Historic Texas Snowstorm
December 20-21, 1929

 

The first half of December 1929 was remarkably warm across North Texas, most days featuring highs in the 60s and 70s.  However, the mild weather came to an abrupt end on December 17 when an arctic front blew through the region.  Within 24 hours, temperatures had fallen some 40 degrees.  The mercury struggled to top the freezing mark on December 18 despite abundant sunshine.  In the Panhandle, where temperatures were plunging to near 0°F, a strong storm system was invading.  By the morning of December 19, 1 to 2 inches of snow had fallen across portions of the Panhandle.

The system dug slowly southeastward.  Snow began falling in western portions of North Texas during the afternoon hours of December 20.  Lightning and thunder accompanied the snow throughout the following night.  By daybreak on December 21, several inches of snow had fallen across Central Texas from Junction to Lampasas, northeastward to Palestine and Athens.  Clifton and Hillsboro had already accumulated 16 inches of snow by daylight that morning.  The heavy snow continued through much of the day, before tapering off during the late afternoon and evening hours.  By late evening on December 21, the snow was confined to far East Texas.

 

December 1929 Snowstorm - Monthly Weather Review

Monthly Weather Review, March 1930

 

The storm lasted barely 24 hours, but the storm totals were nothing short of extraordinary.  A swath of snowfall in excess of 12 inches was 2 to 3 counties wide.  Along the axis of maximum depth, totals exceeded 24 inches, on par with the heaviest snowfalls in Texas history.  Clifton recorded 24 inches of snow in just 24 hours.  Nearby Hillsboro tallied 26 inches.

Where the snowfall was greatest, temperatures plummeted into the single digits.  In Waco, where the 13-inch total remains a 24-hour record for the site, the mercury fell to 2°F, one of the coldest temperatures ever recorded there.  With 2 feet of snow on the ground, Clifton fell to 0°F.  In Dallas/Fort Worth, where only a dusting of snow was recorded during the event., temperatures quickly rebounded, reaching 70°F on Christmas Day.

 

 Storm Total Snowfall - December 20-21, 1929

 

 The Hillsboro Mirror - December 21, 1929

The Hillsboro Mirror, December 21, 1929

Snowfall in Vaughan 

The above photo was taken in Vaughan, about 5 miles
west of Abbott in Hill County.  Southwest of Hillsboro,
Vaughan was near the axis of maximum snowfall.

Thanks to the McIlroy family for sharing this photo.

 

                             

 


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.