Many Texans experienced snowfall and freezing temperatures during December and have weathered another round of icy blasts in January.
You may be wondering, “How low can it go?” How cold CAN it get in Texas?
Here’s a compiled list of record-breaking low temperatures in Texas history–
5° in Houston during the winters of 1930 and 1940
0° in San Antonio in 1949
-2° in Austin in 1949
-5 in Waco on February 12, 1899 and again in 1949
(I’ve seen photos of people ice skating on the Brazos River beneath the 1870 Suspension Bridge!)
-7° in Abilene on February 2, 1985
-8° in Dallas on February 12, 1899
-8° in El Paso during the winter of 1962
(This surprised me, but I discovered that even though it’s on the Mexican border, El Paso receives about 7″ of snow each winter. A record 22.4″ of snow fell there during the winter of 1987!)
-11° in Midland-Odessa on February 2, 1985
-12° in Wichita Falls on January 4, 1947
-16° in Amarillo on February 12, 1899
-17° in Lubbock on February 8, 1933
and, in a tie for the coldest temperature on record…
-23° in Seminole during February 1933 and also in Tulia on February 12, 1899!
You may have noticed that several records were set in 1899, 1933, and 1949. In each of those years Texas (and much of the United States) experienced record-breaking blizzards.
Another cold winter occurred in 1821. Though there are no official records that far back, Jane Long, the “Mother of Texas”, was encamped with her infant daughter and a servant on the Bolivar Peninsula. She later wrote that the weather was so cold that the water in Galveston Bay froze solid and that she watched a black bear walk across the ice from the mainland to Galveston Island! If we estimate the weight of the bear at around 400 lbs., that frozen salt water would have had to be about 5″ thick to support its weight!