Top 5 weather events of 2020 in South Texas

On top of COVID-19, 2020 brought wild weather to South Texas and the country

From Saharan dust to drought, 2020 was a rough year for weather
From Saharan dust to drought, 2020 was a rough year for weather

What a year! On top of everything we endured through the year, Mother Nature threw a wide variety of weather at us. Here’s a look at the KSAT Weather Team’s list of the top 5 weather events of 2020:

Number 5

In June, a far away visitor that really seemed to capture the imagination of South Texans was the Saharan dust cloud. Traveling thousands of miles, we saw several bouts of hazy skies thanks to the dust. However, one day in particular stood out and that was June 27. One of the densest clouds in years, it reduced visibility and resulted in headaches for those who are allergic to the dust.

A photo taken at Medina Lake from KSAT Connect user, Jenny. (Image by cbotello/KSAT Connect)

Number 4

For number 4, we rewind to the last week of May. This week was a busy one that started with a tornado touchdown on May 24 on the west side of San Antonio. It did significant damage to the Wildhorse subdivision. Then, just three days later on May 27, a powerful supercell dumped large hail on the city’s north side. It brought back memories of April 2017, when massive hail damaged many homes and cars in San Antonio.

Image of storm damage from May 24 (KSAT)
Large hail taken by viewer Erik (KSAT 2020)

Number 3

Next on the list was a situation that affected everyone. We saw several stretches this summer without rain and witnessed blistering heat. Stage one water restrictions were put in place, after the aquifer saw a rapid decline. September brought us a bit of a reprieve, but dry conditions quickly returned in October. We’ll likely finish the year well-below-normal with regards to rainfall.

Number 2

At number 2, it feels odd that a pandemic would mix with weather, but there is a connection that cannot be overlooked. It was a hot topic at points during the pandemic. There was hope that hot weather might help keep COVID-19 at bay, but cases ramped up again in July. While weather may play a small role in how COVID-19 spreads, hot, dry weather did not seem to have much effect. Now, it appears a cold winter is also factoring into the situation.

Number 1

Lastly, at number one, it probably comes as no surprise that the tropics top the list. A record number of named storms and a record number of landfalling storms were recorded in 2020. Three of the named storms brought impacts to Texas. Hurricane Hanna and Tropical Storm Beta made direct hits to the Texas coast, while a dangerous Hurricane Laura narrowly missed the Lone Star State. Still, it left behind quite a bit of destruction, especially in Louisiana.

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 file photo, buildings and homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura in Cameron, La. Laura, which jumped 65 mph (105 kph) in the day before landfall, tied the record for the biggest rapid intensification in the Gulf of Mexico, said former hurricane hunter meteorologist Jeff Masters. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

About the Author:

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.