December 20 Weather History

...1836... A famous cold wave occurred in central Illinois. A cold front with 70 mph winds swept through at Noon dropping the temperature from 40 degrees to near zero in a matter of minutes. Many settlers froze to death. Folklore told of chickens frozen in their tracks and men frozen to saddles. Ice in streams reportedly froze to six inches in a few hours.

...1942... An early cold wave sent the temperature plunging to 6 degrees below zero at Newport RI, 3 degrees below zero at Nantucket MA, and to 11 degrees below zero at Boston MA.

...1955... The wind chill at Newport, Rhode Island dipped to 23 degrees below zero, breaking the record of 7 degrees below zero in 1951.

...1984... Lili, a rare December hurricane, was officially declared a tropical system in the central Atlantic as a well-defined eye type feature was apparent on satellite imagery. The hurricane peaked at sustained 80 mph winds and a pressure of 980 millibars, very respectable for a December hurricane.

...1986... An "Alberta Clipper" developed explosively just south of New England and blasted the region with high winds, torrential rain, and heavy snow. Up to 4 inches of rain fell across southern New England and winds frequently gusted to 60 and 70 mph. 30 inches of snow fell in southern Vermont, 24 inches in the higher elevations of western Massachusetts, and 20 inches in New Hampshire.

...1987... Heavy snow fell in the northern mountains of Colorado, with 15 inches reported in the Mary Jane ski area. Strong and gusty winds prevailed from the Northern High Plains to the Great Lakes. Winds gusted to 54 mph at Buffalo NY, and reached 66 mph at Livingston MT. Rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow fell across New England, with up to seven inches of snow in Maine.

...1988... Strong southerly winds ahead of a cold front in the central U.S. gusted to 70 mph at Indianapolis IN. The high winds toppled a masonry wall killing a construction worker. Low pressure and a trailing cold front brought rain and snow and high winds to the western U.S. Winds gusted to 90 mph at the Callahan Ranch south of Reno NV. Soda Springs, in the Sierra Nevada Range of California, received 17 inches of snow in less than 24 hours.

...1989... Brutal northwest winds ushered bitter cold arctic air into the north central U.S. International Falls MN and Warroad MN tied for honors as the cold spot in the nation with morning lows of 34 degrees below zero. Minot ND reported a wind chill reading of 81 degrees below zero. Squalls produced more heavy snow in the Great Lakes Region. Erie PA received 21 inches of snow, including four inches in one hour, to bring their total snow cover to 39 inches, an all-time record for that location.

...1990... The barometer peaked at 30.97 inches at Newport, Rhode Island, breaking the record of 30l.72 that was set in 1973.  Snow fell in Santa Maria, California for the first time since records have been kept.

...1997... Waco, Texas recorded 7.98 inches of rain in 24 hours -- the city's all-time 24 hour rainfall record.

...2006... A major winter storm affected Colorado, dumping several feet of snow on areas of the Rocky Mountains. The snowstorm temporarily closed the Denver International Airport.

...2009... A major snowstorm dumped 19.7 inches (3.7 on the 19th) at Newport, Rhode Island. The 19.7 inches of the 20th broke the record of 3.2 inches that was set in 1964.

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