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Brrrrrrrr! by Peter Hofstad
time tracks

Weather facts

Snow photos


Down the Corridor


When Texans think of extreme weather, most recall sweltering hot summer days of triple-digit temperatures or monsoon-style spring thunderstorms. Fewer think of record-low freezes or heavy snowfall. However, in the history of the University of North Texas, students and faculty have witnessed harsh winter weather more than a handful of times.

The coldest weather reported in Texas occurred Feb. 4-12, 1899, when most of the country was in the midst of an Arctic cold front. During this week, Galveston Bay froze over for the only time in its recorded history. Denton experienced an all-time low of 8 degrees below zero during the record-breaking week.

In January 1930, Denton temperatures reached 3 degrees below zero. Frozen pipes in the campus water fountain were still being repaired six weeks later, according to the Campus Chat student newspaper. The Yucca yearbooks for 1936 and 1937 each include four pages of photos dedicated to winter snowfall. The photos feature a number of North Texas students — the men in suits, hats and ties and the women in dresses — enjoying the snow.


The 1937 Yucca dedicated four pages of photos to that year's snowfall.

Temperatures once again dipped to 3 below zero in January 1949, and an ice storm the next winter kept the college hospital busy. Staff there saw two fractures, four sprains, two lacerations and three bruises resulting from students falling on the ice, the Chat reports.

Despite being unaccustomed to it, North Texas students have reacted to the unusual weather through the years with humor and ingenuity. A 1947 Chat article features the headline, "Pretty Passers-by Get Wolf Whistle From Snowman." Some inventive students had outfitted their snowman with an amplifier, hid in the basement of the science building with a microphone, and startled any snow-dazed pedestrians who crossed their line of sight.

In December 1983, when the area experienced 295 hours of below freezing temperatures, students played ice hockey on the frozen pond at the golf course. And following February 2003's winter storm, residents used everything from laundry baskets to lunch trays to sled down hills on campus.



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