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WJIB at night

Last night (5/25) I was driving in West Peabody (MA) flipping through the AM 
band and caught WJIB at about 930pm. I thought WJIB had a blistering 5w of 
power...how can a signal carry that far at that power? It wasn't great, but it 
was listenable. This was a stock Delco radio in a Lumina-and the engine was 
running! Was this a fluke? I had it maybe 3 miles, and lost it on 128.
WCCM (800,Lawrence) was very listenable at their 203 watts, too-and it's 
usually not there at all. But, 5000 watt WUNR (1600,Brookline) was totally 
Can AM reception vary due to atmospherics?