The history of snow in the Alamo City

Snow hasn’t always brought winter magic to San Antonio, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming of a white Christmas.

Snowfall on the river in Brackenridge Park

Brackenridge Park in February, 2021. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Raise your hand if you remember the snowstorm of 1985.

In case you missed it, or don’t remember, here’s what happened: On the night of Jan. 11, 1985, snowfall began which would continue through the following morning, as you can see in a throwback “special report” that ran while snow was still falling.

Meteorologists predicted a total of 3-4 inches, which would have brought the event in line with the 1949 snowfall record of 4.7 inches. By the end of Jan. 12, over 13 inches had fallen. That record hasn’t been cleared since.

Snow in San Antonio isn’t all snow angels and catching flakes on your tongue. The February 2021 winter storm brought record-low temps and knocked out power for 346,000+ residents.

The H-E-B South Flores Market covered in snow.

Expect rain and temperatures around 70 degrees through next week. | Photo via H-E-B Newsroom

Suffice it to say, snow is always an event in San Antonio. Check out these fast facts about Texas’s relationship with snow days:

  • Even during the Ice Age, it’s thought that no glacier developed in Texas. That made it a welcome refuge for mammoths and other prehistoric critters.
  • The earliest recorded white Christmas in Texas happened in 1841, when a soldier described tracking a bear through six inches of snow near what would become Dallas.
  • Texas’s highest certified snowfall clocks in at 26 inches, which fell over 24 hours in Hillsboro in 1929 — but other reports suggest 30 inches fell on Valentine’s Day in 1895.
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