The winter of 1989-1990 in the eastern 2/3rds of the nation had been brutal. November 1989 started mild in the western part of the nation, and a bit cooler in the East it was nothing out of the ordinary. The weather, however changed dramatically in late November. It turned very cold with frequent snowstorms in the central states and the east. In the Midwest temperatures averaged, in some places more than 15 degrees below normal, and it ranked as one of the 5 coldest Decembers on record, and the fierce winter was just getting started. At the end of December, just a day before Christmas one of the greatest coastal snowstorms every recorded struck South and North Carolina. By Christmas morning 1989 snow reached almost 4” in depth in Charleston, SC, 15” in Wilmington NC and more than a foot all the way out on Cape Hatteras, NC. Snow covered the ground as far south as Tampa and Daytona Beach. In January and February of 1990 temperatures began to moderate somewhat – but it remained cold and snowy in many places in the East. In mid-March winter broke and it did so by completely flipping the script. Warm air started to build across the Plains states and by March 10th the jet stream, that had dropped far south in the United States and brought cold air with it had retreated quickly northward into Canada. That allowed the warm air out west to pour into the East. March 12 , 1990 saw unheard of record high temperatures. The mercury reached 90 in Raleigh, NC, 87 in Norfolk, Va. 86 on the beaches of Atlantic City. And amazing 95 in Baltimore Md, breaking a record that had stood for 100 years. Meanwhile cool air still held out over New England and Long Island. While readings in northern New Jersey soared into the upper 80s, central Long Island was chilly. LaGuardia Airport, a mere 60 miles away in New York City reached no higher than 47. But the winter was clearly on the run on March 12, 1990 and no more artic air reached into the Eastern states until the following winter.
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