A White Christmas in Brownsville, Texas!

All images copyright © 2004, 2005 by Wm. Robert Johnston, unless otherwise indicated.

In the early morning hours of Christmas 2004, snow fell in Brownsville, Texas. This was the first measurable accumulation of snow there since 1895, and gave Brownsville residents their first recorded white Christmas.
Sleet and ice began falling in south Texas in the evening of December 24, but around 1-2 AM on Christmas morning this turned to snow. Total accumulation was about 4 centimeters. Risking an encounter with Santa Claus, many residents were out in the middle of the night to see this historic snow.
Sunrise revealed a winter wonderland.
The snow added an unexpected accent to Christmas decorations in town.
This thermometer indicated very unusual conditions for Brownsville.
In 1983 and 1989 Brownsville had freezes with extended periods of subfreezing temperatures, causing extensive damage to local citrus crops. Temperatures with this snowfall were not below freezing for very long, sparing most citrus but still damaging the more delicate tropical plants.
Views around one of Brownsville's resacas.
Footprints from one of the many birds who seek winter refuge in Brownsville from weather like this.

Most Brownsville residents aren't used to snow. On Dec. 30 listeners of Paul Harvey heard the story of a thief who broke into a business on Christmas Eve, and was tracked and captured by Brownsville police who followed his footprints to his house.

More palm trees and snow.
Distance to the Gulf coast. The Brownsville area is known for tropical weather, despite the weather on this particular day.
By midmorning the snow was already melting. If you missed it, expect a long wait until the next snow here.
Three Texas snowmen, appropriately guarding their pickup truck.
This is the view someone would have had viewing south Texas on Christmas Day, 2004, from 65 km altitude. Except for the clouds over the Gulf of Mexico at the lower right, the white areas in this view are ground snowcover. At the lower left Brownsville, Texas, and Matamormos, Mexico, are still partly covered by snow.

(I did not take this picture; I was busy on the ground playing in the snow. This is reprojected from satellite images by the TERRA satellite.)

The timing of this unique snowfall was special perhaps in distracting from the common materialistic trappings of Christmas morning. More important than this, than special weather, than even charity and family ties, we hope you remember the timeless gift that is the basis for the holiday of Christmas, God's gift of His Son.

Some other pictures...

Copyright © 2005 by Wm. Robert Johnston. All rights reserved.
Last modified 29 January 2005.
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