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Heavy Snow for Denver Foothills; Critical Fire Weather Threats in California

A strong cold front moving into the Plains will produce heavy snow, up to a foot, across the Colorado Front Range foothills, including southwest of the Denver metro area. Strong winds behind the front will create critical fire weather threats across much of California through Friday. Later this week, this front will produce heavy rain from the South Plains to the Tennessee Valley. Read More >

 

 

Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle

Top 10 Weather Events of the 20th Century

(as prepared by the staff at the National Weather Service in Amarillo)

1. Dust Bowl (1930 to 1939)

  • Longest period of heat and drought in the Panhandles and much of the U.S. Plains.
  • 5 of the 10 warmest years (average annual temperature in Amarillo) occurred in the 1930's.
  • The 1930's remain the driest decade on record in Amarillo.
  • Dust drifted to roof tops of homes, and buried farm equipment.
  • Surface visibility often reduced to zero during the height of the duststorms.
  • Astronomical economic losses, especially to farmers and ranchers.
  • Thousands of Panhandle residents relocated, 3.5 million nationwide, as a result of the Dust Bowl years.

 

2. April 9, 1947 White Deer/Glazier/Higgins Tornado

 

  • Completely destroyed the town of Glazier, nearly destroyed Higgins.
  • Responsible for 68 panhandle deaths, 272 injuries, $1.5 million in damage.
  • Only documented F5 tornado in the panhandles.
  • Reported as being 1 to 2 miles wide at times along its path.
  • The tornado or a family of tornadoes remained on ground for 5 hours, 20 minutes on a path from White Deer, TX to St. Leo, KS.

3. March 22-25, 1957 Blizzard

  • Worst spring blizzard on record.
  • Responsible for 11 panhandle deaths, numerous injuries, $6 million in damage.
  • Texas Panhandle reported 30 ft drifts; Oklahoma Panhandle reported 15 ft drifts.
  • 10 to 20 inches of snow reported across the panhandles.
  • 20 percent of the panhandles cattle population was lost in the storm.
  • Huge drifts stranded thousands of motorists, including snowplows attempting rescues.
  • True white out conditions, with visibilities reduced to zero at times.

 

4. Great Ice Storm (November 23-25, 1940)

  • Considered the worst ice storm in the nation through 1940.
  • Freezing rain (heavy at times) or drizzle fell for 2 ½ days.
  • Ice formed around power lines, 2 inches in diameter, and 6 inches in circumference, and weighed 13 lbs per linear foot.
  • Huge trees split in half and downed trees littered residential sections of Amarillo and Canyon.
  • Thousands of power poles and wires were down.
  • Communications in the panhandles failed completely for up to 3 days.
  • Complete power failure in Amarillo/Canyon for 3 days.
  • Amarillo city water supply failed for 3 days.

5. April 6-8, 1938 Blizzard

  • Known as the 84-hour blizzard.
  • Occurred across the eastern half of the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles.
  • 8 deaths, 7 in Pampa, 1 in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
  • 10 to 20 foot drifts.
  • Sustained winds of 77 mph reported in Pampa at midnight April 7.
  • True white out conditions, with visibilities reduced to zero at times.
  • All transportation was brought to a standstill.

 

6. 1995 Tornado Outbreak (including the Pampa tornado)

  • Over 70 tornadoes reported across the panhandles for the season, the most ever.
  • 20 tornadoes reported on June 8th across the panhandles, the most ever reported in one day.
  • F4 tornado hit the industrial section of Pampa, destroying or damaging 200 homes and 50 businesses.
  • 7 injuries, fortunately no deaths.
  • Pampa tornado resulted in $30 million in damage which is the costliest tornado on record.
  • Total tornado damage for June 8 exceeded $40 million, and for the entire season the total surpassed $60 million.

7. April 17-18, 1970 Tornado Outbreak

  • Tornadoes affected 9 counties across the south central portion of the Texas Panhandle during the 2-day event.
  • 17 panhandle fatalities in the Clarendon and Greenbelt Reservoir area.
  • At least 66 injured.
  • Hundreds of cattle killed or injured.
  • Damage exceeded $8 million.

 

8. February 1-8, 1956 Snowstorm

  • Largest "unofficial" snow totals occurred in the Panhandles.
  • 43 inches fell in Vega, 24 inches in Hereford, and 14 inches in Amarillo.
  • 23 deaths, numerous injuries.
  • Longest continuous snowfall: snowed continuously for 92 hours in some locations.
  • All modes of transportation were brought to a standstill.
  • Hundreds of cattle died due to the storm.
  • Feed and supplies for cattle had to be airlifted in.

9. May 15, 1949 Amarillo Tornado

  • F4 tornado that moved along the south side of Amarillo and then on to the airport.
  • 200 homes damaged or destroyed.
  • 7 fatalities, 82 injured.
  • $5 million in damage.
  • Costliest tornado to hit Amarillo.
  • All time max wind of 84 mph was clocked at the NWS office at English Field (Amarillo International Airport).

 

10. (tie) Feb 1-15, 1905 and Dec 29, 1978 - Jan 11,1979 Arctic Outbreaks

 

  • Average high during cold wave: 21 (1905 outbreak) and 20 (1978-79 outbreak).
  • Average low during cold wave: 4 (1905 outbreak) and 5 (1978-79 outbreak).
  • Average temperature during cold wave: 13 for both.
  • Coldest max temperature: -2 (1905 outbreak and all-time record) and 6 (1978-79 outbreak).
  • Coldest min temperature: -15 (1905 outbreak).
  • Coldest wind chill: -43 (1905 outbreak) and -45 (1978-79 outbreak).
  • Longest continuous period of below freezing temperatures; 13 days, 5 hours: (1978-79 outbreak).
  • Coldest month on record with an average monthly temperature of 24.7: (1978-79 outbreak).
  • Number of days max temperature 20 degrees or colder: 7 (1905 outbreak) and 6 (1978-79 outbreak).

HONORABLE MENTION 10

(IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)

  • February 2-5, 1964 Blizzard
  • 17.5 inches of snow in Amarillo, 26" in Borger, 21" in Panhandle.
  • Fritch Tornado Outbreak (June 27, 1992)
  • F4 tornado, 1 mile wide, destroyed/damaged 1360 homes, 7 injuries.
  • February 21-22, 1971 Blizzard
  • 1 to 2 feet of snow, roads closed for 2 days, 12 ft drifts, high cattle losses.
  • March 23, 1987 Blizzard
  • 1 to 2 feet of snow, 12 ft drifts, 3 injuries, thousands of motorists stranded.
  • Summer Heat Wave of 1953
  • 26 days 100+ (most ever), 7 record high temps stand today, 108 on 6/24.
  • December 1983 Arctic Outbreak
  • 7 days temps fell below 0, 9 record lows stand today, 13 days below 32.
  • Summer Heat Wave of 1998
  • 23 days 100+, 2 consecutive days at 108, 8 consecutive days over 100.
  • June 16, 1969 Amarillo hailstorm
  • Costliest hailstorm - $20 million damage to homes, autos, and crops.
  • Canyon Flood (May 26, 1978)
  • 10 inches rain in 90 minutes, 4 deaths, 15 injured, 123 homes damaged.
  • January 28-30, 1999 Winter Storm
  • $8.5 million damage, 50,000 lost power - some for days , All travel ceased.