Weather Center

What Are Your Snow-Day Chances?

By Mitch Gruen 1.13.20

Making snow predictions is a tricky business — a recent study published in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences concluded that it’s not really possible to make accurate weather predictions more than about 10 days out. Meteorologists tend to agree. But we really want snow, so here we go.

When asked on Dec. 5 about the possibility of a white Christmas, Pete Delkus of WFAA in Dallas said, “This many days in advance, reliable data does not go out far enough to predict a white Christmas or not. Until I see conclusive data that points to a white Christmas, I won’t rule it in or out!”

OK, OK. We can’t get a meteorologist to promise us snow. But we can look at historical trends in different regions of Texas and make some guesses (or wishes). Let’s take a look:

West Texas

West Texas, especially in the Panhandle, gets the most snow on average of anywhere in the state. Amarillo is Texas’s snowiest city, getting an average of 17.9 inches a year. Good job, Amarillo! Lubbock gets plenty of snow, too, averaging about 9 inches per year.

El Paso doesn’t usually get snow, but a record was set in 1987 when nearly 2 feet of snow fell in two days, bringing the normally buzzing city to a standstill.

North Texas

Snow days are not completely out of the question for Dallas-Fort Worth, though they are rare. The last time it happened was in 2015, when about 2 inches fell, which may not sound like a lot, but it sure felt like a lot if you were stuck outside for an hour waiting for the train to come.

If you’re farther north, in, say, Wichita Falls, your chances may be a bit higher — they got 3 inches of snow in December 2018.

East Texas

Snow is not common in Houston or in other cities on the Gulf Coast. Sleet and hail are more likely, and while snow flurries are somewhat common, they usually melt quickly. Houston’s most recent snowfall came in November 2018, though the traces of snow melted soon after they fell.

Christmas 2004 is fondly remembered by many Houstonites for unexpectedly bringing Houston’s first-ever white Christmas.

Central Texas

Snow is rare in Austin and other central areas. Most recently, in 2017, Austin got 1.3 inches of snow. Prior to that, Austin got .9 inches of snow in 2011.

Tiny, snowlike hail called “graupel” fell on Austin in 2019, much to the internet’s delight. The biggest single-day snowfall for Austin was in 1949, when 6.5 inches fell on the city.

South Texas

When asked if he thinks it is going to snow this year, San Antonio meteorologist Adam Caskey, of KSAT in San Antonio, said, “I hope so!” Which is good enough for us.

Snow is not common in South Texas, but during a storm in December 2017, San Antonio and other cities throughout South Texas were blanketed in frosty splendor. The last major snow event in San Antonio was in 1985, when a record-setting storm dropped more than a foot of snow on the city.

Though it’s much more likely in certain cities, snow is possible nearly everywhere in Texas — if you wish hard enough! But if building a snowman is extra important to you, you might want to consider taking a winter road trip to Amarillo.

© 2020 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance