National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Weather trivia for December


Dec 1, 1896
The temperature at Kipp MT rose 30 degrees in just seven minutes, and
80 degrees in a matter of a few hours. A 31 inch snow cover was melted
in half a day.

Dec 2, 1970
A tornado, 400 yards in width, touched down about one mile below the
summit of Timpanogos Divide. Trees up to 18 inches in diameter were
snapped, and some of the 38 inch snow cover was carried 1000 feet
above the ground as the tornado traveled one mile.

Dec 3, 1856
A severe blizzard began to rage across Iowa and Kansas. It produced
as much as 16 inches of snow in Iowa.

Dec 4, 1786
The first of two great early December storms began. The storm produced
18 inches of snow at Morristown NJ, and 20 inches of snow at New
Haven CT. It also resulted in high tides at Nantucket which did great

Dec 5, 1953
A killer tornado hit Vicksburg Mississippi killing 38 persons, injuring
270 others, and causing 25 million dollars damage, the most
damage since the 47 days of continuous shelling the town received
in the Civil War.

Dec 6, 1994
A significant ice storm struck much of southwest Kansas coating
surfaces with one half to 1 inch of ice. A tremendous amount of tree
damage occurred. Damage to power lines was minimal. According
to the electric companies there were communities without power
for several hours. One traffic fatality in the Larned area was
blamed on icy roads.

Dec 7, 1988
An outbreak of cold arctic air brought up to 18 inches of snow to
the Colorado Rockies, with 14 inches at Boulder Colorado and seven
inches at Denver. Heavy snow blanketed New Mexico the following
day, with 15 inches near Ruidoso.
IN 1989...A storm moving out of the Central Rocky Mountain Region
spread snow across Kansas and Oklahoma into Arkansas and Tennessee.
Snowfall totals ranged up to 7.5 inches at Winfield KS. Freezing
rain on trees and power lines cut off electricity to 24,000 homes
in northeastern Arkansas, and 40,000 homes in the Nashville TN
area were without electricity for several hours.

Dec 8, 1963
Lightning caused the crash of a jet airliner killing 81 persons
at Elkton Maryland.

Dec 9, 1997
Six to eight inches of snow accumulated in a very narrow band
from Scott City KS to Hays KS. The band was only a couple of miles
wide. Either side of this band, amounts ranged from 2 to 4

Dec 10, 1699
A severe ice storm hit Boston MA causing much damage to orchards.

Dec 11, 2000
Arctic air invaded southwest Kansas, and combined with strong
north winds, produced wind chill readings as low as 45 degrees
below zero.

Dec 12, 1991
Freezing rain resulted in ice accumulations around 1/4 of an inch
across southwestern Kansas during the night. This made travel
very hazardous and caused havoc for southwestern Kansas area
power companies. Power outages encompassed an area within 25
miles of and including Dodge City. Flickering lights and downed
power lines were also a common occurrence across southwestern
Kansas. One school district canceled classes because of
hazardous road conditions.

Dec 13, 1993
A high wind event developed across areas of Southwest Kansas
shortly after midnight. Wind gusts recorded were 70 mph at
Elkhart, 64 at Garden City, and 90 in the vicinity of Johnson
City. Some power lines and tree limbs were knocked down in the
Garden City area.

Dec 14, 1987
A powerful storm spread heavy snow from the Southern High Plains
to the Middle Mississippi Valley. Kansas City Missouri was blanketed
with 10.8 inches of snow, a 24 hour record for December, and
snowfall totals in the Oklahoma panhandle ranged up to 14 inches.
IN 1988...Blowing snow was reported in western Kansas as snow and gusty
winds plagued the Central Rockies and the Central High Plains.
Colorado Springs CO reported thirteen inches of snow.

Dec 15, 1839
The first of triple storms hit Massachusetts Bay. The storm produced
whole gales, and more than 20 inches of snow in interior New England.
There was great loss of life at Gloucester MA.

Dec 16, 1917
An ice jam closed the Ohio River between Warsaw NY and Rising Sun IN.
The thirty foot high ice jam held for 58 days, and backed up the river
a distance of 100 miles.

Dec 17, 1924
A severe icestorm struck central Illinois. It coated the ground with
nearly two inches of glaze at Springfield. The storm caused 21 million
dollars damage along with much hardship. Ice was on the trees until
the 4th of January, and electricity was not restored until January 10th.

Dec 18, 1983
A week of bitterly cold weather began as arctic air invaded the
central plains region. The temperature at Dodge City did not
rise above 4 degrees until Christmas day when the temperature
rose to 12 degrees. This was the coldest December of record by
far for Dodge City since records were begun in 1874.

Dec 19, 1777
The Continental Army moved into encampment at Valley Forge amidst
stormy winds and piercing cold. A relatively moderate winter followed.

Dec 20, 1990
All of Kansas was under the influence of arctic air, which
dropped temperatures to as low as minus 17 degrees at Goodland.
Strong northern winds produced wind chill temperatures of -45 to -55
degrees. The arctic chill continued through December 23rd.

Dec 21, 1952
Freezing drizzle and light freezing rain accumulated on telephone
and utility wires causing disruptions in service and
communications in southwest Kansas.
IN 1997...Widespread freezing rain occurred east of a line from Scott
City KS to Liberal KS. Roads were ice covered causing numerous
accidents. There was no structural damage reported.

Dec 22, 1989
Severe cold blasted into Kansas on December 22nd and December twenty
third. All time record low temperatures were recorded across the state.
Temperatures of between minus 20 and minus 30 degrees were reported at
over 20 cities across the state. Wind chill readings dipped to
between minus 50 and minus 60 degrees, making this period truly one of
the coldest periods ever in Kansas. The low of -21 degrees established
the record low for the month of December at Dodge City.

Dec 23, 1997
A winter storm impacted all of southwestern Kansas producing
dangerous conditions for early holiday travelers. The largest
amount of snow was at Meade where 15 inches fell. Unofficial
amounts to 19 inches were reported in Meade county. Other
amounts included Dodge City with 14 inches, Cimarron and Manter 12
inches, Liberal and Spearville 10 inches, Jetmore and Elkhart 9
inches, Syracuse, Johnson and Kinsley 8 inches, Hays 6 inches,
Garden City, Scott City and Hugoton 5 inches. The remainder of
the area had 4 inches. There was not a lot of wind so very
little drifting was reported. However, the wind did increase
dramatically late on December 24th and December 25th producing
considerable blowing and drifting.

Dec 24, 1983
The barometric pressure reached 31.42 inches at Miles City MT to
establish a record for the U.S. It was the coldest Christmas Eve
of record. More than 125 cities reported record low temperatures
for the date, and all-time record lows for December were reported
at seventeen cities, including Chicago with a low of 25 degrees
below zero, and Havre MT with a reading of 50 below zero.
IN 1955...The high of 86 degrees established the record high for
the month of December at Dodge City.

Dec 25, 1983
It was the coldest Christmas Day of record for the central and
eastern US. More than 125 cities reported record low temperatures
for the date, and 34 of those cities reported all-time records for
the month of December. The temperature plunged to -1 degree at
Huntsville AL, and dipped to 14 degrees at Galveston TX. Snow
covered the ground from the Pacific Northwest through much of the
Great Plains Region to the Northern Appalachians.
IN 2016...An unprecedented six tornadoes occurred on Christmas day
across the local area. The early morning started with a very high
amount of surface moisture as dewpoint temperatures rose to around
60 degrees. This is unheard of for late December in southwest
Kansas. A line of thunderstorms marched across the area during the
mid morning hours and along the leading edge there were brief
spin-ups. Five of these tornadoes caused minor damage.

Dec 26, 1776
George Washington crossed the ice clogged Delaware River. He
marched on Trenton in the midst of snow and sleet thus surprising
and capturing many of the British garrison.

Dec 27, 1982
The worst Louisiana rainstorm in more than 100 years came to an
end. More than 18 inches fell at Vinton LA during the three day
storm. Flooding was widespread, and property damage was estimated
at 100 to 200 million dollars. President Reagan visited the state
and declared ten parishes in northeastern Louisiana disaster areas.

Dec 28, 1839
The third storm in two weeks hit the northeastern US. It brought
two more feet of snow to Hartford CT and Worcester MA. Whole gales
swept the coast causing many wrecks.

Dec 29, 1830
A very heavy snowstorm ushered in the "winter of the deep snow".
The storm produced 30 inches of snow at Peoria IL and 36 inches
at Kansas City MO. Cold and snow continued until the middle of
February causing great suffering among pioneers.
IN 2006...A major winter storm crippled much of southwest Kansas
from December 29th to December 31st. Widespread total precipitation
from this storm ranged from 2 to 4 inches of rain and freezing rain
and there was even an area from Garden City to Dighton that had up to
six inches. This is incredible for any time of the year, let alone for
December. Significant, widespread damage to trees and especially
utility lines, poles, and towers resulted from one half to two and a
half inches of ice accumulation. An area from Sublette to Garden
City, north through Dighton had the most severe damage. Over 60
thousand people were without electricity at one time or another from
the nearly 10 thousand power poles that were taken down from the
weight of the ice. Some of these structures were high transmission
towers. In addition to the ice accumulation, large snow amounts were
reported in the western part of the area, especially near the Colorado
state line. Amounts of at least 10 inches were measured from Hamilton
county to Morton county. A location 15 miles west of Johnson had 32
inches of snow.

Dec 30, 1955
Anchorage AK reported an all-time record snow depth of 47 inches.

Dec 31, 1925
Greenland Ranch in Death Valley California went the entire
year without measurable precipitation.


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