The severe cold spell that we had a couple of weeks ago had temperature anomalies so great that it made February the fifth coldest on record at DFW. In addition, prior to that, the 2020-2021 winter season was averaging 1.7°F above normal, and the cold spell turned an above normal winter below normal. Now the winter average is 1.8°F below normal.

The mean average temperature for February 2021 at DFW was 41.1°F a whopping 8.9°F below normal. The top five coldest Februarys in DFW history are as follows:

  1. February 1905
  2. February 1978
  3. February 1899
  4. February 1929
  5. February 2021


The official low this morning was -2°F. That is 2 degrees below zero. This shatters the daily record low for Feb 16th of 12°F set in 1903. This is 42 degrees below the normal low of 40°F for this date. The last time DFW dropped below zero was on December 23, 1989, and the temperature dropped to 1 below. You have to go all the way back to January 31, 1949 to get to the last time we were 2 below zero, a whopping 72 years ago. This makes the 5th time the mercury has dropped below zero at DFW. The other times were:

February 12, 1899: -8°F (all time coldest temperature at DFW)
January 18, 1930: -1°F
January 31, 1949: -2°F
December 23, 1989: -1°F
February 16, 2021: -2°F

In addition, the high of 18°F recorded at DFW today, also broke the daily record high temperature for Feb 16th. The previous record was 21°F also set in 1903.


A new record low temperature and a new record low max temperature was observed at DFW Airport on February 15, 2021. A low of 4°F breaks the old record of 15°F set in 1909. A high of 14°F breaks the old low max high temperature for that date of 31°F set in 1909. It is also the third coldest high temperature in DFW history. The record is 12°F set on February 12, 1899.


A new daily low temperature of 9°F was set yesterday replacing the old record of 15°F set in 1936.

A new daily maximum low high temperature of 22°F was set yesterday replacing the old record of 27°F set in 1951.

A new daily maximum snow record of 4.00 inches was set replacing the old record of 3.00 inches set in 1951.

Yesterday’s snow officially breaks the near 6-year long snow drought. The longest in DFW history of not receiving significant snowfall.

Yesterday’s temperature of 9°F also ends the 25 year long streak of not ever falling below 10°F. The longest in DFW history. Climatology says we should be getting below 10°F every 5 years.

We will have official snow totals a bit a later.


Key Messages:

  • Winter Storm Warning in effect until Monday for the entire forecast area
  • Snow accumulations 3 to 7 inches with possible higher snow drifts
  • Temps plunging to near all-time record cold temps on Tuesday with lows near 0°F
  • Windchill values 10 to 20 below zero
  • Hypothermia and frostbite can set in quickly in this type of dangerous/severe cold
  • This will be the coldest in 30 plus years!
  • This will be a prolonged cold snap
  • Temps will not get above freezing until next Saturday
  • Blowing and drifting snow
  • Near Blizzard conditions at times Sunday night
  • Whiteout conditions possible Sunday night
  • Travel becoming treacherous to impossible for all of the coming week
  • Major damage to infrastructure and agriculture from the cold
  • Another major winter storm expected Tuesday night into Thursday
  • Governor Abbott has declared all of Texas as a disaster area

Folks—we cannot stress this enough—you are about to witness a historic winter weather event. It cannot possibly get any more severe than this. This will rival the great cold air outbreaks of December 1989, December 1983, January 1930, and yes the king of them all February 1899. This will be a protracted cold snap. DFW Airport has already spent the last 72 hours below freezing and counting. We are not expected to rise above freezing until next Saturday afternoon at the earliest. This will make for the longest stretch of subfreezing conditions at DFW since December 1983. Major agricultural and infrastructure damage will result from such cold. Governor Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for all of the state of Texas. You have narrow window today to do final preparations before things deteriorate rapidly.

Areas of freezing drizzle this morning are coating surfaces, including roadways with a thin glaze of ice. Motorists are urged to exercise extreme caution this morning if traveling. The freezing drizzle should end this afternoon, with a lull before the next precipitation starts this evening as the main shortwave trough approaches Texas. Areas of freezing drizzle and sleet will begin tonight and ramp up significantly after sunrise on Sunday. The ground surface is frozen after 72 hours and going on 96 hours of subfreezing temperatures at DFW Airport. This means precipitation will stick instantly as it falls to the ground causing roads to deteriorate rapidly on onset. Snow will become widespread and heavy Sunday night. Because of the powdery nature of the snow, much like you would find at a ski resort, it will easily be blown around. Winds are expected to be near 30 mph at times causing blowing and drifting of snow and near blizzard conditions at times. Visibilities will be reduced to near 0 at times causing whiteout conditions. It is strongly recommended that no one travel during this time. Snow ratios may be 15:1 to 20:1 as opposed to our typical 10:1 because of the extreme cold. Total accumulations expected are 3 to 7 inches. Snow drifts could easily exceed 7 inches. It must be stressed that not everyone will see 7 inches and some places could exceed 7 inches, and some places could be a little less than 3 inches. However, everyone should see at least 2 inches of snow.

On top of all of this a frigid Arctic airmass will continue to be advected south. We are dealing with, as stated above, the coldest weather DFW has seen in 30+ years. Temperatures will be close to 0°F by Tuesday morning. Breaking the daily low temperature record and getting near the all-time low temperature record for DFW of -8°F set on February 12, 1899, though that should be safe. We have already gone 72 hours at DFW Airport below freezing. We are not expected to rise above freezing until next Saturday afternoon at the earliest. This will be the second longest stretch of subfreezing conditions ever recorded. The record is December 1983 with 12 days of subfreezing conditions. This is life-threatening cold we are talking about. Frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly in this type of cold. Hard Freeze Warnings and Wind Chill Warnings will likely be necessary.

Precautions should be completed today to protect people, pets, livestock, and exposed pipes. This type of prolonged cold will cause extensive damage to infrastructure and agriculture locally and across the state. Pipes can freeze and burst in such extreme cold.


UPDATE: The Winter Weather Advisory has been expanded to include all of the forecast area. The expectation is the precipitation will be a bit heavier tonight in the form of actual freezing rain and sleet. Ice accretion in the advisory area is expected to be up to 1/4 of an inch with isolated amounts slightly higher. Since amounts reaching 1/4 of an inch will be more isolated, they have foregone a Winter Storm Warning at this time. Regardless, this will be enough ice to cause problems on not only bridges and overpasses but secondary roadways as well. Thursday morning commutes could be very problematic. Temperatures are expected to be in the 24-28°F degree range in the advisory area. DFW Airport forecasted low is 25°F.

Temperatures dropped to the middle to upper 20s, a couple of degrees colder than most models, this morning across the Winter Weather Advisory area which was expanded to include Dallas and Tarrant Counties. Widespread freezing drizzle has been occurring. Motorists should exercise caution when commuting this morning for possible icy bridges and overpasses and black ice patches. The advisory now runs through noon on Thursday as another disturbance pivots across the area bringing more in the way of light freezing rain and sleet tonight into tomorrow. Temperatures should have no trouble getting into the mid 20s again tomorrow morning. Areas that fall below 28°F may have more widespread issues with all roadways.

We will continue to see one Arctic surge after another through the coming 7 days. The coldest of which will occur on Saturday night through Wednesday. There is confidence that we, at some point at DFW Airport, will get to 12°F or colder, which will make for the coldest temps since 1996. If the mercury reaches 7°F, it will be the coldest since December 1989. Regardless of how cold it actually gets, it does look like temps will reach severe cold category with dangerously cold wind chills approaching 10 below zero at times. Hard Freeze Warnings and Wind Chill Warnings will likely be needed at some point.

There will be a quick shot of sleet and snow with the Arctic front on Saturday. However, it will get shut off rapidly by the deepening cold air. Models are now coming into better agreement on a more significant winter storm (likely all snow) Sunday night into Monday. If we get a snowpack, it will only exacerbate the bitterly cold temperatures. This is still several days out and the forecast will likely undergo many changes. More on this potential as more data becomes available.


A massive Arctic airmass has been building in Canada and has been the focus for the last several days in the weather community. The question was when and if it would move south. The models have come into nearly unanimous agreement this air will move south this week. The worst and core of the cold may move over Texas this weekend bringing some of the coldest temperatures in years to DFW (at least since January 2018, but maybe longer if the models are to be believed). A cursory glance shows most of the central and western Canadian prairies well below zero (-40°F+ in some areas). With an upper low tightening up in the Great Lakes, the flow around this will be enough to give the airmass the nudge to move south rapidly in waves by the weekend.

The leading edge of this massive Arctic air is actually going to move into the area tomorrow, kind of like pancake batter, moving south based on its own density. This is a very shallow leading edge of the Arctic airmass and really not all that cold yet. Our temperatures will gradually turn colder throughout the week with the coldest arriving Friday evening and may last into early next week.

Severe cold is defined at DFW as being a low temperature at or below 10°F or a high at or below 20°F. This is definitely on the table with several models showing that kind of cold. While we are not confident, yet, in cold getting that extreme, we are confident it will turn very, very cold. Temps will likely drop into the teens, if not colder, and wind chills may dip below zero at times. This is also likely to be a protracted cold spell much like Super Bowl week of February 2011. We could see more than a day of subfreezing temperatures.

What is not quite as clear is the prospects of precipitation in the cold air. Experience tells us moisture may be hard to realize in such deep intrusions of cold air. However, it does not take much lift or moisture to cause it to precipitate in that kind of cold air, and their will be some perturbations that move across the cold air. Of course any precipitation in this cold would be frozen and could potentially impact travel. More on this as we get a better handle on the latest data.

Residents of DFW should prepare now to insulate exposed outdoor pipes from the cold. If this cold is realized to its full potential, it would be more than enough to freeze and burst pipes that are exposed.


September 2020 turned out to be the 13th coolest September on record for DFW with an average monthly temperature of 75°F. We were 3.3°F below normal for the month. The coolest temperature of 50°F was recorded on September 29th, only 10°F above the all-time coldest monthly low of 40°F. Pretty impressive considering that only last year, September 2019, was the all-time hottest September on record for DFW. Weather records date back 122 years to September 1898 for the DFW area.


DFW Airport shattered the high temperature record for April 8, 2020. The high temperature of 97°F breaks the old record high of 93°F set in 1991.

In addition, the low temperature this morning, April 9, 2020, was 71°F breaking the old low maximum temperature of 70°F set in 2001.