On Tuesday January 5, 1988, an area of low pressure was moving through the Rocky Mountain States and over the next 48 hours become one of the largest winter storms to affect the Southern United States.
By the Wednesday morning, January 6th, a strong area of arctic high pressure was pumping cold air across North Texas through Northern Georgia. At the same time the area of low pressure moving through the Rockies forced warm moist air from the Pacific Ocean over the cold air at the surface. This caused precipitation to break out and a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow began to fall across Central and East Texas. The snowfall map shows a 4” bull’s-eye near Tyler and Longview. During the day Wednesday heavy snow fell across North Central Texas into Arkansas where 16” fell in Heber Springs.
It was this heavy snow storm that caused the death over 5 million chickens across Texas and Arkansas. 1.75 million chickens were killed in North Central Texas and 3.5 million chickens were killed in Arkansas. This storm continued Wednesday Night into Thursday the 7th across the Northern Gulf of Mexico causing widespread 8 to 10 inches of snow across Northern Alabama where an additional 2 million chickens were killed.
So in all, 7.25 million chickens were killed by one of the strongest Southern winter storms on record. Because of this the 6th of January 1988 will always be known as “A Bad Day for Chickens.”