Meteorological events that happened on January 4th:
Vostok, Antarctica is the coldest recording station on the planet. In August, during the southern hemisphere's winter, the average low temperature is around -100°. The daily highs climb all the way to -80°. That's an average and that's without counting the effects of the wind chill.
The Mount Parker volcano on the Philippine island of Mindanao erupted. Dust from the eruption circled the globe, blocked sunlight and dropped global temperatures through 1643.
A major snowstorm buried George Washington and his troops at their headquarters in Morristown, NJ.
A powerful winter storm across New England buried Hartford, CT under 36 inches of snow and 26 inches at Middletown, CT. 30 inches fell in 12 hours at Goffstown, NH.
Sacramento, CA received 3.5 inches of snow, an all-time record for that location. The heaviest snow in recent history was 2 inches on 2/5/1976.
A tornado with F3 damage cut a 15-mile path and struck a school at Vireton in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, killing 16 people. It ranks as the 4th worst school tornado disaster in U.S. history.
A series of tornadoes struck northeast Texas, killing 30 people. The deadliest tornadoes struck near Palestine and Nacogdoches.
A blizzard continued its onslaught across parts of the Rockies and northern Plains but finally began to wane late in the day. By the time it was over, 41 inches of snow had buried Chadron, NE while 30 to 40 inches of snow fell over in and around Cheyenne, WY. Cheyenne was hit hard by 60 hours of snow and near-hurricane force winds. Between 20 and 30 inches was recorded at Laramie, WY. 17 lives were lost in the storm while many were marooned for days due to impassable roads and huge drifts.
Behind the storm record cold hit parts of the West Coast. Los Angeles, CA tied their all-time record low with 28° (2/6/1883 & 1/7/1913). Palomar Mountain, CA also tied their all-time record low with 8° (12/30/1947).
Locations that reported daily record lows included: Elko, NV: -28°, Ely, NV: -22°, Flagstaff, AZ: -20°, Missoula, MT: -19°, Winnemucca, NV: -16°, Burns, OR: -14°, Salt Lake City, UT: -8°, Reno, NV: -7°, Bishop, CA: 2°, Victorville, CA: 6°, Eugene, OR: 14°, Tucson, AZ: 16°-Tied, Sacramento, CA: 23°, Stockton, CA: 23°, Phoenix, AZ: 24°, Escondido, CA: 27°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 27°, Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 28°, Long Beach, CA: 28°, San Francisco Airport, CA: 29° and San Diego, CA: 29°.
Prince Rupert British Columbia Canada's coldest day occurred as the temperature dropped to -12°.
Beginning the previous day, a blizzard stranded thousands of people from New Mexico to Michigan with heavy snow and wind gusts to 50 mph. Belleville, KS measured snow drifts up to 20 feet high. Heavy snowfalls of 10 to 15 inches, locally to 20 inches were common across Iowa, parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was a record snow as some locations either tied or broke their 24-hour snowfall records including: Sparta, WI: 18 inches, Genoa, WI: 16 inches, Muscoda, WI: 16 inches, La Crescent, MN: 16 inches (tied with 3/6/1959 & 3/14/1997), Waucoma, IA: 15 inches (tied with 3/8/1959), Charles City, IA: 13 inches, Curtiss, WI: 13 inches (tied with 11/19/1957), Mauston, WI: 13 inches (tied with 1/27/1996 and Hillsboro, WI: 12 inches. Gusty winds exceeding 50 mph with temperatures dropping to below zero produced wind chill readings of -40° to -70°. Highways were closed, thousands of motorists were stranded and activities associated with travel ceased. Belleville, KS measured snow drifts up to 20 feet high. 27 people died as a result of the storm in Iowa alone.
Behind the storm record lows occurred out west while record highs across parts of the Southeast. Idyllwild, CA plunged to 3°, their third lowest temperature on record. Other locations that reported record lows included: Ely, NV: -25°, Flagstaff, AZ: -22°, Albuquerque, NM: -4°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 5°, Mt. Laguna, CA: 8°, El Paso, TX: 9°, Santa Maria, CA: 24°, Lakeside, CA: 24°, El Cajon, CA: 26°, La Mesa, CA: 28°, Pt. Loma, CA: 29° and Chula Vista, CA: 29°. Ice skating was done on Lake Cuyamaca just outside of Julian, CA.
Locations across the Southeast that reported record highs for the date included: Fort Myers, FL: 87°, Orlando, FL: 85°, Tampa, FL: 84°, Savannah, GA: 78° and Charleston, SC: 77°-Tied.
In Australia, Tasmania recorded their hottest day on record as the mercury soared to 105.4° at Hobart.
A strong upper level trough across the Great Lakes and East Coast combined with arctic high pressure across the northern Plains brought record cold. Toronto, Ontario Canada fell to their all-time record low of -24.3° and Lansing, MI set a new January record low with -29°.
Locations that reported daily record low temperatures for the date included: Old Forge, NY: -42°, East Haven, VT: -42°, Houlton, ME: -41°, Enosburg Falls, VT: -41°, International Falls, MN: -39°, Ste. St. Marie, MI: -32°, Caribou, ME: -27°, Burlington, VT: -27°, Houghton Lake, MI: -26°-Tied, Concord, NH: -21° (broke previous record by 12 degrees), Grand Rapids, MI: -20°, Alpena, MI: -19°, Portland, ME: -18°, Syracuse, NY: -18°, Flint, MI: -16°, Albany, NY: -13°, Toledo, OH: -13°, Detroit, MI: -12°, Williamsport, PA: -12°, Binghamton, NY: -10°, Rochester, NY: -10°, Mansfield, OH: -10°, Avoca, PA: -9°, Providence, RI: -9°, Worcester, MA: -8°, Pittsburgh, PA: -8°, Milton, MA: -8°-Tied, Buffalo, NY: -7°, Hartford, CT: -7°, Muskegon, MI: -6°, Akron, OH: -6°, Boston, MA: -4°, Allentown PA: -4°, Youngstown, OH: -2°, Bridgeport, CT: -1°, Newark, NJ: 1° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), New York (LaGuardia), NY: 4°, Jackson, KY: 6°, New York (Kennedy Airport), NY: 8°, Lynchburg, VA: 10°-Tied, Wallops Island, VA: 14°, Cape Hatteras, NC: 20° and Orlando, FL: 32°.
A weak ridge from the Rockies to the west coast brought a few record highs including: Las Vegas, NV: 67°, Olympia, WA: 57°, Grand Junction, CO: 55° and Quillayute, WA: 55°.
A major Pacific storm dumped 6 to 8 feet of snow at Squaw Valley, CA in just 26 hours. Up to 25 inches of rain fell in the San Francisco Bay area, causing severe mudslides. Echo Summit set the state's 24-hour snowfall record with 67 inches. 6 to 8 feet of snow fell in 26 hours at Squaw Valley, CA.
A strong winter storm brought moderate to heavy accumulations across the upper Midwest. Milwaukee WI was shut down completely as the city was buried under 16 inches of snow in 24 hours. It was the worst storm there in 35 years. Generally 6 to 12 inches was reported from parts of Iowa, Minnesota into Wisconsin
Behind the storm a trough brought record lows to a few locations including: Havre, MT: -31°, Great Falls, MT: -28° and Quillayute, WA: 19°.
A storm moving off the Pacific Ocean spread wintry weather across the southwestern U.S., with heavy snow extending from southern California to western Wyoming. Up to 15 inches of snow blanketed the mountains of southern California, and rainfall totals in California ranged up to 2.20 inches in the Chino area. Lots of street flooding occurred, including road washouts in the high desert. Two people died on slick roads in San Diego County. The San Diego River flooded Mission Valley, stranding cars and closing roads. Road washouts occurred in the high desert. Scattered power outages also resulted. A mud slide in Pomona blocked traffic on the 60 freeway. A ski resort in Big Bear received up to two feet of snow at the higher lifts. Up to 15 inches fell elsewhere in the San Bernardino Mountains. Mt. Laguna reported 9 inches and 4 inches at Cuyamaca Park.
The storm spread heavy snow from the Central Plains into the Great Lakes Region. Heavier totals included: 11 inches at Terre Haute, IN, 10 inches in the southern suburbs of Chicago, IL, 9 inches at Sun City, KS and 7 inches at Columbia, MO.
Ahead of the storm a weak upper level ridge brought record highs to parts of the Rockies and upper Plains including: Colorado Springs, CO: 66°, Rapid City, SD: 57°, Huron, SD: 54°, Glasgow, MT: 48° and Fargo, ND: 40°-Tied.
Cold arctic air invading the central and eastern U.S. left Florida about the only safe refuge from the cold and snow. A storm in the western U.S. soaked Bodega Bay in central California with 3.12 inches of rain.
Up to a foot of snow blanketed the mountains of West Virginia, and strong winds in the northeastern U.S. produced wind chill readings as cold as -60° in parts of Maine. Mount Washington, NH reported wind gusts to 136 mph along with a temperature of -30°.
Islip, NY reported a record low of 11, while a few locations across the Plains checked in with a record highs for the date including: Brownsville, TX: 85°, North Platte, NE: 65° and Norfolk, NE: 59°.
A winter storm moving out of the southwestern U.S. spread heavy snow across Nebraska and Iowa into Wisconsin. Snowfall totals in Nebraska ranged up to 7 inches at Auburn and Tecumseh. Totals in Iowa ranged up to 11 inches at Carlisle.
Behind the storm, Redding, CA set a record low with 26°.
A low pressure area with sub-tropical characteristics developed explosively over the Gulf Stream waters east of Cape Hatteras, NC and apparently deepened 18 millibars in just 3 hours. The central pressure dropped from 994 (29.35 inHg) to 976 millibars (28.82 inHg) and bottomed out at 968 millibars (28.68 inHg) 3 hours later. An offshore buoy recorded a pressure drop of 9.2 millibars in just one hour. Major coastal flooding and beach erosion occurred along the New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia coasts as the storm made landfall. A wind gust to 89 mph occurred at Chincoteague, VA and 83 mph was recorded at Indian River, DE. Ocean city, MD was hit very hard with winds sustained at 50 mph and gusts to 70 mph. At the Ocean City airport, the runways were flooded at their worst ever. Substantial beach erosion was reported at Rehoboth Beach, DE which rivaled damage one by the great March 1962 storm. Total damage reached $45 million in New Jersey alone. Rainfall at inland locations over the Mid-Atlantic was very heavy in some places with Witts Orchard, VA checking in with a 24 hour total of 7.56 inches.
A major winter storm blanketed much of the northeastern U.S. with heavy snow. More than 2 feet was reported in northwestern Pennsylvania, with 33 inches at Waynesburg. There were 10 heart attacks, and 185 injuries, related to the heavy snow in northwest Pennsylvania alone. Whiteout conditions were reported in Vermont and northeastern New York State. A wind gust to 75 mph was reported at Shaftsbury, VT. In the Adirondacks of eastern New York State, the town of Tupper reported 5 inches of snow in one hour. 6 inches of snow fell in one hour at Elkins, WV and Syracuse, NY reported 5 inches of snow per hour for two consecutive hours. Syracuse measured 18 inches for the storm. Other big snowfall totals included 20 inches at Renovo, PA and 18.5 inches at Tully, NY. As the storm passed off the New Jersey coast, a gravity wave was induced near Allentown, PA. The barometric pressure plunged 22.4 millibars (0.66 inHg) from 997.7 (29.46 inHg) to 975.3 millibars (28.80 inHg) in just 45 minutes at Allentown and then rebounded almost as much in only 15 minutes. The gravity wave propagated northeastward and produced similar pressure fluctuations in New England. Boston, MA recorded a wind gust to 66 mph as the wave passed, along with heavy sleet.
Heavy rains occurred across parts of Florida. Widespread rainfall of 3 to 7 inches, with a maximum of 14.33 inches, was measured across east Palm Beach County during a 24-hour period. Roadways were flooded and minor water damage was reported to some businesses in Delray Beach and Boca Raton. The combination of heavy rains and low astronomical tides caused many sea walls along canals to collapse. Sugarcane harvesting was halted due to the flooding of fields.
A series of strong Pacific storms began tracking into California shortly after the New Year. The storms brought several inches of precipitation to most of the state, and dumped snow in some cases measured in many feet on the highest elevations of the southern California coastal ranges. Thousands of people were forced from their homes by flooding.
Record-breaking warmth occurred from Texas through the Ohio Valley to the Mid-Atlantic States. Locations that reported record highs for the date included: Corpus Christi, TX: 88°, San Antonio, TX: 85°, Austin, TX: 84°, Vero Beach, FL: 84°, Del Rio, TX: 83°, Shreveport, LA: 82°, Waco, TX:: 82°, Little Rock, AR: 79°, Houston, TX: 79°, Columbus, GA: 78°, Meridian, MS: 78°, Jackson, MS: 78°-Tied, Mobile, AL: 76°, San Angelo, TX: 76°, Raleigh, NC: 75°, Sterling (Dulles Airport), VA: 74°, Tupelo, MS: 74°-Tied, Washington, D.C.: 73°, Memphis, TN: 73°, Fort Smith, AR: 72°, St. Louis, MO: 72°, Lynchburg, VA: 72°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 71°, Roanoke, VA: 71°, Asheville, NC: 69°, Oak Ridge, TN: 69°, Springfield, IL: 68°, Evansville, IN: 68°, Columbus, OH: 67°, Cincinnati, OH: 66°, Peoria, IL: 65°, Indianapolis, IN: 65°, Cleveland, OH: 65°, Chicago, IL: 64°, Moline, IL: 64°, Champaign, IL: 64°, Akron, OH: 64°, Dayton, OH: 64°, Youngstown, OH: 64°, Fort Wayne, IN: 63°, South Bend, IN: 63°, Toledo, OH: 63°-Tied, Mansfield, OH: 62°, Detroit, MI: 61°, Flint, MI: 61°, Lansing, MI: 61°, Muskegon, MI: 61° (broke previous record by 14 degrees), Grand Rapids, MI: 60°, Rockford, IL: 60°, Milwaukee, WI: 60° and Dubuque, IA: 53°. Some of these records occurred before sunrise.
The Flood of January ’97 caused significant flooding in California’s San Joaquin Valley and the adjacent foothills. Numerous houses adjacent to the San Joaquin River flooded, while agricultural lands near the Merced River were inundated. Flooding also impacted areas in the South Valley, especially Earlimart and Porterville.
Heavy snows fell across the Northeast just one week after a Christmas Day storm brought heavy snowfall amounts to parts of the same region. Some areas picked up an additional 1 to 2 feet of snow.
A record dry spell that lasted 53 days ended at Des Moines, IA.
Upper level high pressure off the southern California coast combined with surface high pressure across the Great Basin brought record high temperatures to parts of California including: Riverside, CA: 89°, Palm Springs, CA: 82°, Borrego Springs, CA: 82°, Idyllwild, CA: 71°, Big Bear Lake, CA: 64° and Stockton, CA: 62°.
Unusually cold weather covered northern districts of Bangladesh that produced temperatures as low as 41°, the coldest in 38 years. At least 130 fatalities result from the cold weather.
One of the most powerful Pacific storms in years brought high winds, locally heavy rains and significant high elevation snow to interior Central California through the 5th. The heaviest rain fell in the foothills and in the southern Sierra Nevada up through about 7,000 feet in elevation where rainfall amounts reached as much as 9.41 inches at Wawona. In the High Sierra above 8,000 feet, the storm produced significant snowfall amounts in the Sierra with Aspendell reporting a total of 3 feet in 48 hours. Strong winds of 50 to 70 mph also destroyed the roof of a school and flipped over two glider planes in Avenal. Other wind gusts clocked included 75 mph at Crane Flat, 67 mph at Inyokern and 66 mph at Kettleman Hills. Bishop, CA reported 4 inches of rain, setting their all-time greatest one day rain total.
On this date through the 6th, Iran's heaviest snowfall in more than a decade left at least 21 people dead, some buried under avalanches, some frozen to death and others killed in traffic accidents. As much as 22 inches of snow in areas of northern and central Iran forced schools and government offices to close, blocked major roads and lead to the cancellation of all domestic and international flights.
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