A Snowball’s Chance

Students on UTSA’s Main Campus in January 1982.

A Snowball’s Chance

Although instances of the falling flakes are rare in South Texas, they can happen, and Roadrunners get fairly excited when they do

[ This article was originally published in Sombrilla Magazine, Winter 1999 ]

What’s a snowball’s chance in San Antonio? Very slim this year [1999], according to long-range weather forecasts. The weather phenomenon known as La Niña continues to produce above-normal temperatures over much of the country’s south-central region. Although not likely, the best chance of snow in our region is in late December or early January, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

It can happen, though. And it has, of course.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website reports that there was less than a thin inch of snowfall on January 13, 1982, in San Antonio. On January 2, 1985, a 2.4-inch frosting heralded the whopping 13.5-inch snowfall of January 11–13. (UTSA classes were not yet in session, though.) Just over an inch was recorded January 21, 1987. The most recent year NOAA reported snow in San Antonio is 1988, and then it was only a dusting.

On January 17, 1982, UTSA President James Wagener closed campus when the white stuff started falling. Although it didn’t stick, according to one witness, most staff and students hit the road. Staff photographer John Poindexter grabbed his camera and headed outside to record the rare moment.

“The students who did stay around found an opportunity to have a little fun on campus,” Poindexter said. Posing three students, he instructed them to “act like you’re throwing the snowballs at me.” He snapped the shot a moment before the snow hit him.


Many ’Runners will remember the more recent snowfall that blanketed UTSA on December 7, 2017.