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Weather History: January 27: Record temps, storms, wind, tornadoes & snowfall

Meteorological events that happened on January 27th:

What's the coldest city in the lower 48 states? That dubious distinction belongs to our friends in International Falls, MN which has a yearly average temperature of 36.4°. Some cities on the list include... #2: Duluth, MN at 38.2°, #3: Caribou, ME at 38.9°, #6: Fargo, ND at 40.5° and #9: Bismarck, ND at 41.3°.


The "Washington and Jefferson Snowstorm" occurred on this date. George Washington reported 3 feet of snow at Mount Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson recorded about 3 feet at Monticello. Washington wrote that it was the deepest snow he could remember.


Southeastern New York and New England were in the middle of a 3-day snowstorm. Snow fell continuously for 48 hours in New York City where two feet accumulated.


San Francisco, CA recorded their lowest pressure ever, 28.85 inHg, in the second big storm of the season. Fresno, CA also reported their all-time record low barometric pressure reading of 29.10 inHg along with wind gusts to 50 mph.


On this date through the 29th, a great snowstorm struck the East Coast from South Carolina to southeastern Massachusetts. Washington, D.C. reported 28 inches of snow; 25 of which fell in 24 hours setting a record and causing the collapse of the Knickerbocker Theater killing 98 people and injuring 130 others.


Florida endured a 3 day long freeze with the lowest temperatures ever in January at Mason, FL as they dropped to 8°. 11 million boxes of citrus were damaged, resulting in a $10 million dollar loss.

Georgia’s lowest temperature ever occurred on this date near Calhoun with a reading of -17°.


The Netherlands' coldest night on record occurred as the town of Winterswijk located in the eastern part of the country dropped to -17°.


The United Kingdom recorded its mildest January day on record when the high temperature reached 65° at Aber, North Wales.


A major 5-day lake effect blizzard began in Southern Oswego County, New York. A total snowfall of 102 inches was recorded, with 50 inches falling on the 31st.


Residents of Chicago, IL began to dig out from a storm which produced 24 inches of snow in 29 hours. The snow paralyzed the city and suburbs for days, and business losses were enormous. Across central Illinois snowfall totals in excess of 10 inches north of a line from Quincy to Bloomington with major ice accumulations reported across other parts of central Illinois. In Michigan, Battle Creek reported 28.6 inches, Lansing with 23 inches and 18 inches at Grand Rapids. Over 50 deaths were indirectly related to the storm.

An unseasonal F2 tornado destroyed or damaged homes and service stations at Felton, DE.


A windstorm struck the Niagara Frontier across western New York. A peak gust of 66 mph was recorded at Buffalo. Widespread property damage was reported. A 70 foot radio tower in Hamburg was blown down and a 50 foot beacon demolished at the Perry/Warsaw Airport. In Albion, a roof was blown off an apartment building and a mobile home overturned.


Beginning the previous day through this date, across northern and eastern Iowa, winds gusting to 50 mph whipped powder dry snow already on the ground into huge drifts to 13 feet high. Extreme cold pushed wind chill factors to -70°. The drifts closed most roads including I-35. Thousands of cars and trucks were stranded along roadsides or in ditches.


This was the last day of 63 consecutive days with snow cover of one inch or more at Denver, CO. This longest period of snow cover on record began with the Thanksgiving weekend blizzard when 21.5 inches fell. Additional snowfall during December and January prolonged the event.


A powerful storm moving into the western U.S. produced 13 inches of snow at Daggett Pass, NV, and 16 inches in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Winds gusted to 63 mph at Reno, NV, and wind gusts in parts of Oregon exceeded 80 mph. Fresno, CA reported a gust of 55 mph, their highest gust on record.


The nation got a breather from winter storms, however, cold arctic air settled into the southeastern U.S. Hollywood, FL reported a record low of 39°.


Low pressure in north central Alaska continued to direct air across northern Siberia and the edges of the Arctic Circle into the state. The temperature at Fairbanks remained colder than -40° for the 8th day in a row.

Daily highs of -66° were reported at Ambler and Chandalar Lake on the 22nd. All-time record lows were set at Tanana: -76°, McGrath: -75° (broke previous daily record by 18 degrees), Galena: -68° and Nome: -54°-Tied (broke previous daily record by 12 degrees).

Locations that reported daily record lows included: Bettles, AK: -63-Tied, Kotzebue, AK: -49, Delta Junction, AK: -48, Bethel, AK: -47 (broke previous record by 10 degrees), King Salmon, AK: -43-Tied, St. Paul Island: -5, Cold Bay, AK: -5-Tied and Kodiak, AK: -4-Tied. Wind chill readings were between than -100° and -120°. The entire state was well below 0° for two weeks and many all time records broken. During this cold wave the barometric pressure rose to 31.85 inches at Northway. This was the highest air pressure ever measured in the U.S., and because most aircraft altimeters are unable to calibrate for such pressure, many flights had to be canceled.


Another in a series of cold fronts brought high winds to the northwestern U.S., and more heavy snow to some of the higher elevations. The series of vigorous cold fronts crossing the area between the 23rd and the 27th of the month produced up to 60 inches of snow in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State.


A frigid arctic air was in place over New England and New York as a massive 1052 millibar high pressure (31.07 inHg) provided ideal radiational cooling. Temperatures plunged to -48° at Crown Point, NY and -46° at Shoreham, VT. The -29° reading at Burlington, VT broke the old record by 9 degrees.

Caribou, ME dropped to -23°; their 3rd consecutive morning record low temperature.

Meanwhile, low pressure approaching from the Mississippi Valley produced significant icing across Western New York. No unnecessary travel was recommended as roads iced up and numerous accidents resulted. The heavy coating of ice combined with high winds to snap power lines. Power outages were reported throughout Western New York.


Deep low pressure moved from the upper Midwest to the upper Great Lakes bringing strong winds and snow. Snowfall totals over a foot occurred from parts of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

At the Buffalo Coast Guard in New York, a wind gust of 60 mph was recorded downing trees and power lines. Damage was reported in Little Valley, Rushford, Mendon, Dansville, Bristol, Fair Haven and Watertown.


Flat Top, WV, at an elevation of 3,300 feet set a new January 24-hour snowfall record for the state of West Virginia as 35 inches fell through the 28th. Surrounding areas at lower elevations had nearly all rain. Bluefield and Beckley, WV established new 24-hour snowfall records.


A major winter storm struck Arkansas with heavy snow. Up to 20 inches fell across southern portions of the state with the largest official total 16 inches at Hope, AR. Little Rock picked up 7 inches. It was the worst winter storm in Arkansas since 1988.

Parts of Jordan and Israel received a rare taste of winter; 18 inches of snow fell on the metropolitan areas and snow fell in parts of the Negev Desert while the town of Beer Sheba recorded their first snow in 50 years.


A tornado hit the port of Limassol in Cyprus injuring 28 people and damaging shops and property. A second tornado damaged homes and property in the coastal area of Larnaca.

England recorded their warmest January day on record when East Malling, Kent reached 63°. London and Paris were also mild as both cities reported afternoon highs of 62°.


A paralyzing winter storm dumped the heaviest snowfall since 1950 on Algiers, Algeria covering more than a third of the country. The storm closed over 100 roads and was blamed for 13 deaths.


Rapid temperature drops occur across Montana and the Dakotas as a cold front raced through. The greatest drop is experienced at Cut Bank, MT, approximately 50 miles east of Glacier National Park, where the temperature fell from 40° at 2 PM MST on Sunday to -14° in just 12 hours. By sunrise, the temperature had fallen to -20° representing a drop of 60 degrees in 17 hours. Great Falls, MT had a similar temperature fall of 59 degrees from 42° to -17°. Williston, ND fell 54 degrees from 44° to -10° and Rapid City, SD fell 51 degrees from 55° to 5°, in just two hours.


High winds buffeted the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson Counties in Colorado. Peak wind gusts included: Eldora Ski Resort: 101 mph, six miles northwest of Boulder: 100 mph, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder: 84 mph and Nederland: 75 mph.

A pool of dry air over the eastern Hawaiian Islands allowed the early morning temperature at Hilo on the Big Island to drop to a record-tying low reading of 58°.


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

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