Sunday’s snow hung heavy on the trees Monday morning across East Texas causing branches to sag over power lines and schools to close. 

But families discovered that the inches of wet, heavy snow was perfect for snowball fights and building snowmen. For some children, it was their first-ever opportunity to experience making snow angels and sledding. 

Erin Raiford, 35, said her children were “praying and praying” for snow.  

“It was super cute,” Raiford said. “My 8-year-old was asking how much was 80% and if it was a good chance for snow.” 

Raiford, a mother of four, homeschools her children so they were sure to get out in the snow Monday, she said. 

“They were ready to go 10 minutes after they got up this morning,” Raiford said.

The children did not come back into the family's home in Central Longview for about four hours. She kept bringing them children dry socks, saying her dryer has been running all morning to keep up.   

“They really wanted to build a snowman,” she said. “A couple years ago, we built one named Alfred, and they were like, ‘can we please build Alfred?’” 

Eight-year-old Eli, and Annie and Evan, who are 6 and 3, built a snow fort for snowball fights, while Alora, 1, watched from the window. Alora did not love the cold snow. 

“It was a dream come true for them,” Raiford said. “It was really fun because it did accumulate so late, so it was perfect this morning, no footprints or anything. They were screeching with excitement.”  

Raiford said it’s great to make memories like this because it could be awhile before the children experience significant snow again. 

“Our 8-year-old, he could be 12 when we next get a snow like this,” Raiford said. “Will it be cool to build a snowman with us then? It’s such a wonder when they are so little.” 

Raiford said she grew up in East Texas and can only remember two times when there was enough snow to build a snowman. She enjoyed making snow ice cream with the children, though it turned out more like a slushee.

“Events like this are a big marker in their childhood,” Raiford said. “I hope they look back on it because this is for sure something they will remember.” 

While January usually marks a post-holiday slump and is her least favorite time of year, Raiford said the snow was something sweet in January offering a chance to watch her children have fun. 

“We have to savor those moments and make ‘em last until the snow melts,” Raiford said. 

National Weather Service Shreveport Meteorological Technician Lisa May said a snow event like Sunday’s is unusual for the region. 

“It was a significant event for East Texas, especially for the southern part,” May said. 

The highest total in Gregg County was recorded in Liberty City with 5 inches of snow. Longview saw 3 inches of snow, and areas about a mile east of Longview recorded closer to 4 inches. 

The last measurable snowfall event occurred on Jan. 16, 2018, when a little more than 2 inches of snow fell in Longview. 

“My kids woke up, and they're pretty excited,” Ryan Wiscombe of Longview said. “I told them they could come out and play in the morning.” 

The family turned a boogie board into a sled, with Wiscombe pulling his 2-year-old daughter Lexi around. This was her first snow.  

“She was laughing hysterically on it,” he said.  

Blake Wiscombe, 5, also enjoyed making snow angels, a snowball fight and building a snowman with the family. 

While Blake was about 3 years old the last time it snowed, his father said he doesn’t really remember it. 

“My son was up bright and early, and he told me the snow was still here,” Wiscombe said, laughing. “Great memories made. They were cold by the end, and they were eating the snow too.” 

After some time in the cold, the children went inside for some hot chocolate.  

“This is definitely the most snow we’ve seen here,” Wiscombe said. "I think it was 2018 where a little stuck on the ground but it was icy snow. This is a pretty solid snow and I was worried it would be iced over in the morning but it didn’t. Perfect for building a snowman.” 

The highest snowfall numbers were recorded near Henderson, south and southeast of Longview. According to the National Weather Service, Henderson recorded about 5 inches with isolated amounts closer to 6 inches. About 9 miles west northwest of Mount Enterprise, south of Henderson in Rusk County, 6.5 inches of snowfall was recorded. 

Rosemary Dorsey, 5, worked on building a snowman Monday morning in Henderson with her family. This is the first snow she remembers. 

“It did snow when she was like two, but it wasn't like this,” Rosemary’s aunt Leslie Jones said, laughing. “She cried.” 

Rosemary was not fond of the snow as a toddler but was thrilled to be able to play in the snow Monday.  

The girl worked to roll snow on the ground to make a head for the snowman. The snowman ended up with red eyes and ribbon for a mouth, but Rosemary loved it. 

“I don't remember a snow like this,” Jones said. “I think there was a snow similar in the 80s.”   

Rosemary’s mother, Summer Dorsey, said the girl wanted snow on Christmas and has been asking for snow for months. 

“I hope she always remembers it because it might be the last time she ever sees it like this until she's older and she has kids,” Jones said.  

Rosemary said one of her favorite parts of the snow storm was making snow ice cream. 

The highest total for the snow storm in East Texas was recorded in Jacksonville, with 7.5 inches of snow.  

According to May, the record for Longview’s highest single-day snowfall total is 12 inches of snow on Dec. 22, 1929. 

More recently, Longview saw 7 inches of snow on Jan. 13, 1982. In 2010, Longview recorded 4 inches of snow on Feb. 11 and 3 inches of snow on Feb. 12. 

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Courtney Stern is a public safety reporter covering a wide range of topics. She grew up in Baltimore and later earned a journalism degree from the University of Miami. Stern moved to East Texas from Iowa with her husband and two dogs, Pebbles and Bam Bam.