With its traditionally warm climate and iconic images of cacti, ranches, and hot-weather pursuits, Texas may not be the first place you think of to find snow. However, it has its fair share of high-altitude locations where it would be cold enough to get snow in winter. Moreover, remember the snowstorm in February 2021 when many households were completely cut off as pipes burst and snow-covered Houston? It just shows that it can, indeed, snow in Texas.
So, does it snow in Texas, and if so, where are the places you’d expect to see snow and lower temperatures in winter? While snow is usually a rare occurrence in Texas, it has been registered several times and can occur at low temperatures throughout the state.
Let’s look at places where it has snowed in Texas and what you can expect about Texas climate in general.
Overall, the state of Texas has pretty varied weather, thanks to the varied geography, which mixes arid areas in the west with humid sections on the eastern side. As Texas covers such a large surface (695,662 km2), there can be significant weather changes. Moreover, Texas is also home to tornadoes: on average, 139 are recorded here every year.
From a cold and snow perspective, the lowest temperatures in Texas are recorded in the northern and western regions every year. This includes places like Austin and Waco, where the overall temperatures have been below freezing on several occasions.
Record Cold and Snow Events in Texas
Generally speaking, even the colder regions in Texas could be considered snow-free almost any year. However, there have been some significant snowstorms and cold snaps recorded, which are worth mentioning.
In February 1956, northern Texas faced a snowstorm of epic proportions, which led to 61 inches of snow falling at Vega. And does it snow in El Paso? On a different occasion, they had 22.4 inches of snowfall over 24 hours on December 13-14, 1987.
One of the worst winters recorded in Texas was in December 1983, when four weather stations had readings of 32 F for the longest continuous stretch. In Lubbock, temperatures were below freezing for 207 hours straight, while Dallas–Fort Worth airport measured temperatures at or below freezing for 296 consecutive hours.
Most recently, February 2021 was a record-breaking cold snap that caused severe disruption across the state. Austin had below-freezing temperatures for seven days in a row. The Central Texas region, which includes Waco, set a new record for being under freezing for nine days consecutively.
Regular Snow In Texas
In a regular year, you should expect snow in winter in Texas, albeit a lot less than in other more northern states. The average snowfall is 0.1 inches, and it usually melts in a few days, therefore not causing massive disruption.
For the most snowfall in Texas, head to the western region, including Amarillo (17.8 inches annually), Lubbock (8.2 inches), and El Paso (6.9 inches). Wichita Falls in North Central Texas is the next best location for snow, where they get c. 4.2 inches annually. The rest of the state would normally only get minimal, if any, amount of snow.
Where Does It Snow in Texas?
If you’d like to revel in snow-capped mountains and beautiful scenery, there are a few lovely sections of Texas where snow is more or less guaranteed, and the landscape will also match the beauty of the powder.
At an elevation of 3,600 feet, Amarillo gets about 18 inches of snow every year, beautifully coating the rocky desert. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park looks lovely covered in white and welcomes tourists with many multi-use trails. You may not want to be using the park’s campgrounds in winter, but the 30-minute drive from Amarillo is worth it for a shot of the snow-covered scenery.
Although not often snowed on, Lubbock has been at the center of some massive snowdrops. It can snow here as early as October. It’s a lovely spot to see the snow, with the city’s attractions unaffected by the weather (such as the Buddy Holly statue, as this is his hometown).
Does it snow in El Paso, Texas? You’d think not, based on its proximity to Mexico and the desert landscape that surrounds the city. However, Franklin Mountain State Park is just a short drive from the city and a beautiful environment to see covered in snow. Given the mountainous landscape, that’s where you would expect the snow to stick around the longest.
Big Bend National Park
Near the border to Mexico, you’ll most often see cacti than snow, but the Big Bend National Park can look beautiful in winter. There are some high elevation areas in the park, such as the Chisos Mountains, and you can drive up to higher altitudes to be sure to see some snow. Moreover, Big Bend has many hiking trails to allow you to get into the heart of snow-covered nature.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
This park contains the four highest peaks in Texas, with elevations between 3,000 and over 8,000 feet, so you’re guaranteed to find snow here in winter. High-altitude hiking trails can lead to snowy landscapes from December to January.
Despite the winter weather, campgrounds remain open in the park, although there are strong winds, and it might be a difficult place to stay overnight.
Does It Snow in Dallas, Texas?
Finally, one place that’s not usually associated with snow is the city of Dallas, TX. There have been some unusual snowstorms including in 2010 and 2021, and the Texas Northers can bring blizzards around quickly.
Conclusion – Does It Snow In Texas?
Expect to be surprised by the weather in Texas, depending on which part of the state you’re in. Given its vast land surface, Texas has significant temperature variations, and it can get below freezing and snow during winter, most often in December and January. To be sure to see snow, head to the national parks with high peaks, where the higher altitude will ensure lower temperatures. But, don’t be surprised if you’re caught in a blizzard in more unlikely places like Houston – it’s been known to happen!