2017 is off to a pretty erratic start, weather-wise. 70 degree temps recently, then bitterly cold - teens to low 20s - this weekend. But for everyone who complains that they've never seen it quite like this in the ArkLaTex, just remind them of 1983, the winter that the Red River froze!

December of '83 started normal enough, but by mid-month, temps started to fall. From the book Outstanding Weather Phenomena In the ArkLaTex: An Incomplete History, by Billy Andrews:

"A record cold wave followed with very cold temperatures sweeping southward across the ArkLaTex, producing the coldest arctic air since December 1963. December 1983 ended up being the coldest of record"

Amazingly, the record cold wave that enveloped the area not only hung on, it got worse. Andrews continues:

"Temperatures remained at freezing or below for 138 consecutive hours from the 21st through the 27th"

Then, something that hadn't occurred for nearly 90 years!

"The year 1983 will also be remembered as the year the Red River froze from bank to bank. Chunks of ice had formed to north of the city and spread south through the area before melting. The magnitude of the ice jam on the Red in Shreveport, Monday the 19th and Tuesday the 20th, probably has not occurred since February of 1895."

courtesy gary joiner
courtesy gary joiner

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