Dreaming of a Warm Christmas: Looking Back on Dallas Holiday Weather Record-Setters

Dallas is going to look a little less wintery this Christmas.
Dallas is going to look a little less wintery this Christmas. Photo by Jeffrey Blum on Unsplash
On Dec. 25, 2012, Dallas residents got a rare Christmas treat: snow. Flurries of white flakes fell from gray skies as revelers cozied up by their fireplaces to enjoy a nice cup of cocoa. Pet parents fawned over pups stuffed into fluffy sweaters, and kids eagerly made snow angels in the backyard.

But those dreaming of a white Christmas this year have officially made Santa’s naughty list. That’s right, y’all — get ready for yet another warm Texas yuletide.

In a tweet earlier this week, WFAA weather guru Pete Delkus foretold of a ho-ho-heatwave coming our way. (Yeah, we immediately regretted typing that.)

“Even though Christmas Eve looks to be the warmest day this week, the record looks safe,” Delkus said. “I don't think we'll make it 88°. A little closer to record territory Christmas Day and the day after Christmas. Warmest Christmas Day on record was 2016. Anyone remember that?”

Do we ever.
This year in Dallas-Fort Worth, Delkus predicts a high of 77 degrees, which is just three degrees lower than 2016’s high of 80. (Christmas Eve, though, will hit 80, so don't go off and bundle up or anything.)

It kind of makes sense that 2016 would have offered North Texans the toastiest Christmas on record, too, given that the year is burned into many minds as a full-on dumpster fire.

While 2021 isn’t going to make it into the history books for its forecast, other years are definitely worth mentioning. Take 1983, for example, which gave Dallas residents a serious case of the shivers.

Known as the coldest Dallas Christmas to date (at least, since the Pete Delkuses of the world started keeping tabs), the low was just 6 degrees while the high hovered around 18.

But it wasn’t just North Texas that was smacked in the face by a cold snap; the Farmers’ Almanac counts 1983 as the “coldest Christmas ever.” In fact, across a good chunk of the country, 70% of the month of December was colder than average.

Snow also struck Dallas-Fort Worth on Christmas Eve in 2009, sticking to the ground throughout the next day, according to the National Weather Service. Decades before, in 1975, almost half an inch of snow graced Dallas; the last time the city had seen white on Christmas was 1926, when it got 6.3 inches of powdery goodness.

Now, step inside the way-way-back machine nearly two centuries: In 1841, three soldiers braved half a foot of snow to track bear close to present-day White Rock Lake, according to the NWS.

It’s a far cry from Christmas in Dallas this year, when a popsicle might be more befitting than a mug of hot cider. Still, try not to get too bummed out by a lack of winter weather. Our friends at Farmers’ Almanac note that the coveted white Christmas is usually “little more than a pipe dream” for most of the United States.

Looking ahead, Texans can start to get prepped for the season’s coldest temperatures, which typically land in January and February. And hopefully, if we’ve all been extra nice, Santa will surprise us with a brand-new winterized power grid (because apparently no one else did). 
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter