It Does Too Snow in Texas

And so the sun rose . . .

And so the sun rose . . .

cold and serene.

cold and serene.

Two weeks ago, my part of the world did not have an ice-storm. Things worked just right so that the edge of the warm layer came down low enough in the atmosphere that we did not get super-cold rain that froze on contact.

Ice under the snow.

Ice under the snow.

It froze, but more came as rain, then as snow, and not too many limbs dropped from the trees in town. My hind-brain still shivered, listening for the sound of exploding transformers. Silly Alma, the utility company and home owners here trim their trees. And when the sun rose on the third day . . .

The rising sun on ice near Redquarters.

The rising sun on ice near Redquarters.

I had to go to work that morning, but a touch later than usual, for which I was very grateful. On the other paw, I had time to shovel the walks and part of the driveway. Win some, lose some.

I stopped by the playa I’ve been watching and took a few pictures. keep in mind, this is considered a “dry playa,” in that it has no open water in it at the moment. There may be some standing water in the center, in the sedges, but I was not tromping out to check. I have permission to visit, but not to go all the way into the inner ring of the lake.

Doesn't look like four inches of snow, does it?

Doesn’t look like four inches of snow, does it?

The grass catches and holds the snow. Bunchgrasses and other native plants are not lovely even swards of mowed and trimmed fescue, so it takes at least seven or eight inches to cover the grass and turn the plains into a smooth spread of pure white, more or less.

Yes, it felt as cold as it looked.

Yes, it felt as cold as it looked.

A better look at how the plants trap the snow.

A better look at how the plants trap the snow.

By trapping the snow and holding it, drifts tend to be lower, and the snow soaks in better instead of blowing, piling up, and then drenching one spot while others are bare and dry. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t drift. The last “oh my gosh, where did town go?!?” storm was 1976, when snow drifted to the second story windows of houses in the far northeastern Panhandle. At a certain point, even the grass gives up. I’ve seen five foot drifts in the drive at Redquarters, and that’s well in town. A good snow is one that is wet, falls between December and early March (trees not leafed), and no wind. We usually get two out of three, and I’ve dodged a falling oak limb on occasion.

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4 thoughts on “It Does Too Snow in Texas

  1. That’s an interesting look at the playa, and yes that just flat looks cold!!! I can’t ‘see’ the wind, but I’m sure it was there too!!!

  2. What a cool post (pun intended). I imagine out on the windswept plains, it feels pretty darn cold by the time it is cold enough for snow to be falling and sticking.

    Personally, I’ve never contended that it does not snow in Texas. My first trip to Texas people had made a snowman on the table of an outdoor cafe, courtesy of an overnight snowstorm. By afternoon the only signs of snow where the wilted-looking snowman and a few tiny piles here and there, and by dusk no snow could be seen.

    • I’ve heard people joke that we have “scenic snow:” it only falls on yards and roofs, not the streets. One memorable night in November a few years back, downtown Amarillo was flooding because of strings of thunderstorms pounding it, while the drought continued on the west side of town and a grassfire blazed. It snowed in the middle! The next AM we had 8-10″ of heavy, wet snow and dropping tree limbs all over the place. This place knows no moderation when it comes to meteorology.

  3. Thanks for posting the pictures. We’re far enough south of you that we only got rain out of that event.

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