Monday, December 11, 2017

South Texas Snow

It isn’t every day that Houston wakes up to a blanket of snow covering the ground, but that was the surprise that greeted many South Texas residents this morning.

A winter storm covered the Texas prairie with the white stuff from San Antonio to Houston last night, surprising many residents this morning. No significant accumulation was expected in the Houston area as late as yesterday. Even though there were flurries last night, few Houstonians expected to wake and see the ground covered with white.

Houston snow is rare, but not unheard of. Houston’s ABC affiliate, KTRK, noted that snow has been recorded in the city 35 times since 1895. The last measurable snowfall was in December 2009. Snow is more common in northern areas of Texas such as Dallas and Amarillo than Houston, which is at approximately the latitude as Jacksonville, Fl.

A rare South Texas blizzard, called a “blue norther,” may have actually changed the course of Texas history. In 1836, Santa Ana’s army encountered such a blizzard on the way to San Antonio. Several of the poorly equipped Mexican soldiers died in the storm. Moving animals and wagons through the frozen mud exhausted others and sapped morale and delayed the arrival of the Mexican army at the Alamo.

This year’s snow is more enjoyable for Texans. From the hill country to the Gulf coast, children are engaging in snowball fights, eating snow ice cream and trying to scrape enough snow together to build a small snowman. Without equipment to remove snow and ice or salt roads, many schools are closed even for the light dusting. Residents, both young and old, are giddy about the once-in-a-decade event.

The snow in Houston caps off a year of highs and lows for the city. 2017 began with a Super Bowl. The end of the summer saw Hurricane Harvey bring disastrous flooding to the area. In October, the Astros thrilled the city with its first World Series title. Now, as the year draws to a close, the rare snowstorm seems magical.

Most of the snow will be gone by lunchtime as temperatures climb to high near 50, but in the meantime, Houstonians of all ages will revel in it.

“It’s beautiful,” said nine-year-old Sarah. “It’s a winter wonderland.”

Originally published on The Resurgent

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