125 years ago, an epic Valentine’s Day snowstorm hit the Gulf Coast

125 years ago, an epic Valentine’s Day snowstorm hit the Gulf Coast
Space City 1895 Snowfall Map: "A contour map of estimated snowfall from Feb. 14-15, 1895 across Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Mississippi. Credit: Matt Lanza/Space City Weather" (Source: Matt Lanza)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A snowstorm of epic proportions hit the Gulf Coast on Valentine’s Day 1895. Heavy snow was reported all the way from south Texas into the Mid-Atlantic, with several locations along the Gulf Coast setting snow records that still stand 125 years later.

Here in Louisiana, the totals from that epic event are unimaginable for most of us. Baton Rouge recorded just over a foot (12.5″) of snowfall, with totals coming in closer to 2 FEET from Lake Charles to Rayne. Snow reportedly even fell as far south as the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Space City 1895 Snowfall Map: "A contour map of estimated snowfall from Feb. 14-15, 1895 across Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Mississippi. Credit: Matt Lanza/Space City Weather"
Space City 1895 Snowfall Map: "A contour map of estimated snowfall from Feb. 14-15, 1895 across Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Mississippi. Credit: Matt Lanza/Space City Weather" (Source: Matt Lanza)

Matt Lanza with Space City Weather wrote an excellent summary of the event back in 2017. He produced the map below showing a best estimate of snowfall from south Texas through Louisiana. Note that the highest totals were reported between Houston and Beaumont, where some locations are believed to have picked up over 2 feet (>24″) during the event.

Louisiana Snow Totals: "Snowfall reports from Feb. 14-15, 1895"
Louisiana Snow Totals: "Snowfall reports from Feb. 14-15, 1895" (Source: Matt Lanza)

A map from the February 1895 edition of Monthly Weather Review provided an even broader perspective, although it should be noted that this map represents snow for the entire month.

Monthly Weather Review 1895 Snow: "A contour map of estimated snowfall for the entire month of February from the Feb. 1895 edition of Monthly Weather Review."
Monthly Weather Review 1895 Snow: "A contour map of estimated snowfall for the entire month of February from the Feb. 1895 edition of Monthly Weather Review." (Source: Monthly Weather Review)

A photo from an unknown source also shows men with shovels apparently working to clear snow from the steetcar tracks along Canal Street in New Orleans. The Crescent City recorded just over 8″ of snowfall during the event.

Canal Street Snow 1895: "Men apparently working to clear snow from the streetcar tracks on Canal Street in New Orleans during the Feb. 1895 event. Photo source unknown."
Canal Street Snow 1895: "Men apparently working to clear snow from the streetcar tracks on Canal Street in New Orleans during the Feb. 1895 event. Photo source unknown." (Source: unknown)

For a little added historical perspective, the next largest snowfall on record for Baton Rouge is 6″ on Feb. 25, 1914, or a little less than half of what fell in 1895. Imagine what we would do with a foot of snow today. Or maybe you shouldn’t.

BTR Biggest Snowfalls: "Baton Rouge's biggest snowfalls on record since 1892."
BTR Biggest Snowfalls: "Baton Rouge's biggest snowfalls on record since 1892." (Source: WAFB First Alert Weather)

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