The 9 Most Notable Weather Events in DFW

Whether it's a tornado the day after Christmas or a heat wave in 2011, Dallas has seen some heavy weather.
Whether it's a tornado the day after Christmas or a heat wave in 2011, Dallas has seen some heavy weather. istock.com

George W. Bomar loves weather.

Bomar, who grew up in McKinney, says when was about 7 years old, his grandfather instilled in him a passion for weather.

“Being a farmer, he taught me the value of observing the weather,” Bomar says.

Bomar took that passion for weather with him through college and then into his career. For more than 35 years, Bomar has worked for various Texas agencies related to weather in some way. Now, he works for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, where he oversees cloud-seeding programs to help bring rain to water-short areas.

In December, Bomar released Weather in Texas: The Essential Handbook, which serves as a guide to understand Texas weather. It also has tips for how to stay safe during severe weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods, winter storms and heat waves.

From his decades of work, Bomar has experienced or learned about some of the wildest weather events to affect the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He shares nine of those weather events with the Observer.

The tornado outbreak of April 1957
In the early days of April, 72 tornadoes touched down between Texas and Virginia. One of those tornados was an F3 that traveled from southeast of Redbird Airport to Oak Cliff to Dallas Love Field. It killed 10 people.

The Dec. 31, 1978, ice storm
On the last day of 1978, an ice storm hit Dallas County. Temperatures dropped into the single digits. The ice left more than 300,000 people without power, some for as long as 10 days. The storm caused $14 million in damages and six deaths.

The 1980 heat wave
In 1980, a heat wave blasted across the Midwestern U.S. and the Southern Plains. Dallas saw 28 days when temperatures were above 105 degrees and five days above 110. Temperatures topped out at 113 degrees.

The December 1983 cold snap
In December 1983, the Dallas area was hit with five arctic cold fronts on Dec. 15, 18, 21, 24 and 28. The result was six consecutive days when Dallas stayed below freezing. The coldest temperature during those days was 5 degrees on Dec. 22. Six people in North Texas died for reasons related to the cold weather. The freezing temperatures caused $1.5 million in damages — mainly because of burst pipes.

Intense cold in 1989
On Dec. 23, 1989, the official temperature in Dallas dipped to negative 1 degree. It set the record for lowest temperature in Dallas.

The 1995 Mayfest storm
On Cinco de Mayo 1995, severe storms hit DFW, mainly affecting the Fort Worth area. The storms ruined an outdoor festival called Fort Worth Mayfest. The storms produced baseball-size hail and sent more than 90 people to the hospital for injuries related to the hail. The storms caused the deaths of at least 13 people.

Record snowfall in February 2010
Feb. 11, 2010, a storm dumped a record 11.20 inches of snow on Dallas. Some parts of DFW saw more than 15 inches.

The 2011 heat wave
Much of North America suffered the heat wave of 2011, and Dallas was no exception. Dallas was two days shy of tying the record for most consecutive 100 degree days. For 37 days, the temperature in Dallas never dipped below 80 degrees. The heat wave made summer 2011 the record hottest summer.

The Dec. 26, 2015, tornado
The day after Christmas in 2015, an EF4 tornado touched down in Dallas and Rockwall counties, heavily affecting the Rowlett area and causing eight deaths. “It’s very unusual to have a tornado at that time of year,” Bomar says, adding that it had been the first time in more than a decade to have a tornado in December in the Dallas area.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.