The Worst Snowstorm in Texas History Happened 90 Years Ago!

By  | 
Tony Maples Photography


On December 17, 1929, the seasonally warm temperatures that North Texas had been experiencing for the first half of the month came to an abrupt end. With an Arctic front ushering in cold air, the next 24 hours would produce temperatures near zero degrees Fahrenheit. Although for much of December 1929, daily highs reached the 60s and 70s, this twist brought with it several inches of snow as well as thunder and lightning! The strong storm system was bringing with it over a foot of snowfall for parts of the Lone Star State, and it would be labeled the worst snowstorm in Texas history.

The winter storm system of December 1929 would proceed slowly southeastward from the Panhandle. Parts of North Texas would only receive mere inches (still impressive by their standards), while the Texas Hill Country and East Texas would get considerably more. In a matter of only that 24-hour period, the snowstorm totals were extraordinary. In a swath of two-to-three counties, consistent snowfall occurred in excess of a foot, and in some rare locations even two feet! Clifton had recorded a total of 24 inches of snow, while Hillsboro measured-in at 26 inches, making the state’s all-time 24-hour snowfall record. Surprisingly, that record was only just certified on the 88th anniversary (in 2017).

The Worst Snowstorm in Texas History Happened 80 Years Ago!

Photo: Wikimedia/Ximeg

Parts of Texas dropped to temperatures in the single digits for that period. At Waco, where this snowstorm set the 24-hour snowfall record for their location (at 13 inches), the thermometer read two degrees Fahrenheit, which is also practically a record in itself. Not surprisingly (because…um, Texas), parts of the state, such as the Dallas/Fort Worth area, only received a light dusting of snow. This might not seem so odd were it not for the fact that Hillsboro (which set the snowfall record) is only 60 miles south of DFW! Despite the amazing change in weather, the worst snowstorm in Texas history created havoc for only a short period, and by Christmas Day 1929, the average temperatures had bounced back up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit!