Image: Geraldo Mata keeps warm while walking outside in the snow
David J. Phillip  /  AP
Geraldo Mata blows on his hands while walking through a downtown park as snow falls on Friday in Houston.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/4/2009 11:55:43 AM ET 2009-12-04T16:55:43

Startling residents and weather experts, the Texas city set a record Friday for the earliest snowfall ever, prompting a winter storm warning for the state's southeast region.

The Houston area expected up to an additional 2 inches of snow Friday evening as a powerful surge delivered cold air down from the Rockies, said Chris McKinney, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Houston. Some areas could receive 3 to 5 inches of snow.

"It's not normal to see not this much snow," McKinney said. "Sometimes, we don't see snow at all. It just doesn't happen."

It has never snowed two years in a row, McKinney said. Snow is so rare, that since 1895, snow has only fallen in Houston 33 times.

Not this year. Parts of Montague, Cooke, Wise, Jack, Parker and Palo Pinto Counties reported more than 1 inch of snow, NBC News affiliate KXAS in Dallas-Forth Worth reported. The highest snowfall total was in Jacksboro, where residents had 3 inches of snow.

There was more on the way. Houston and surrounding areas braced for more than snow: Rain, freezing, rain, sleet and hail were expected to hit the area hard.

Traffic delays
Officials braced for the worst and started preparing for icy roads and treacherous driving conditions by sending sanding trucks out to coat roads and airport runways.

The Texas Department of Transportation said it was ready.

"We've updated our route maps to reflect any changes that occurred since our last rain event," Gilbert Aguillar, Dallas street director, told KXAS. "We've been servicing our equipment and training our personnel."

Msnbc.com's Sevil Omer contributed to this report.

© 2013 msnbc.com

Video: Snowfall in Texas

  1. Closed captioning of: Snowfall in Texas

    >>> parts of the northeast, today it is certainly december in texas. houston , yeah, houston , expecting 1 to 3 inches of snow today. that would set a record for the earliest snowfall for that city. weather channel 's jim cantore is in houston . snow in the dallas /ft. worth area this week. by the way, nice hat!

    >> thank you very much.

    >> what is going on there?

    >> very cool hat. very cool.

    >> tamron, in all honest when you think syracuse and boston and new york city that haven't gotten any snow yet this time of the year you're talking about snow in the forecast for houston , something strange going on here. we've seen our temperature go from 45 degrees on down to 33 degrees now, which is amazing. so that tells us there is dry air in place and as the precipitation which is a rain/snow mixture right now comes in, it is starting to change things on over and drop the temperature in a hurry. as long as we feed the cold air in here which we will do all day today and plenty precip coming, we're in trouble. as they say, houston , we've got a problem. looking at pictures early on. dallas , el paso and lubbock have snow and dallas is too far north to get into the snow. dallas has to look south to see their snow come into play. you look around. basically, a gray day here. the roads are wet. i actually have a laser thermometer that showed the temperature of the road surface 40.5 degrees and now the air temperature has dropped we have to watch this because if we get heavy snow, which we could this afternoon, that means it is going to not only bring the temperatures of the bridges and overpasses down but also it's going to allow some snow to stick and there are no clouds, tamron, in the city of houston . none.

    >> there should not be snow where there are palm trees and there are palm trees in houston . it's not right!

    >> thank you.

    >> thank you very much, jim.

    >> all right.

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