Houston's Winter-That-Wasn't Ends With a Whimper

On paper, Houston had a winter. Check the calendar and yup, they were there — the 89 days between December 1 and February 28 that meteorologists consider the coldest season.

And yet if you happened to blink, you may have missed the few days southeast Texas experienced cold weather. A three-day cold spell, when temperatures dropped into the low twenties January 6-8, was the only time Houstonians could tell people in other parts of the country, "Yeah, we know what winter feels like" (and just barely).

In February alone, instruments at Bush Intercontinental Airport captured record high temperatures on five separate days. Twenty-five of the month's 28 days were warmer than normal. And we're not talking slightly warmer — eight days were more than 15 degrees hotter than they should have been.

Over the course of the season, 21 days reached 80 degrees, obliterating the old winter record of 17 days, set in three different winters.

Just four times — the aforementioned cold spell, plus a cold morning on December 19 — did temperatures drop below freezing at Bush Airport. And, it almost goes without saying, Houston did not receive any measurable snow this winter. But some areas north of Harris County, including Cleveland, saw flurries on January 6.

Though the Gulf Coast avoided blizzards this year, "winter" did pack a few punches. Valentine's Day lovingly brought unseasonable thunderstorms and a handful of tornadoes to the Houston area.

Houstonians who moved down here to escape the winters of the north sure got what they signed up for, and then some. But after historic floods pounded Houston each of the past two springs, we can only hope we're not in for a three-peat.


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