North Texas has endured some costly and impressive winter storms over the years. Here’s a look back at some of the most impressive winter weather events.
DALLAS — Editor’s Note: The above video is from January 30, 2022.
Snow is seen as a magical treat for many in Texas.
Makes sense. Significant winter weather events don’t happen on a regular basis for most Texans.
But, when they do, they usually leave quite a mark.
Let’s look back at some of DFW’s most memorable winter weather events.
The coldest of the cold
Let’s start with the obvious, since it’s still so fresh. The February cold snap of 2021. Severe and prolonged cold gripped much of the state, and there was even a rare moment when every single one of Texas’s 254 counties were under a winter storm warning.
That’s likely to never happen again.
DFW spent 139 consecutive hours below freezing. 246 people died across the state. Rolling power outages, burst pipes and record energy consumption across the state left many North Texans with mental scars. The coldest temperature that February was -2°, which was also the second-coldest temperature EVER recorded in DFW. The coldest was -8° way back on February 12, 1899.
DFW only averages a below-zero temperature about once every 25 years.
Surprisingly, February 2021 wasn’t the longest stretch on record we spent below freezing. Back in December of 1983, DFW spent 295 hours in a row below 32°. This was remarkable for the area — it even got so cold that White Rock Lake was solid enough to walk on!
The snowiest and iciest
Apologies to any Cowboys fans reading this, but the last time Dallas was even in a conversation regarding a Super Bowl was when their stadium hosted the big game on February 6, 2011. That year’s matchup was between the Pittsburgh Steelers and, appropriately, the Green Bay Packers.
The days leading up to the Super Bowl were rough. Check out these National Weather Service archives:
February 1, 2011
Heavy rain accompanied a strong arctic front. The precipitation transitioned to heavy sleet thunderstorms during the early morning hours of February 1. Winds gusted over 50 mph at DFW Airport with heavy sleet. The precipitation changed to snow before ending, accumulating 6 to 7 inches of frozen precipitation in Graham and Olney.
February 3-4, 2011
Snow began in Central Texas during the evening hours of February 3. The snow spread north overnight, impacting nearly all of North Texas. Snow continued in Northeast Texas into the evening hours of February 4.
Dallas Love Field measured 5.1 inches for the event. Totals of 6 inches or more could be found in Collin County, and from Corsicana to Terrell and Canton. The heaviest amounts were 7 to 8 inches, from Emory and Sulphur Springs to Mineola and Mount Pleasant.
What an absolute mess leading up to the big game.
Things weren’t any tidier the year before, when more than a foot of snow fell on DFW Airport in 24 hours, breaking a record.
Check out the archive entry for that event:
February 11-12, 2010
Record breaking snow fell across North Central Texas. Cold air was already in place when a slow moving upper level low approached.
The low slowed significantly as it got closer to the region, and this allowed relatively warm and moist air to move over the colder air at the surface for an extended period of time.
This very unusual event brought snowfall totals of a foot or more for many locations around the DFW Metroplex. Haslet reported 14.4 inches, while DFW Airport had a record breaking 12.5 inches in 24 hours.
Widespread power outages resulted from the heavy snow, weighing down tree limbs and breaking transmission lines. Clean up from the tree damage lasted for weeks.
But which was the costliest?
Another dishonorable distinction for the deadly February winter storm and deep freeze of 2021? That it was also the costliest winter weather event in Texas state history — in terms of both money and life lost.
246 Texans lost their lives as a result of the Arctic blast. Statewide damages, meanwhile, totaled in excess of $100 billion.
Between 2010 and 2020, Texas experienced 67 extreme weather events in all, racking up some $200 billion in damages, but the 2021 storm alone halved the total cost of the entire weather decade that preceded it. Pretty crazy to think about.
We always marvel when we see Dallas under ice and snow, but you’d think we’d be used to it by now. Our wallets sure are!