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AccuWeather.com Forums _ Your Weather Stories / Historical Storms _ December 1989 arctic outbreak

Posted by: LeGrosB Dec 12 2009, 08:47 PM

I live in Lafayette, Louisiana at 30 degrees latitude about 30 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. In late December 1989, we had an arctic outbreak for the ages. The temperature dropped officially to 9F at Lafayette one morning. An upper air disturbance swung around the southern boundary of the arctic air as it rushed through dumping several inches of snow right along the gulf coast and even several inches on the offshore oil platforms out in the Gulf of Mexico. For the only time in my life, the NWS issued a freezing ocean spray warning for the Gulf Coast. The Atchafalaya Basin (large swamp) froze over. Anyone else in the deep south have any memories of the cold snap?

Posted by: davidals Mar 13 2010, 09:21 AM

I remember this very well. I lived in NW NC at the time. Due to elevation, it normally gets very cold during the winter, but this cold snap was far more severe, and it came on very quickly. In Boone, NC, I don't think the temperature broke freezing for something like 18 days, and there were a number of below zero nights, and days with high temps in the single digits.

The coastal storm came through then, from far north Florida to the NC Outer Banks. Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, New Bern all received record snowfalls. In Wilmington, the low of 0, and the 15 inches of snow both set all-time records, and beyond the suburbs conditions were even worse. In NC at least, the snow totals fell drastically as you moved inland. In the mountains of western NC, it remained sunny the entire day, but the highs never got above 10.

Posted by: Beck Apr 9 2010, 07:05 PM

We had something similar happen here in SoCal in December 1990 and most recently in January 2007. Many lows in the urban areas sunk well into the 30s and some in the 20s.

Posted by: bingobobbo Dec 22 2017, 03:21 PM

December 1989 had the dates fall on the same days of the week as this year (the 28-year cycle), and 1989--at 14 degrees--was our coldest December in history, with 1963 a distant second. we never even made it to 40 degrees all month until New Year' Eve. 28 years ago this weekend saw the peak of the frigid air, falling to -11 on Christmas Eve. It was our coldest of any month since February 1989 and the third coldest of any month from the time records began at the airport (19510 through the end of 1993. It was also the coldest month of the 1980s, berating out January 1982 by almost a full degree. The next month as cold would be January 1994, which was several tenths of a degree colder. December 1989's warmest day 940 degrees on the 31st) was one mere degree higher than our warmest of February 2015 (39 on the 8th). Our coldest day of December 1989, -11, was one degree lower than our coldest of February 2015 (-10, on the 20th and the 24th).

If you average December 1989 and its exact antithesis, December 2015, you get almost our exact normal mean temperature.

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