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San Antonio Sees First Significant Snowfall In Over 30 Years

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Joey Palacios
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Texas Public Radio
A six inch snowman sits in front of the Alamo on a day where parts of Bexar County received 2.5 inches of snow.

The San Antonio International Airport received 1.9 inches of snow Thursday night, while other parts of Bexar County saw up to 2.5 inches.

That’s the largest amount of snow to have fallen in the Alamo city area in more than 30 years.

“This would be like the 17th time we’ve had an inch of snow, and that’s since we’ve been keeping records as far back as 1885,” said Monte Oak, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in New Braunfels.

While snow was expected in West Texas, it took many surprise in San Antonio.

The heaviest snow began falling after 7 p.m. in some parts of the city. Residents flocked to areas like Travis Park, the site of the city’s main Christmas tree.

 

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Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
A mix of snow and slush surrounds the H-E-B Christmas Tree in Travis Park

Miguel Torres, a recent graduate from Burbank High School, said it was his second time seeing snow.

“It’s a cool feeling; feels like a movie looking at the Christmas tree and everything,” he said. “Enjoy it while you can because, you know – we’re in Texas, and it does get hot here. So this is a rare thing to see.”

Tourists, who were also strangers to snowfall, welcomed the new experience. Juan Hoyos and his wife are in town from Colombia.

“In Colombia we don’t have snow, so it’s a great opportunity to me that it snowed. We are in (the) Christmas (season), we want to celebrate and maybe go to drink something hot,” he said.

The Santos family was celebrating the birthday of their youngest son Jesse. “I can make a snowball,” Jesse said.

“My son was always asking to see some snow, and he finally got it. I’m sure it will bring a change and smile to everybody,” Jesse Santos Sr. said.

Santos is able to recall when San Antonio saw its largest snowfall.

“Last time, was in ’85 and I was young; I still vaguely remember that; that was some good snow,” he said.

On Jan. 11, 1985, the Alamo City was coated in 13.2 inches of snow. Another snowfall a few days later reached about 2.5 inches. Oak said snow accumulation in San Antonio has only reached above 4 inches four times — 1896, 1926, 1949 and 1985 — since record keeping began.

“Amounts over three to four inches are pretty rare for this area, needless to say,” Oak said.

San Antonio has only seen snow accumulation three times — between  0.1 to 0.7 inches — in the last 15 years.

Snow also fell in Corpus Christi and other areas along the Texas Gulf Coast and parts of northern Mexico. The chances for more snow in the coming days is unlikely, Oak said. But that doesn’t eliminate future chances in South Texas in the coming months.

“Generally you can expect every three years or so we’re going to get a snow event. But that’s not to say we can’t have two in the same year just as we did in 1985.”

 

Joey Palacios can be reached at joey@tpr.org or on Twitter @joeycules