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December 27, 2012

White Christmas no dream for area

GREENVILLE — Greenville and Hunt County spent Wednesday thawing out from the powerful snowstorm which arrived in the area on Christmas Day.

Not too long ago, a White Christmas would have been something of a rarity in North Texas, although Hunt County and the rest of the region has been experiencing the weather phenomenon with increasing regularity.

 In fact, Tuesday’s event was the third time in the past eight years snow was on the ground locally on Christmas Day.

Powerful thunderstorms rolled into the region shortly before dawn Tuesday, bringing thunder and heavy rain before the precipitation rapidly changed over to snow at around 2:30 p.m. Heavy blowing snow fell throughout Christmas afternoon and well into the evening.

The National Weather Service reported that Greenville officially received four inches of snow on Christmas, although reports from weather spotters varied widely. Quinlan was reported to have received about two and one-half inches, with Commerce receiving three and one-half inches of snow.

The highest totals came from reports to the north and west of Hunt County, with areas of Fannin County recording up to six inches of snow from the storm.

The snow resulted in all Hunt County offices closing for the day, with City of Greenville offices opening at noon Wednesday.

Temperatures dropped rapidly overnight, to a low of 21 degrees, meaning that whatever snow had melted the day before refroze into “black ice” on area roadways, leading to multiple minor accidents by Wednesday morning. Several more accidents were reported during the day Wednesday, even as much of the snow which had been on the ground dissolved.

Bridges and overpasses were expected to refreeze overnight and could cause additional problems for motorists this morning.

The idea of a White Christmas is becoming more common in Greenville and Hunt County, as the arrival of the holiday has tended to signal a significant change in the weather in recent years.

Greenville and most of Hunt County received up to two inches of snow from a storm which blew in on Christmas Eve 2009.

A powerful arctic front blew into Greenville on the morning of Dec. 22, 2004, bringing a combination of ice and snow and plunging temperatures into the low teens by Christmas Eve, with near zero wind chills. There were still some patches of snow in spots on Christmas Day.

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