National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

On This Day In

                   Weather History

December 31st

Local and Regional Events:

December 31, 1972:

A winter system visited the area on the 29th through the 31st, with precipitation beginning as rain in South Dakota during the early morning hours of the 29th. A period of freezing rain had occurred across South Dakota before the precipitation there changed to all snow, while in west central Minnesota snow in the morning turned to a period of freezing rain and sleet in the afternoon. Damages from the 40-mile wide ice storm from the Wheaton-Morris-Appleton area ENE through St. Cloud and Pine City, MN were some of the largest known to date across the area. Thousands of farms and homes across the ice storm strip were without power and telephone service as the result of thousands of broken lines and broken poles. Many were without utilities from one to three days, and a few without utilities for nearly a week. Utility damages were estimated to be 1.5 million dollars. In South Dakota, snowfall of 2 to 6 inches was common. Strong winds of over 40 mph accompanied the snow, causing drifting and blowing snow and occasionally reducing visibility to zero. Some of the roads were blocked. The most severe conditions occurred on the 30th when the highway department advised no traveling.

 

December 31, 2010:

A second stronger surface low-pressure area moved across the region on New Year's Eve bringing widespread heavy snowfall along with blizzard conditions. Bitter cold northwest winds of 25 to 40 mph combined with additional snowfall of 6 to 10 inches brought visibilities to near zero across much of the region. This storm was the second blizzard in two days across the area. The blizzard conditions continued into early New Year's Day. Both Interstates 29 and 90 were closed from the 31st until Sunday, January 2nd. There were several stranded motorists along Highway 83 with five people being rescued. The total snowfall amounts from the two storms ranged from 6 to 15 inches across the region. The two-day snowfall amounts included 6 inches at Eagle Butte; 7 inches at Doland; 8 inches at Mobridge and Gann Valley; 9 inches at Castlewood; 10 inches at Murdo, Clark, Ipswich, Kennebec, and Watertown and 11 inches at Clear Lake and Bryant. Locations with a foot or more of snow included 12 inches at Aberdeen, Gettysburg, Highmore, Milbank, Mission Ridge, and Bowdle; 13 inches at Eureka, Pierre, Onida, and Blunt; 14 inches at Mellette, Sisseton, Victor, and Roscoe with 15 inches at Britton, Webster, and Redfield. The snowfall began between 6 am and noon CST on the 31st and ended between 4 am and 11 am CST on January 1st.

U.S.A and Global Events for December 31st:

December 31, 1890:

According to the National Meteorological Library and Archive from the United Kingdom, during the month of December 1890, Westminster, England saw zero hours of sunshine. Click HERE to read more Weather Extremes.

 

December 31, 1933:

During the last week of December, a series of winter storms pounded the mountainside with 12 inches of rain near Los Angeles. More rain occurred on New Year's Eve, including 4.86 inches in downtown Los Angeles. The 4.86 inches is currently the fourth most rainfall to occur in one day in downtown Los Angeles since 1877. Around midnight, hillsides in at least three mountain locations collapsed sending millions of tons of mud and debris into the Crescenta Valley neighborhoods below. Crescenta Valley is a few miles north of Los Angeles. This mudslide destroyed more than 400 homes. Following the disaster, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the County of Los Angeles built a flood control system of catch basins and concrete storm drains, designed to prevent a repeat of the 1934 disaster. The Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley has a few "Then and Now" photos from this event.

View north from Mayfield Avenue showing a covered section in the foreground to be used as a street crossing. Crane from the mixer moves concrete for the wall sections to the top of the walls. The image is courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Click HERE for more This Day in Weather History from the Southeast Regional Climate Center.