Cold outbreaks from Christmases past

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - This Christmas week of 2014 will be an up and down, roller coaster ride for Deep East Texas, as we experience both mild and cold temperatures all at the same time.  With the timing of cold fronts this week, Christmas Day will be chilly for some, while others may think it is cold. 

However, this year will pale in comparison to some of the the frigid, Polar outbreaks we have seen in years past during Christmas week.

The cold forecast for Christmas got me thinking, "so what have been the coldest Christmas days and weeks we have seen in the past?"

After coordinating with the National Weather Service in Shreveport, it turns out there were two years in the 1980's that had historically frigid temperatures.

The years of 1983 and 1989 had Polar air surge all the way down into Texas, leading to pipe-busting freezes and really put the Piney Woods in a deep freeze for quite some time.

Here is a look at the daily low and high temperatures for 1983.

December 21st:   High--43°   Low--25°
December 22nd:  High--25°   Low--15°
December 23rd:   High--28°   Low--21°
December 24th:   High--22°   Low--11°
December 25th:   High--24°   Low--8°
December 26th:   High--29°   Low--16°

By comparison, here are the daily low and high temperatures for the same time frame in 1989.

December 21st:    High--45°    Low--28°
December 22nd:   High--31°    Low--14°
December 23rd:    High--28°    Low--2°
December 24th:    High--41°    Low--6°
December 25th:    High--62°    Low--15°
December 26th:    High--71°    Low--24°

When you compare 1983 versus 1989, there are a couple of things that stand out.  The first one is that 1989 had the coldest December morning on record, when the thermometer bottomed out at 2° on today's date of December 23rd.  That year also recorded two of the three coldest December mornings on record, with 1929 having the second coldest December morning of 5°.

Even though 1989 had the coldest mornings, 1983 might have felt much colder.  That's because daytime highs did not even climb out of the 20's for five straight days, ranging from December 22nd through the 26th.

I was one year old during the Christmas of 1983 and was seven years old in the 1989 Christmas season.  As a toddler, I have no recollection of 1983, but I do remember coming home to our west Houston house in 1989 and walking into a complete mess as our pipes busted.  Our carpet was completely ruined and it was from that hard freeze that lasted several nights in 1989.

It has been over two decades since we have seen temperatures get this cold in Lufkin and Nacogdoches.  Even though we will wake up to near freezing temperatures for Santa's arrival on Thursday morning, we are not anticipating any pipe-busting type of freezing temperatures this year.

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