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Weather History: January 8: Record temps, storms, snow, ice, wind & flooding

Meteorological events that happened on January 8th:


One of the coldest times in Washington D.C. history that froze all the waterways of the Mid-Atlantic region including the Potomac River and most of the Chesapeake Bay. The cold started in December 1779 and lasted through the first week in February. On the northern part of the Bay, sleighs crossed from Annapolis to the Eastern Shore. To the south Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News and Portsmouth were connected by thick ice that supported foot traffic between ports.


"The Big Snow" dumped 4 to 5 feet of snow on parts of New York State.


This is the only day that New York City’s temperature remained continuously below zero.


Heavy flood damage to the Meadow Valley Wash area was inflicted by torrential rains and melting snow during the first week of 1910. The Narrow Valley Wash was unable to carry the flood water in the usual channels, and ranches, houses, barns, and in some cases, whole ranches were overwhelmed. The track of the Salt Lake railroad was practically a wreck for a distance of nearly 100 miles. Railroad ties, great bridge timbers, portions of houses, and wreckage of every conceivable kind were carried for many miles by the flood. 15 miles west of Caliente, an entire train carrying merchandise, engine and all, was overwhelmed and washed away with the exception of the caboose. The crew escaped by taking to the hills.


Record cold gripped the areas from the Rockies to the West Coast. Death Valley National Park in California recorded a low of 15°, the coldest reading ever recorded in Death Valley.

Other daily record lows included: Roswell, NM: -19°, Grand Junction, CO: -18°, Albuquerque, NM: -15°, Pueblo, CO: -10°, Colorado Springs, CO: -8°, Tucson, AZ: 13°, Bakersfield, CA: 19°, Phoenix, AZ: 19°, Yuma, AZ: 26° and Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 36°.


Locations from the southern Rockies to the West Coast reported record high temperatures for the date including: Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 90°, Amarillo, TX: 88°, Austin, TX: 88°, San Antonio, TX: 84°, Del Rio, TX: 83°-Tied, Lubbock, TX: 82°, Waco, TX: 81°, Santa Maria, CA: 81°, Dallas, TX: 80°, Dallas (DFW), TX: 79°, San Diego, CA: 78°, Abilene, TX: 78°, Houston, TX: 78°-Tied, Oklahoma City, OK: 71°, Tulsa, OK: 71°, Albuquerque, NM: 62°-Tied, Flagstaff, AZ: 61° and Salt Lake City, UT: 56°.


Locations from the Rockies to the West Coast endured record cold. Nevada recorded its coldest temperature ever as San Jacinto dropped to -50°.

Locations that reported daily record lows for the date included: Winnemucca, NV: -32° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Lander, WY: -26°, Missoula, MT: -22°, Pendleton, OR: -14°, Colorado Springs, CO: -13°, Denver, CO: -11°, Clayton, NM: -8°, Lewiston, ID: -7°, Flagstaff, AZ: -5°-Tied, Salt Lake City, UT: -2°-Tied, Medford, OR: 1° (broke previous record by 13 degrees), Eugene, OR: 6°, Astoria, OR: 17°, Las Vegas, NV: 19°, Eureka, CA: 25° and Santa Maria, CA: 26°.


Heavy snowfalls occurred over interior sections of the Mid-Atlantic to New England. 24 inches fell at Grafton, NH. The 20 inches at Jay Peak, VT brought their snow cover total to 91 inches. 16.6 inches fell at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA, bringing their total for the month to 36.9 inches, their snowiest January on record.


Sioux Falls, SD reported a little measurable snow. While not all that extraordinary in itself the fact that it was the first measurable snowfall of the season is. That is their latest first snowfall on record.


A severe ice storm gripped parts of the Northeast. Four inches of ice coated parts of Pennsylvania and two to three inches in southeastern New York State. 90% of Norwalk, CT was without phone or power. In southern New England the ice coated a layer of snow up to 20 inches deep. The storm resulted in 31 deaths and $2.5 million dollars damage.


An upper level ridge brought record high temperatures to parts of the West including: Palm Springs, CA: 91°, Death Valley, CA: 87° (January record), Riverside, CA: 85°, Yuma, AZ: 84°, Santa Maria, CA: 83°, Los Angeles (LAX), CA: 76°, Las Vegas, NV: 74°, Palomar Mountain, CA: 70°, San Francisco Airport, CA: 70°, Bishop, CA: 68°, Big Bear Lake, CA: 68°, Lewiston, ID: 57° and Burns, OR: 55°.


A southwesterly flow out ahead of a strong cold front brought record high temperatures from the Gulf Coast to the Greta Lakes including: Baton Rouge, LA: 79°-Tied, Shreveport, LA: 78°, Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX: 78°, Memphis. TN: 73°, Columbus, GA: 71°, Evansville, IN: 68°, Chattanooga, TN: 68°-Tied, Louisville, KY: 67°, Paducah, KY: 67°, Chicago, IL: 63°, Indianapolis, IN: 63°, Detroit, MI: 62°, Toledo, OH: 62°, Springfield, IL: 62°-Tied, Fort Wayne, IN: 61°, South Bend, IN: 61°, Moline, IL: 60°, Peoria, IL: 60°, Flint, MI: 60°, Grand Rapids, MI: 59°, Lansing, MI: 59°, Buffalo, NY: 59°, Youngstown, OH: 58°, Milwaukee, WI: 57°, Rockford, IL: 55°, Muskegon, MI: 55°, Alpena, MI: 50°, Houghton Lake, MI: 49° and Marquette, MI: 42°.

Locations across the Great Lakes that set record highs in the 40’s and 50’s did not get out of the 20’s the next day after the frontal passage.


The world's wettest 24 hour period on record saw 71.91 inches of rain fall in 24 hours on beginning the previous day through this date at Foc Foc on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion Island.


A severe ice storm struck Atlanta, GA. The storm paralyzed the city closing schools and businesses, and damage from the storm was estimated at $25 million dollars. 1 to 4 inches of ice coated northern Georgia leaving 300,000 persons without electricity for up to a week. Over two hours during the evening hours, 2.27 inches (liquid content) of freezing rain, sleet and snow coated Atlanta, as the temperature hovered at 32°.


A destructive windstorm hit the Kern deserts in southern California, with a 108 mph gust reported in Ridgecrest. Two mobile homes were destroyed, five others were knocked off their foundations, wrecked 3 tied-down aircraft, uprooted trees and blew down power lines.


A severe two-day ice and snow storm began in northern Texas. A layer of ice was quickly covered by several inches of snow. Areas around Wichita Falls reported snow drifts of up to 2 feet.


Several tornadoes struck Orange and Seminole Counties in Florida. A large tornado moved through mobile home park near Lockhart destroying 17 trailers, damaging 60 others and injuring 23 people, 8 seriously. A tornado passed southeast of Sanford and causing damage to homes and boats along St. Johns River.

A strong arctic cold front pushed southeast through the upper Midwest. Prior to the cold front, Owen, WI had a high temperature of 32°. However, by the end of the day, the temperature had plunged to -25°. This 57 degree diurnal temperature change is the greatest ever recorded there.


Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada recorded their warmest January day as the temperature soared to 56.3°.

Moscow, Russia recorded its coldest day in nearly a century as the temperature plunged to -49°.


A foot and a half of snow fell in LaPorte and Saint Joseph Counties in Indiana with blizzard conditions and wind chills as low as -65°. Fort Wayne received 5.5 inches.

Denmark's coldest night on record occurred as the low dropped to -24.2° at Hørsted/Thy.


A winter storm moving out of the Southern Rockies into the Central Plains Region produced 14 inches of snow at Red River, NM, and 17 inches in the Wolf Creek ski area of Colorado. Wichita, KS was blanketed with 7 inches of snow.


A winter storm spread heavy snow across the northeastern U.S., with up to 10 inches reported in parts of southern New Jersey.


Strong northwesterly winds and bitterly cold temperatures prevailed in the north central U.S. Winds in the Great Lakes Region gusted to 63 mph at Niagara Falls, NY and 58 mph at Chicago, IL. Squalls in western New York State produced 20 inches of snow at Barnes Corners and Lowville. Snow squalls in Upper Michigan produced 26 inches around Keweenaw.


High winds plagued the northwestern U.S., with the state of Oregon hardest hit. Two people were killed in Oregon, and 9 others were injured, and the high winds downed 55 million board feet of timber, valued at more than $20 million dollars. Winds gusted to 96 mph at Stevenson, WA and 90 mph near Pinehurst, ID. Winds gusted to 108 near Fort Collins, CO, 104 mph at Winter Park, CO, 92 mph in southwest Boulder, CO. Flying gravel shattered 50 car windows near Boulder. There was widespread damage, downed trees and power lines. Several area airports were closed due to the strong winds resulting in blowing dust. Cheyenne, WY reported a gust to 77 mph.


An area of heavy snow moved into the southwest Kansas area from the Oklahoma Panhandle. Heavy snow began across southwest Kansas during the late afternoon and continued into the next morning. Snowfall of 10 to 12 inches was reported in Stafford, Pratt, and Barber Counties. Other snowfall amounts included 10 inches at Larned, 8 inches in Dodge City, Garden City, and Syracuse, and 8 to 9 inches in Edwards, Kiowa, and Comanche Counties.


The Blizzard of 1996 set all-time snow records in New Jersey with 35 inches recorded in Huntingdon County, Philadelphia, PA: 30.7 inches, Newark, NJ: 27.8 inches, Scranton, PA: 21 inches and Cincinnati, OH: 14.4 inches. Dulles Airport northwest of D.C. reported 24.6 inches while National Airport checked in with 17.1 inches.


Record warmth continued from the Tennessee Valley to the East Coast. The morning low of 65° at Dulles Airport at Sterling, VA northwest of Washington, D.C. was actually warmer than the previous record high temperature for the date. Washington's famed cherry blossoms bloomed in the warmth.

Locations reporting record high temperatures for the date included: Vero Beach, FL: 86°, Oak Ridge, TN: 71°, Jackson, KY: 70°, Newark, NJ: 70° (broke previous record by 10 degrees), Philadelphia, PA: 69°, Bristol, TN: 69°, Washington, D.C.: 69°-Tied, Harrisburg, PA: 68°, Allentown, PA: 67°, Avoca, PA: 66°, New York (Central Park0, NY: 65°, Williamsport, PA: 64°, Binghamton, NY: 63° (broke previous record by 12 degrees), New York (LaGuardia), NY: 61°, Atlantic City, NJ: 60°-Tied and Islip, NY: 59°.

Over 3 million Canadians were without power as the worst ice storm in the nation's history affected 5 eastern provinces with several inches of freezing rain. Hundreds of thousands of people were without power for over two weeks. At least 15 deaths were attributed to the storm, including people who died as huge chunks of ice fell from buildings in Montreal when the melting process began. Nearly 600,000 people were without power in parts of New England, hard-hit by the same ice storm that was paralyzing parts of Canada. As much as 2 to 4 inches of ice coated areas from Northern New York to Maine.


Kirensk, Siberia north of Lake Baikal dropped to -72°.


A strong warm front moved east across southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and southwest and central Wisconsin during the day. Temperatures across the region ranged from 37° at Medford, WI to 57° at Oelwein, IA. The temperature at Oelwein was their warmest January temperature. However, this new record would only last about 2 weeks before a new all-time January temperature record would be established there on January 23rd.

Many record high temperatures were set from the Upper Midwest to the desert southwest Temperatures were as much as 40 degrees above normal from eastern Colorado to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Bismarck, ND set their January record high with 63° (broke previous daily record by 12 degrees). Locations that reported daily record highs for the date included: Borrego Springs, CA: 82°, Tucson, AZ: 82°, Phoenix, AZ: 81°, Wichita, KS: 75°, Dodge City, KS: 74°, Goodland, KS: 74°, Idyllwild, CA: 73°, Pueblo, CO: 73°, Rapid City, SD: 72°, North Platte, NE: 69°, Sheridan, WY: 69°, Grand Island, NE: 68°, Norfolk, NE: 68°, Scottsbluff, NE: 66°, Des Moines, IA: 64°, Sioux City, IA: 64°, Flagstaff, AZ: 62°, Lincoln, NE: 62°, Glasgow, MT: 61° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Billings, MT: 60°, Havre, MT: 59°, Waterloo, IA: 57°, Lewiston, ID: 57°, Sioux Falls, SD: 57°, Yakima, WA: 56°, Casper, WY: 54°, Lander, WY: 54°-Tied, Williston, ND: 50°, St. Cloud, MN: 49°, Rochester, MN: 47°, Grand Forks, ND: 47°, Kalispell, MT: 47°-Tied and International Falls, MN: 43°.


On this date through the 9th, a rare down-slope wind event similar to “Chinook” winds experienced east of the Rockies occurred just east of the Appalachian mountain ridges during the nighttime hours into the next morning. Winds between 40 and 70 mph downed numerous trees and power lines west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The highest wind gust was 72 mph at Harrisonburg, VA.

Des Moines, IA recorded their warmest January temperature ever with a reading of 67°.

A Turkish Airlines RJ-100 airliner crashed as it attempted to land in heavy fog at Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey. Out of the 80 people on-board, 75 people died.

The first hailstorm ever recorded on the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific affected nearly 3,000 people on southern Tanna Island. Golf-ball-sized hailstones destroyed over half of the island’s food gardens.


Strong winds associated with an intense upper level jet stream and a very strong surface pressure gradient developed in and near Colorado’s Front Range Foothills. Winds gusted from 77 mph to 115 mph. The high winds combined with recent fallen snow created whiteout conditions and several highway closures due to the blowing and drifting. More than 100 people were stranded between Golden and Boulder. Drifts as high as 6 feet were reported.


Marseille, France was buried under 11.4 inches of snow, most of which fell within six hours, their first significant snow in over 20 years. The snow snarled traffic and closed the airport.


An unusually cold winter across China has some regions hitting their lowest average temperatures in more than 40 years, according to state media reports. The Chinese national meteorological agency said, “polar fronts caused by global warming was to blame for the frigid air”.

The freeze was the coldest winter in since 1985. The national average temperature across China's vast territory was just 25.2° since late November. In northeast China, which typically has snowy, cold winters, the average temperature was 4.5°, the lowest in 42 years.

Temperatures dropped as low as -40° across eastern Inner Mongolia, northern Xinjiang and the Arctic reaches of northeast China.


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