Posted: Dec 4, 2009 10:19 AM by MSNBC
Startling residents and weather experts, the Texas city set a record Friday for the earliest snowfall ever, prompting a winter storm warning for the state's southeast region.
The Houston area expected up to an additional 2 inches of snow Friday evening as a powerful surge delivered cold air down from the Rockies, said Chris McKinney, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Houston. Some areas could receive 3 to 5 inches of snow.
"It's not normal to see not this much snow," McKinney said. "Sometimes, we don't see snow at all. It just doesn't happen."
It has never snowed two years in a row, McKinney said. Snow is so rare, that since 1895, snow has only fallen in Houston 33 times.
Not this year. Parts of Montague, Cooke, Wise, Jack, Parker and Palo Pinto Counties reported more than 1 inch of snow, NBC News affiliate KXAS in Dallas-Forth Worth reported. The highest snowfall total was in Jacksboro, where residents had 3 inches of snow.
There was more on the way. Houston and surrounding areas braced for more than snow: Rain, freezing, rain, sleet and hail were expected to hit the area hard.
Officials braced for the worst and started preparing for icy roads and treacherous driving conditions by sending sanding trucks out to coat roads and airport runways.
The Texas Department of Transportation said it was ready.
"We've updated our route maps to reflect any changes that occurred since our last rain event," Gilbert Aguillar, Dallas street director, told KXAS. "We've been servicing our equipment and training our personnel."