From 80 Degrees To A Half-Foot Of Snow: 12 Days Of Christmas Weather In D-FW History | KERA News

From 80 Degrees To A Half-Foot Of Snow: 12 Days Of Christmas Weather In D-FW History

Dec 18, 2017

For all of you white Christmas hopefuls, know that a typical Dec. 25 in North Texas reaches the mid-50s with little-to-no measurable precipitation.

But as National Weather Service records show, sometimes the biggest surprise on Christmas Day can be the weather.

Just last year, it was a record-breaking 80 degrees. The year before that, on Dec. 26, a dozen tornadoes tore through the region. In 2012, a cold front brought hail, sleet and half a foot of snow to parts of Denton and Collin counties.

There are many more examples.

Here's a look at 12 days of unusual Christmastime weather in North Texas, spanning from 2016 all the way back to 1841.

Weather of Christmases past

Source: National Weather Service in Fort Worth

2016: The high reached 80 degrees; the low was 69. That made it the hottest Christmas since the National Weather Service started keeping track.

2015: After a warm 73-degree Christmas, the next day brought extreme weather. Dec. 26 reached a high of 82, and tornadoes ravaged Rowlett, Garland and Sunnyvale and killed 13 people. KERA focused on North Texas recovering from this storm in a series called "Rebuilding A Life."

What was left of Alfredo and Anthony Fowler-Rainone's home in Rowlett after tornadoes tore through the day after Christmas in 2015.
Credit Lara Solt / KERA News contributor

2012: Early morning thunderstorms gave way to snow and sleet. Western Denton County and Collin County saw between 4 and 6 inches.

Take a drive around Dallas on that Christmas day in 2012.

2009: Snow was still on the ground from a rare blizzard on Christmas Eve. The 3 inches of snow at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was the first measurable snowfall on record for Dec. 24. Some places northwest of the metro area received as much as 9 inches of snow — from Jacksboro to Bowie to northwestern Cooke County. Winds gusted over 50 mph, with drifts as high as 5 feet.  

2000: Nearly 2 inches of rain fell during the evening with freezing temperatures. The Dallas-Fort Worth area was spared any minor freezing rain. This is the wettest Christmas on record.

A typical Christmas in Dallas-Fort Worth: A high of 56 degrees.

1997: On Christmas Eve, there were a few flurries with rain, and on Christmas morning, about half an inch of snow covered parts of the metro.

1983: The high reached just 18 degrees and the low dropped to 6. It's the coldest Christmas on record. Texas wasn't alone; this was a historically cold Christmas for much of the country. 

1975: Less than half an inch of snow fell, but it was the first almost white Christmas in nearly 50 years.

1929: Texas experienced one of its heaviest snow events in history on Dec. 21. From Clifton to Hillsboro, 2  feet of snow fell. Snowfall in excess of 12 inches stretched from Goldthwaite and Lampasas to Corsicana and Athens. Central Texas saw 10 to 16 inches of snow, but only a trace was recorded in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Monthly Weather Review, March 1930
Credit National Weather Service in Fort Worth

1926: Two inches of snow fell in Fort Worth; it melted by afternoon. Dallas received over 6 inches of snow.

1879: One inch of sleet and snow was on the ground. "It was said that the snow and sleet was so compacted that a horse's hoof did not leave an imprint in the snow," the weather service reports.

1841: The earliest white Christmas on record in North Texas: Three soldiers from a nearby fort were tracking a bear in 6 inches of snow near what is now White Rock Lake.

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