A historic blizzard struck the Panhandles during the early morning hours of Monday, February 25 and continued through the afternoon hours. A very intense upper-level disturbance produced a band of heavy snow that set up over the central Panhandles from roughly Amarillo to Borger to Perryton during the early morning hours on Monday. Within this band of snow, snowfall rates approached 2-3 inches per hour, thundersnow was observed, and extreme blizzard conditions were observed. As this band moved west and east during the morning hours, many locations from Hereford to Beaver received more than 10 inches of snow. The heavy snow and strong winds resulted in visibilities less than 50 feet at times for many of these locations. As a result, this virtually crippled the entire area and made travel almost impossible. In fact, all roads in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles were closed, including Interstate 40 from the New Mexico border to the Oklahoma border and Interstate 27 from Amarillo to Lubbock. Conditions were so severe that Texas Department of Transportation crews were not able to work to keep the roads plowed. Rick Husband International Airport in Amarillo was shut down for most of the day. 19 inches of snow accumulated at NWS Amarillo along with a peak wind gust of 75 mph late Monday morning. A peak wind gust of 77 mph was also recorded at the Pantex Nuclear facility. Unfortunately, many motorists were also stranded.
*This was the 3rd largest snowfall event at Amarillo -- only behind March 25-26, 1934 (20.6 inches) and December 26-27, 2000 (20.2 inches)
*This was the 2nd largest snowfall for a calendar day -- only behind March 25, 1934 (19.3 inches)
*This was the largest snowfall for a single day in the month of February. The previous record was 12 inches on February 16, 1893
*The 17-inch snow depth at 6 AM on Tuesday, February 26 was the highest all-time snow depth measurement taken at Amarillo.
For us, this translated into two days of no school, and even the service center where I work was shut down! The kids slept in nice and late Monday morning, and then spent time making a big breakfast. Each kid had his own idea of comfort food.
|Rex makes waffles|
|Bowen bakes biscuits|
|Drake scrambles some eggs|
|Corbin feasts on it all|
In the meantime, the wind was howling and the snow was piling up. This is a look out the back door. That is our grill, and although it is hard to see, there are huge drifts building up. Some were as high as 4 feet! You can also see the snow all stuck to the side of the house from the fierce blowing.
The boys were not going to miss it. They bundled up like crazy and went out into the raging storm. I was sure it would take them longer to get dressed than they would last. I was wrong. They dug a snow cave for some shelter and frolicked around making snowballs. By the end of the day, the sun came out, and we were able to dig a little path to the back gate.
Even though the blizzard had passed by Monday night, we were homebound for another day. The roads were so drifted with snow, it was more than a week before it was all melted. What a mess! I am not to sure about this weather out on the plains. It makes for some excitement, but I am ready for spring!