On this date in 1989, an epic cold wave was diving south to the Gulf Coast. On the left side of this image, you can see the upper air chart:
Over one hundred and twenty cities across the central and eastern United States reported record low temperatures for the date. Forty one of the cities also record lows for the month of December, some which had only been set the day before.
The temperature fell to 11 degrees at New Orleans and Lake Charles LA, 4 below zero at San Angelo TX and 26 below zero at Topeka KS, all establishing all-time record lows for those locations.
Here in Birmingham, the coldest morning was the 23rd, when it was 1F at the Airport. The 1F on the 23rd was sandwiched between twin readings of 4F on the 22nd and 24th.
The pressure at the center of the anticyclone reached an amazing 1061 millibars. Here is the weather map from 6 a.m. that morning.
Meanwhile, a strong storm moving across the Florida peninsula produced heavy snows along the Carolina coast. Fifteen inches of snow fell at Wilmington NC and 13.3 inches at Cape Hatteras NC. It was the first white Christmas of record from Florida to North Carolina.
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