was one of the most severe and longest in duration on record. Ice formed on the rivers and the Chesapeake Bay Region.

That makes this day one of only five days in the official climate history of Washington (11/1/1870- present) to have a maximum temperature less than 10°. The first time was on 12/30/1880 when the high was also 9°. A high temperature of 8° has occurred twice - (1/13/1912) and 1/19/1994. The coldest maximum ever recorded in Washington occurred on 2/10/1899: 4°.

The record low temperature for the state of Maryland was set at Oakland when the temperature fell to -40°.

Locations that reported daily record lows included: Mobridge, SD: -42°, Aberdeen, SD: -40°, Rochester, MN: -39°, Waterloo, IA: -32°, La Crosse, WI: -25°, Ste. St. Marie, MI: -25°, Green Bay, WI: -20°, Madison, WI: -20°, Elkins, WV: -20°, Columbia, MO: -19°, Dayton, OH: -19°, Dubuque, IA: -18°, Peoria, IL: -17°, Lansing, MI: -17°, Williamsport, PA: -17°, Rockford, IL: -16°, Akron, OH: -13°, Syracuse, NY: -13°, Kansas City, MO: -12°, Springfield, MO: -12°, Huntington, WV: -12°, Springfield, IL: -11°, Milton, MA: -11°, Erie, PA: -9°, Worcester, MA: -9°, St. Louis, MO: -8°, South Bend, IN: -8°, Washington, D.C.: -8°, Tulsa, OK: -6°, Evansville, IN: -6°, Indianapolis, IN: -6°, Charleston, WV: -6°, Hartford, CT: -6°, Pittsburgh, PA: -6°, Providence, RI: -6°, Wichita, KS: -5°, Boston, MA: -5°, Harrisburg, PA: -5°, Boston, MA: -5°, New York (Central Park), NY: -3°, Muskegon, MI: -2°, Wilmington, DE: -1°, Baltimore, MD: 0°, Philadelphia, PA: 0°, Oklahoma City, OK: 1°, Memphis, TN: 1°, Richmond, VA: 1°, Fort Smith, AR: 3°, Little Rock, AR: 3°, Waco, TX: 4°, Dallas (DFW), TX: 7°, Huntsville, AL: 11°, Meridian, MS: 12°, Norfolk, VA: 13°, Austin, TX: 14°, Houston, TX: 17°, Victoria, TX: 18°, San Antonio, TX: 18°, Galveston, TX: 22° and Brownsville, TX: 24°.


The temperature at Rapid City, SD rose 64° in 14 hours.


Extreme cold affected the Plains and Midwest. Bismarck, ND tied their all-time record low with -45°.

Locations that reported daily record lows included: Williston, ND: -41°, International Falls, MN: -41°, Watertown, SD: -40°, Grand Rapids, ND: -40°, Huron, SD: -40°, Kennebec, SD: -39°, Wheaton, SD: -38°, Timber Lake, SD: -37°, Fargo, ND: -37°, Sioux Falls, SD: -36°, St. Cloud, MN: -35°, Duluth, MN: -33°, Valentine, NE: -30°, Minneapolis, MN: -30°, Norfolk, NE: -28°, Sioux City, IA: -28°, La Crosse, WI: -25°-Tied, Omaha, NE: -22°, Dubuque, IA: -22°, Madison, WI: -22°, Moline, IL: -22°, Lincoln, NE: -21°, Grand Island, NE: -20, Des Moines, IA: -20, Rockford, IL: -17, Peoria, IL: -17-Tied, Concordia, KS: -16°, Milwaukee, WI: -15°, Goodland, KS: -15°, Topeka, KS: -15°, Kansas City, MO: -14°, Tulsa, OK: -12°, Wichita, KS: -11°, Oklahoma City, OK: -4°, Lubbock, TX: 3°, Abilene, TX: 9° and Dallas, TX: 9°.


The Ohio River floods covered most of the town of Jeffersonville, sending 13,000 people fleeing. 90,000 people were forced to evacuate Evansville, IN. 70% of Louisville, KY was inundated. Paducah, KY was deserted in the face of the rising water.


A damaging ice storm paralyzed the area from Texas to Mississippi, causing $18 million dollars in damage.


The coldest and snowiest month on record, 57.2 inches, at Seattle, WA was highlighted by a major blizzard that dumped up to 50 inches of snow in some areas and dropped temperatures to below 0°. 13 people died in the storm that paralyzed parts of eastern Washington, northern Idaho and Oregon. 21.4 inches of snow fell at the SEA-TAC airport.


During the first days of this year, the Southern Pacific Railroad found itself battling a series of fierce winter snow storms that threatened all train operations. Their flagship passenger train, the Streamliner City of San Francisco finally set out over the Sierras on this date. The train became trapped in an avalanche. It would take 3 days to free the 226 passengers. Unfortunately, two rescuers perished.


The low temperature reached 8°, which tied the all-time coldest temperature ever recorded in Las Vegas. This also tied for the coldest day ever in Las Vegas with a daily average temperature of 20°.

Edwards AFB, CA dropped to a frigid 3 degrees, setting their all-time record low.

Locations that reported daily record lows included; Lubbock, TX: -16°, Amarillo, TX: -8°, Big Bear Lake, CA: 2°, Paducah, KY: 2°, Abilene, TX: 8°, Wichita Falls, TX: 8°, Victorville, CA: 9°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 9°, El Paso, TX: 11°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 13°, San Angelo, TX: 14°, Shreveport, LA: 14°, Fresno, CA: 19°, Lake Charles, LA: 19°, Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 20°, Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX: 20°, Bakersfield, CA: 20°, Corpus Christi, TX: 22°, Riverside, CA: 24°, Palm Springs, CA: 28° and San Diego, CA: 31°.


A large, slow moving snowstorm hit the Mid Atlantic and New England. Williamsport, PA was buried under 24 inches of snow. Scranton, PA checked in with 19 inches and Nantucket, MA recorded 19 inches.


Students at an elementary school in suburban Atlanta, GA had to be evacuated into the teeth of a severe thunderstorm after the school was struck by lightning, causing a fire.


The temperature of -60° and wind speed of 35 mph produced a wind-chill temperature of -110° at Pelly Bay, Northwest Territories Canada.


The winter of 1977-78 was cold and snowy. This date marked the first of 67 straight days in Springfield, IL with at least one inch of snow on the ground, a record for the city.


A massive blizzard dumps heavy snow across southern Lower Michigan. Temperatures in the teens and strong winds lead to heavy drifting of the powdery snow, causing travel to come to a halt. The snow, at times falling at more than an inch an hour, caused power outages due to broken tree limbs. Snow accumulations were up to 3 feet, causing some roofs to collapse. South Haven, MI had 21 inches of new snow added to 24 inches already on the ground. Chicago, IL reported 16.5 inches with up to two feet around town. Grand Rapids, MI saw 13.5 inches of snow and 2 to 4 foot drifts with wind gusts between 25 and 35 mph. Peoria, IL reported 12.2 inches and Rockford, IL checked in with 9.5 inches.


The mercury plunged to 41° at Key West, FL; tying their coldest reading ever at this farthest south location across the lower 48. This reading first occurred on 1/12/1886.

Locations across the East that reported record lows for the date included: Concord, NH: -21°, Avoca, PA: -13°, Hartford, CT: -9°, Binghamton, NY: -7°, Atlantic City, NJ: -6°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: -3°, Allentown, PA: -3°, Wilmington, DE: -2°, Newark, NJ: 0°, Philadelphia, PA: 0°-Tied, Baltimore, MD: 0°-Tied, Bridgeport, CT: 3°, Raleigh, NC: 4°, New York (LaGuardia ), NY: 4°, Wallops Island, VA: 6°, Wilmington, NC: 7°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 8°, Tallahassee, FL: 8°, Macon, GA: 12°, Norfolk, VA: 12°, Jackson, KY: 13°, Jacksonville, FL: 13°, Charleston, SC: 13°, Savannah, GA: 14°, Columbus, GA: 14°, Pensacola, FL: 15°, Montgomery, AL: 15°-Tied, Cape Hatteras, FL: 18°, Tampa, FL: 22°, Daytona Beach, FL: 23°, Orlando, FL: 23°, Vero Beach, FL: 27°, Fort Myers, FL: 28° and Miami, FL: 32°.


Air Florida Flight 90 crashed shortly after takeoff from National Airport in Washington, D.C. as a terrible snowstorm gripped the nation's capital. The 737 lost power due to ice build up on the wings and slammed into the 14th Street Bridge crushed 7 occupied vehicles, destroyed 97 feet of guard rail before it plunged into the icy Potomac River. 74 passengers perished along with 4 people on the ground.


Dry and mild weather prevailed across the country. Many cities in the Upper Midwest reported record high temperatures for the date, including Grand Island, NE with 67°.

Other record highs included: Aberdeen, SD: 56°, Wheaton, SD: 55°, Sisseton, SD: 54° and Watertown, SD: 49°.


A fast moving cold front ushered arctic cold into the north central and northeastern U.S. Mason City, IA reported a wind chill reading of -51°, and Greenville, ME reported a wind chill of -63°. Winds along the cold front gusted to 63 mph at Rochester, NY, and a thunderstorm along the cold front produced wind gusts to 62 mph at Buffalo, NY, along with snow and sleet.


Friday the 13th was bad luck primarily for the south central U.S. as an upper level weather disturbance spread a mixture of snow and sleet and freezing rain across Texas and Oklahoma. Snowfall totals in central Oklahoma ranged up to 8.5 inches at Norman.


A winter storm in the southwestern U.S. produced more than a foot of snow in the mountains of California and Nevada. In northern California, Huntington Lake was buried under 40 inches of snow, and up to 20 inches was reported in northeastern Nevada. Heavy rain soaked some of the lower elevations of California. Gibraltar Dam, CA was drenched with 5.33 inches of rain in two days.


On this date through the 17th, a severe hurricane-like cyclone stalked the Mediterranean Sea with sustained winds of 85 mph and a central pressure of 991 millibars or 29.25 inHg.


The eastern half of Pennsylvania was reeling under its heaviest snow cover in memory. The area around the state capital had nearly 4 feet of snow on the ground. Parts of the northern Susquehanna Valley had nearly 5 feet of snow cover. Six days later, most of the snow would melt and combine with an unseasonably warm rainstorm to produce the worst flooding since Hurricane Eloise in 1975.


A winter storm spread freezing rain over much of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana, knocking out power to over 100,000 people. One unexpected side effect of the ice storm was a pronounced baby boom 9 months later in area hospitals. Weather observers at Lake Charles, LA had to run across the runway at the airport to chip thick ice off of the anemometer when the dial in their office showed calm winds despite a stiff southeast breeze.

Out west, in Utah, an estimated 4,000 skiers and snowboarders were home after being stranded for much of the weekend. Two feet of fresh snow and several avalanches had blocked the highway to the Snowbird and Alta ski resorts for two days.


Snow finally fell in Boston, MA, ending the longest snow-less streak in the city’s history at 304 days. It was also the city’s latest start to a snow season.


A tornado tore through this northern German town of Drochtersen, tearing off the roofs of at least 7 homes.


A squall line swept across the Lower Mississippi Valley during the morning hours, producing widespread damaging wind gusts. Gust speeds ranged from 50 to 70 mph in most locations. There were also two tornadoes recorded. Fortunately, there were no fatalities or injuries reported.


An F1 tornado hit Belleville, AL; destroying the fire station and three homes. One person was killed.


A trace of snow was reported in Rancho Bernardo, Escondido, Chula Vista, El Cajon and La Mesa, CA.


After a clipper system dropped from 1 to 4 inches of snow on the 13th, Arctic air and blustery north winds pushed into much of central and northeast South Dakota. Wind chills fell to -35° to -50° late in the evening of the 13th and remained through the 14th and into the mid morning hours of the 15th. Across northeast South Dakota and west central Minnesota, wind chills were as low as -60° by the morning of the 15th. Many vehicles did not start because of the extreme cold and several schools had delayed starts. The Arctic high pressure area settled in on the morning of the 15th bringing the coldest temperatures to the region in many years. The combination of a fresh and deep snow pack, clear skies, and light winds allowed temperatures to fall to record levels at many locations on the 15th. Daytime highs remained well below zero across the area. This was one of the coldest days that most areas experienced since the early 1970s. The records were broken by 1 to as much as 7 degrees. Some of the record lows included: Pollock, SD: -47°, Aberdeen, SD: -42° (their 3rd coldest reading ever), Castlewood, SD: -39°, Eureka, SD: -38°, Andover & Summit, SD: -35°, Mobridge, SD: -33°, Milbank, SD: -32°, Sisseton, SD: -31° and Kennebec, SD: -30°.

Further north, record low temperatures were also reported across the southern Canadian Prairies with wind chills in the -40s across much of Manitoba. The coldest spot in Manitoba was Sprague, about 106 miles southeast of Winnipeg with a frigid low of -45.4°.

The minimum temperature at Santa Ana, CA of 73° not only set a record high minimum temperature for the date and month, but also for the entire winter season.


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

Report this ad