On This Day in Texas South Plains Weather History

February 20th

1961 (20th-21st): The biggest snowstorm of the season and one of the heaviest ever on record for the South Plains struck Hockley, Yoakum, Lamb, Cochran, Lubbock, and Terry Counties. Amounts ranged from 10 to 20 inches with 20 inches measured at both Plains and Levelland and 12 inches recorded at Lubbock...both of which set 24-hour records for snowfall. At Levelland, the weight of 20 inches of snow collapsed roofs of four cotton warehouses and a number of carports. The roof of one warehouse collapsed in Lubbock.

1971 (20th-22nd): A paralyzing blizzard, the worst since the March 22-25, 1957 storm, transformed the Texas Panhandle and far northern South Plains into one vast snowfield as between 6 and 25 inches of snow was whipped by winds of 40-60 mph creating drifts up to 12 feet high! Temperatures were in the low 20s or upper teens during the period of high winds creating dangerous wind chills. All highways were closed from about Plainview north into Oklahoma, and west into New Mexico. Three persons died as a direct result of the storm with property losses totaling $100,000, while livestock losses were exceptionally heavy at nearly $3M. Several head of livestock wandered up to 45 miles from their owner's land after electric fences shorted out in the snow. Similar to a less intense blizzard in 1970, the worst impacts were focused north of the South Plains.

2008: A total lunar eclipse graced the skies over West Texas this Wednesday night. This eclipse occurred during the prime-time evening hours and would have provided a wonderful opportunity for South Plains residents to observe the full duration of the moon's path through the earth's shadow. However, the weather did not cooperate over much of the area as low clouds filled in from the northwest in the wake of a cold front. This greatly limited viewing opportunities except in some locations across the southwest South Plains where the clouds were delayed just long enough for residents to see this rare display.

2012: A regional high wind event and dust storm impacted much of West Texas this afternoon. Peak wind gusts in the NWS Lubbock forecast area were confined along and north of Highway 70 with many gusts of 58 mph or more recorded. The WTM site near Silverton measured the highest gust of 63 mph. Several accidents were reported due to the high winds. A tractor trailer was blown over on I-27 in Lubbock County just north of Lubbock Preston Smith Airport. The driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. An additional tractor trailer blew off the road in Hockley County on Farm-to-Market Road 2130. Near-zero visibilities due to blowing dust caused an 11 vehicle accident in Hall County three miles north of Estelline on Highway 287. Two vans, four passenger vehicles and five tractor trailers were involved in this wreck with four injuries reported.

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Event entries are comprised primarily of significant or noteworthy weather events that occurred within the NWS Lubbock forecast area. In some cases, historic events from neighboring NWS forecast offices and even a few unique astronomical events are included. Except where noted, the majority of this information was obtained from official NCDC Storm Data publications.