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The cold facts of New Braunfels

By Keva Hoffmann Boardman —

New Braunfelsers were giddy with joy when snowflake clusters fell on December 7th. Waking up that next morning was a “blessed event” of sorts for us locals. Some newcomers amongst us wondered at our ecstasy over snow, and in trying to explain, I realized that just like people in ancient cultures, we use weather events to mark the passage of time in New Braunfels.

If you have been here long enough you will have heard old-timers talk about the Comal Springs going dry in ’56; we talk about it during every dry spell, especially when it happened again in 2013. The memory of the ’72 Flood is firmly cemented in the minds of many. There was also the ’98 Flood that nearly cancelled Wurstfest and the ’02 Flood that did cancel the 4th of July. We have had many floods since record-keeping began; eight of them were over 30 feet!

Snowfall in NB, being infrequent, has the same aura around it. I found a listing of officially recorded snowfall for San Antonio and Austin from 1895 to 2011. Using the dates, I spent a couple days looking through the Neu Braunfelser Zeitung and the New Braunfels Herald to test the theory that if it snowed in these cities wouldn’t it have snowed here? I was not disappointed.

The Zeitung (German) reported snowfall even if it was in trace amounts along with weather temperatures. Like today, the town had people who sent in official amounts from different areas around the county. Rainfall amounts, in which snowfall figured, were very important in more rural early NB. Ice was reported as a separate occurrence. (There are many, many ice photos of the Plaza Fountain in the Archive’s collection.) Weather reports did not make front page news but ran in the Lokales (local news) section behind world, national and state headlines.

The Herald (English) only mentioned snowfall if it was substantial. Not sure about that difference, but larger snowfalls did make front page headlines. Even though the Herald began publication in 1895, I found no mention of snowfall until 1929, and snow photos don’t appear in print until after the merger of the two newspapers in 1957.

Enjoy the stats and photos. The chart is probably not error free, but it is as close as I could come for now.

  • Feb. 14, 1895 — 4 to 5 inches
  • Jan. 25, 1897 — 0.2 inches
  • Dec. 18, 1906 — 2 inches
  • March 8-9, 1915 — 1 to 2 inches
  • Jan. 10, 1918 — 0.4 inches
  • Feb. 4-5,1923 — 5 inches
  • Dec. 28, 1925 — 1 inch
  • Jan. 23-24, 1926 — 3 to 4 inches
  • Dec. 21, 1927 — 0.5 inches
  • Jan. 21, 1928 — 0.2 inches
  • Dec. 18-19, 1929 — 4.6 inches
  • Jan. 21-22, 1940 — 2.8 inches
  • Jan. 14, 1944 — 2.5 inches
  • Jan. 30, 1949 — 4 to 5 inches
  • Feb. 1, 1951 — 0.2 inches
  • Feb. 14, 1951 — 1.5 inches
  • Feb. 11-12, 1958 — up to 2.5 inches
  • Feb. 21, 1964 — 2.5 inches
  • Feb. 22-23, 1966 — 3 to 7 inches
  • Jan. 11-12, 1973 — 0.3 inches
  • Feb. 8-9, 1973 — 0.5 inches
  • Jan. 2, 1985 — 1.5 to 4 inches
  • Jan. 12-13,1985 — 5 to 12 inches
  • Feb. (?), 2010 — 0.1 inches
  • Feb. 4, 2011 — 0.3 to 0.5 inches
  • Dec. 7, 2017 — 3 to 4 inches
Man shoveling snow off sidewalk in front of Seekatz Opera House, 1915. (0001-07PC)

Man shoveling snow off sidewalk in front of Seekatz Opera House, 1915. (0001-07PC)

Couples up to their ankles in snow, 1926. (0588A)

Couples up to their ankles in snow, 1926. (0588A)

E.O. Krause skiing down Klappenbach Hill (Fredericksburg Road at Landa Park), 1949. (S491-100)

E.O. Krause skiing down Klappenbach Hill (Fredericksburg Road at Landa Park), 1949. (S491-100)