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Weather History: January 2: Record temps, storms, floods, snow, wind & tropics

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Meteorological events that happened on January 2nd:


Observers in Kingston, Port Dover and Port Stanley telegraphed the first weather reports to the Toronto Observatory, the headquarters of Canada's newly formed weather service.


Duluth, MN recorded its coldest temperature ever, with a reading of -41°.


13 inches of snow fell at Little Rock, AR to establish the city’s record for greatest 24 hour snowfall.


A major snowstorm brought 19 inches of snow to Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, MA. 11.8 inches of snow fell at Boston, MA


A great flood in Utah and Nevada washed out 100 miles of railroad between Salt Lake City, UT and Los Angeles, CA causing $7 million dollars damage.


For 7 weeks, blizzard after blizzard pounded the Great Plains. Temperatures plunged to -50° in some areas. Over 200 people perished. Livestock was hard hit, with over 150,000 head of sheep killed.

On this date, the worst blizzard in many years struck northern Colorado. The storm produced blizzard conditions with wind gusts up to 50 mph all day on the 3rd when temperatures stayed in the single digits. That resulted in dangerous wind chill readings from -40° to -55°. The former Stapleton Airport in Denver received 13.3 inches while downtown Denver received 11.8 inches. Snow fell for 51 straight hours in downtown Denver. Numerous lives were lost and livestock losses were high across the northeastern Plains of Colorado where extensive airlift operations were needed.

Further west, even a trace of snow was reported at Bakersfield, CA.


Hurricane Alice became both the latest and the earliest hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin when she became a hurricane on 12/31/1954 and battered the Leeward Islands with winds of 85 mph.


The hottest official temperature ever recorded in Australia occurred on this date in the southern town of Oodnadatta when the temperature rose to 123.3°. The Northern Territory in Australia also recorded its hottest day on record as the high at Finke peak reached 118.9°.


The coldest temperature on record for the state of Hawaii was established with a reading of 14° atop Haleakela Summit. This record would be broken on 5/17/1979 when the summit atop Mauna Kea dropped to 12°.


Thailand's coldest night on record occurred as the temperature dropped to 29.5° at Sakon Nakhon.


A strong winter storm affected nearly all of South Dakota as well as much of Minnesota beginning on the 1st. Snow began across western South Dakota on New Year's Eve and continued into portions of Minnesota on the second. Northerly winds at 40 to 50 mph created blizzard conditions in many areas. Snow depths varied from 4 to 12 inches in most areas with nearly two feet piling up in the northern Black Hills. In southwest Minnesota the highest amounts occurred in the Marshall area where 12 inches was received.

After the storm moved off to the northeast skies cleared out and a very cold air mass settled into the area. The combination of fresh snow cover and clear skies created perfect radiational cooling conditions, allowed morning low temperatures to plunge between -20° to -35°.


The temperature at Jump River, WI plunged to -47°. This was later tied on 12/19/1983 for their all time coldest temperature.

A combination of high pressure over the interior with a storm off Baja California produced Santa Ana wind gusts to 60 mph along the I-8 corridor, but a 90 mph gust was unofficially reported by Caltrans. Interstate 8 was closed for a then record 20 hours stranding more than 1,000 motorists. Power outages occurred all over San Diego County. The rainstorm in Baja California washed out the Trans-Peninsular highway near El Rosario about 156 miles south of Ensenada.


The all-time record low was set at Grantley Adams Airport on the island of Barbados in the Caribbean when they dropped to 61.7° (16.5°C).


A winter storm moving up the Atlantic coast brought heavy snow and high winds to the northeastern U.S. Wind gusts reached 82 mph at Trenton, NJ and Southwest Harbor in Maine. 22 inches of snow fell at Lowell, MA and Nashua, NH and up to 2 feet at Salem, NH and Waterboro, ME. High winds combined with astronomical tides caused coastal flooding.


For the 2nd day in a row Alamosa, CO reported a record low of -31°.


Strong and gusty winds prevailed along the eastern slopes of the northern and central Rockies. High winds between 60 and 70 mph were recorded at Boulder, CO and along the Eastern Foothills. Winds gusted to 71 mph at Colorado Springs, CO & Livingston, MT and 49 mph at the former Stapleton Airport in Denver..


The first winter storm of the New Year developed in the southwestern U.S., and blanketed the northern mountains of Utah with 1 to 2 feet of snow. Up to 22 inches of snow was reported in the Alta-Snowbird area. The storm brought Las Vegas, NV their first measurable precipitation in four and a half months dating back to August 17th.


Miami, FL established a 24-hour precipitation record for January when 4.26 inches fell. The previous record was 3.07 inches set on 1/30/1953.

A record blizzard hit parts of the Middle East. Amman, Jordan received 26 inches, their heaviest snow in 40 years and 16 inches at Jerusalem, Israel.


In the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, the Sugar Bowl Ski Patrol reported a snow depth of 90 inches at the 7,000 foot level. A depth of 150 inches was measured at 7,800 feet. Since 12/29/1992, a total of 72 inches had fallen at the 7,000 foot elevation, with 93 inches at 8,300 feet.


High winds buffeted the Northern Front Range of Colorado during the morning hours. Peak wind gusts included 105 mph atop Squaw Mountain near Idaho Springs and 89 mph at Fort Collins. A fast moving "Alberta Clipper" brought up to a foot of snow blanketed the Snowy Range Mountains in southeastern Wyoming and 6 inches of snow to parts of Iowa. The snow fell at a rate of about an inch per hour at its heaviest. Much of the state received four to six inches of snow. This was the first widespread snow event of the 1993-1994 winter season for Iowa.


Heavy rains and melting snow caused disastrous flooding in parts of the West, closing Reno, Nevada’s casinos for the first time in memory and forcing thousands to flee their homes.


The "Blizzard of '99" dumped 21.6 inches of snow on Chicago, IL for the city's 2nd largest snowstorm on record. Drifts were as high as 8 feet. Grand Rapids, MI recorded 22 inches for their greatest snowstorm ever. Detroit, MI reported a foot of snow and Milwaukee, WI was buried under 15.4 inches; the city's biggest snowstorm in 52 years. The first winter storm of the season brought 8 to 13 inches of snow to southwest and central Wisconsin. Strong northeast winds created 2 to 4 foot drifts, making many roads impassable. Heavy snow of 6 to 8 inches fell across part of northeast South Dakota from the late afternoon hours of the 1st to the early morning hours on this date. Strong north winds of 15 to 30 mph combined with temperatures in the single digits generated wind chills from -25° to -40° and visibilities below 1/4 of a mile at times. Some snowfall amounts included, 6 inches at Kidder, Victor, Sisseton, Webster, Waubay, Wilmot, and 8 inches at Britton and near Peever. Generally, storm totals ranged from 2 feet in northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan to 12 to 18 inches across north central Indiana into south central Michigan and northwest Ohio and 6 to 8 inches in east central Indiana and west central Ohio where significant sleet and freezing rain fell on top of the heavy snow. Thousands of holiday travelers were stranded on planes at Detroit’s Metro Airport. Many were stuck on planes for hours when snow plows were unable to clear paths to the gates.

In Toronto, Ontario Canada, through the 12th, a total of 44.5 inches of snow buried the city. The mayor called in the military to help with snow removal. Snow-clearing costs totaled $70 million dollars.


It was a warm day across western north Texas, as the mercury soared to 80° at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls. This high temperature broke a 17-year record by 1 degree for the warmest temperature for that date, as the previous record was 79° set in 1987.


A microburst from a severe thunderstorm likely killed more than 35 snow geese found in farm fields southeast of Springfield in Montgomery, Christian and Shelby Counties in Illinois.

Aspendell, CA received 56 inches of snow in less than 24 hours. Bishop, CA received up to18 inches of new snow before turning to rain. The rapid snow melt caused several roads to become impassable due to flooding.

Heavy rainfall of 2 to 3 inches fell in the central valley from the 1st to this date. Hanford, CA reported 2.82 inches of rain in a 30 hour period and 3.47 inches fell in Tulare. Fresno, CA set a daily precipitation record of 1.88 inches on this date as many streets flooded in the Valley and water was reported to be two feet deep in West Visalia. The rain was accompanied by gusty winds of 40 to 50 mph that downed trees and knocked out power to over 60,000 customers.


The treacherous Rogers Pass, British Columbia Canada received more than 28 inches of snow fall in less than 24 hours. Several hundred motorists are stranded on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Banff, Alberta after heavy snowfall sets off avalanches rumbling through the mountain pass.


The morning temperature dropped to -30° at Sioux Falls, SD, their coldest temperature recorded since 1974.

A blizzard dumped 32.9 inches of snow on Burlington, VT, the city's all-time biggest snowstorm in 120 years of recordkeeping.


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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