White Christmas in North Texas



Posted on December 25, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 9:42 AM

Snow was falling over a wide area of North Texas on Christmas afternoon.

"Since the transition from rain to snow appears to be occurring very rapidly over the region (so much for the heat island!), it is possible to pick up an additional 1 to 2 inches than previously forecast, particularly in parts of Denton and Collin Counties," WFAA meteorologist Steve McCauley said.

He cautioned about the possibility of "thundersnow," because that could push the totals up locally. "But those should be an exception rather than a rule," McCauley added.

Early Christmas morning, the National Weather Service extended a winter weather advisory to include Dallas and Tarrant counties. The advisory began at 9 a.m. and continues through midnight Tuesday.

It's the winter storm that promises a little bit of everything: thunderstorms, rain, snow, wind, and  bitterly cold temperatures.

By early afternoon, snow was beginning to cover grassy areas in Lake Worth, and rain changed over to snow in Frisco.

The weather service issued a winter storm warning for the counties bordering the Red River, increasing its snowfall estimate along the Red River to 4 to 6 inches. Sherman, Denison, Gainesville and Paris are included in the alert area.

Less accumulation was initially forecast to the south: 2 to 4 inches in Denton, Collin, Hunt, Jack, Wise, Delta and Hopkins counties and 1 inch or less along the Interstate 20 corridor.  But because the rain-to-snow changeover occurred sooner than expected, the final totals could increase.

The Texas Department of Transportation was already reporting icy road conditions in the Panhandle at 7 a.m. as the storm headed toward North Texas.

By noon on Christmas Day, weather stations at Bowie and Bridgeport were reporting light snow, as the temperature dipped to the freezing mark.

As the rain turns to sleet and snow, northwest winds of 25 to 35 mph with higher gusts could result in areas of blowing snow with severely reduced visibility.

While the snow didn't arrive in North Texas in time for the kids to wake up to a White Christmas, many were jarred out of bed by the sound of powerful thunderclaps, rain and hail.

Heading into Christmas morning, all of North Texas remained above freezing as thunderstorms clattered across the region.

The rain was expected to continue through lunchtime. But by midafternoon, as temperatures drop, rain will turn to sleet and then snow in Denton and Collin counties as the sleet moves south into  Dallas and Fort Worth.

"The majority of that wintry precipitation is going to be north of that I-20 corridor," WFAA meteorologist Colleen Coyle said.

The snow will reach Dallas and Fort Worth by late afternoon as the temperature drops below freezing and a powerful north wind from 25-35 mph will make it feel like it's 13 degrees.

The fast-moving weather system will begin moving out of North Texas by 9 o'clock. 

One of the biggest concerns will come Wednesday morning when many people return to work. Bridges and overpasses could still be icy, with low temperatures in most of the region dipping down into the low 20s.

"We are going to see some of this freezing overnight, giving us some 'black ice' as we head into [Tuesday] evening," Coyle said.