Texas Climate Descriptions

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Amarillo is located in the middle of Texas Panhandle and the climate is semi-arid temperate. The area is subject to rapid and large temperature changes, especially during the winter months when cold fronts from the northern Rocky Mountains and Plains states sweep across the level plains at speeds up to 40 mph. Temperature drops between 50 and 60 degrees within a 12-hour period are common with these fronts, and 40 degree drops have occurred within a few minutes. On average, temperatures drop below 0 F less than two days per year. The record low occurred on February 12, 1899 when the temperature dropped to -16. The record high occurred on June 24, 1953 with a temperature of 108. Temperatures of 100 degrees or greater occur on average 6 days per year.  The year 2011 was Amarillo's hottest summer and year on record, with an anverage summer temperature of 89.3d egrees and 67.5 degrees for the year. 

The average annual precipitation for Amarillo is 19.71 inches. 75% of the average precipitation falls from April through September, generally occurring with thunderstorm activity. The average annual snowfall is 15.6 inches. Snow usually melts within a few days after it falls. Heavier snowfalls of l0 inches or more, usually with near blizzard conditions, average once every 5 years. 

Amarillo's proximity to the paths of strong weather systems tend to cause high winds, with March and April having the strongest winds. As a result, Amarillo averages the highest annual wind speed in Texas at 14.3 mph, which makes the city one of the Top 10 windiest cities in the U.S.  Hot, dry winds during March 12-18, 2005 caused the largest wildfire in Texas history with nearly 1,000,000 acres of land burned including over 100 structures and 80 vehicles destroyed. Light winter precipitation makes the spring season favorable for dust storms that occasionally reduce the visibility to less than 1 mile. Humidity is generally low, frequently dropping below 20 percent. Low humidity moderates the effect of high summer afternoon temperatures and makes for pleasant evenings and nights.

Severe storms are infrequent, though thunderstorms with damaging hail, wind and heavy rain occur most years, mainly during the spring and summer. Amarillo is one of the Top 10 most hail-prone cities in the U.S. The Amarillo area is located in the western portion of "Tornado Alley". 33 tornadoes were reported in Potter county between 1950 and 2007, with the strongest being an F3 tornado on May 9, 1982 that caused $2.5 million in property damage. 

Additional Amarillo climate data

           

The climate of Austin is humid subtropical with hot summers and relatively mild winters. Austin, the capital of Texas, is located at the junction of the Colorado River and the Balcones escarpment, separating the Texas Hill Country from the Blackland Prairies to the east. Elevations within the city vary from 400 feet to just above 1000 feet above sea level. Mild weather prevails during most of the winter, but temperatures fall below freezing on average 25 days a year. Strong mid-winter cold fronts can usher in brief but frigid conditions. The record low occurred on January 31, 1949 with a temperature of -2 degrees. From 1898 to 2007 measurable snowfall occurred in 38 of those years, for an average of once every 2.9 years. The heaviest snowfall occurred on February 22-23, 1937 when 9.5 inches of snow fell. Conversely, dry west winds during the winter can produce summer-like temperatures. The temperature hit 90 degrees in December 1955, January 1971 and February 1996. During 2011, Austin experienced its hottest day, month, summer and year on record. The all-time high occurred on August 28, 2011 with a temperature of 112 degrees. The monthly record was during August with an average of 91.6, the summer season's average was 91.6 and the annual average was 72 degrees. Austin also endured a record 74 days in 2011 with the high temperature reaching or exceeding 100 degrees. 

Daytime temperatures during summer are hot, with highs greater than 90 over 80% of the time. Cool fronts may affect the area and drop overnight lows to the 50s on rare occasions. In these cases, warm winds quickly return, pushing lows to the 70s within a few days. In very hot summers, the continental climates of West and North Texas can have the impact of keeping daytime highs near and above 100, especially with hot west and southwest winds. Most of the time, the moderating affects of the Gulf of Mexico limit daytime highs, but results in discomfort with higher humidity. 

Precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Heaviest amounts occur during May and September, primarily due to  cool fronts that have become stalled over the area or tropical cyclones that migrate out of the Gulf of Mexico.  Precipitation from April through September usually results from thunderstorms, with large amounts of rain falling within short periods of time. Rainfall amounts have exceeded 5 inches in several hours, causing flash floods. While thunderstorms and heavy rains may occur in all months of the year, most occur during the spring with May bringing the highest frequency of severe weather. Hail is reported around the Central Texas / Austin area an average of 31 days per year and tornadoes are reported on an average of 12 days per year. Average yearly rainfall is near 32 inches. Extremes vary from 11.52 inches in 1954 to 64.68 inches in 1919.

Average sunshine varies from about 50% in the winter to near 75% in the summer. Although tornadoes are rare, they are most often associated with dissipating tropical storms. 61 tornadoes were reported in Travis county between 1950 and 2007, with the strongest being an F4 tornado that struck on 5/27/97, causing $15 million in property damage.

Additional Austin climate data

       

Corpus Christi lies on Corpus Christi Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico. Corpus Christi has a subtropical climate, enjoying similar temperatures to those of other Gulf coast regions, but lower precipitation as it is located in a semi-arid region. The moderating influence of the Gulf can make temperatures in the city substantially different from inland areas during calm winter mornings and summer afternoons. The Gulf also keeps humidity high throughout the year and produces a high average number of days with fog at 108. Average annual precipitation is 30.13 inches. 

Peak rainfall months are May and September and winter is the driest season. The hurricane season from June to November can greatly affect rainfall totals. Main hurricane months are August and September. Corpus Christi has been brushed or hit by hurricanes 34 times from 1874-2009, for an average of once every 4.09 years. A direct hit by a hurricane averages every 15.44 years. Hurricane Celia, reported to be the costliest in the state's history, hit Corpus Christi on August 3, 1970. Winds up to 161 miles an hour and gusts to 180 miles an hour were reported in the area. 

Temperatures can be warm, even during mid-winter. The average high in January is 65 degrees and low 45. The record low occurred on February 11, 1899 with a temperature of 11 degrees.  The city's largest snowstorm occurred in December 2004 with 4.4 inches. December and January skies are normally cloudy to partly cloudy with an average of 24 days and only 7 days with clear skies.  Summers can be hot with very high humidity. The record high occurred on September 5, 2000 with a temperature of 109 degrees. The average morning humidity during the summer months is 93%. Corpus Christi is one the Top 10 most humid cities in the U.S. with an annual average humidity of 76%. From June-August, high temperatures exceed 90 degrees 83% of the time and December-February low temperatures dip below freezing only 11% of the time. 

Additional Corpus Christi climate data

       

The Dallas - Ft. Worth Metroplex is located in North Central Texas, approximately 250 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. The rolling hills in the area range from 500-800 feet in elevation. The climate is humid subtropical with hot summers. It is also continental, characterized by a wide range in annual temperature extremes. Precipitation also varies considerably, ranging from less than 20 to more than 50 inches.

Winters are mild, but strong cold fronts occur about three times each month, and often are accompanied by sudden drops in temperature. Snowfall is seen on average three days annually and snow accumulation is seen on two days per year. Periods of extreme cold that occasionally occur are short-lived, so that even in January mild weather occurs frequently. Dallas - Ft. Worth averages 36 days with temperatures below freezing each year.  

The highest temperatures of summer are associated with fair skies, westerly winds and low humidity. Characteristically, hot spells during the summer are broken into three-to-five day periods by thunderstorm activity. From June - August, high temperatures average 90 degrees or above on 85 out of a possible 92 days. There are usually only a few nights each summer when the low temperature exceeds 80F, but in 2011 Dallas-Ft. Worth experienced 55 days with nighttime temperatures above 80F. Summer daytime temperatures exceed 100F on an average of 16 days per year, with a record number of 71 days during one of the city's worst heat wave in 2011 and 42 consecutive days June 23rd to August 3rd, 1980. The temperature exceeded 105F on 28 days and 110F or greater on 5 days during 1980.

Spring can bring highly variable temperatures. During March, 1916 the temperature reached 100F and 25F within 18 days of each other, with 25F on March 3rd and 100F on March 21st. . 

Throughout the year, rainfall occurs more frequently during the night. Usually, periods of rainy weather last for only a day or two and are followed by several days with fair skies. A large part of the annual precipitation results from thunderstorm activity, with occasional heavy rainfall over brief periods of time. Although Dallas and Ft Worth are located only 35 miles apart, eastern Dallas averages 6 more inches of precipitation per year than western Ft. Worth

Thunderstorms occur throughout the year, but are most frequent in the spring. Hail falls on average two or three days a year, with the most damaging hailstorm in U.S. history occurring in the Ft. Worth area with baseball-sized hail on May 5, 1995 with 1.2 billion in damages. From 1950 - 2009, Ft. Worth's county (Tarrant) experienced the highest number of incidents in Texas with larger than baseball-sized hail large-sized hail with 11. Three of these incidents recorded hail of 4.5 inches in diameter, or softball-sized. Dallas - Ft. Worth is one of the Top 10 most hail-prone areas in the U.S. 

Dallas- Ft. Worth lies at the lower end of "Tornado Alley". 80 tornadoes were reported in Dallas county between 1950 and 2007, with the strongest being an F4 tornado that struck the area on 4/25/94, causing $500,000 in property damage. An F3 tornado that touched down thirty minutes before the F4 tornado caused $50 million in damages. 76 tornadoes were reported in the Ft. Worth area (Tarrant county) with the strongest being four F4 tornadoes. 

The average length of the warm season (freeze-free period) in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is about 249 days. The average last occurrence of 32F or below is mid March and the average first occurrence of 32F or below is in late November.

Additional Dallas - Ft. Worth climate data

           

Houston is located in the flat Coastal Plains, about 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and about 25 miles from Galveston Bay. The climate is humid subtropical. Numerous streams and bayous, plus close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico contributes to the development of heavy fog which averages 18 days per year and light fog 70 days per year. Humidity is high, especially during the summer when morning humidity values average over 90% and afternoon values exceed 60%. As a result, Houston is one the the Top 10 most humid cities in the U.S. Prevailing winds are from the south and southeast, except in January when polar cold fronts cause strong north winds to occur. The record low for Houston is 5 degrees, set on January 23, 1940

Temperatures are moderated by the influence of the Gulf of Mexico which results in mild winters. The average number of days below freezing is 19, and these usually last only a few hours since they are usually accompanied by clear skies. During 2011, Houston experienced its hottest day, month, summer and year on record. The all-time high occurred on August 27, 2011 with a temperature of 109 degrees. The monthly record was during August with an average of 90.4, the summer season's average was 87.2 and the annual average was 72.4 degrees. 

Another effect of the Gulf is abundant rainfall, which is evenly distributed throughout the year. Annual precipitation totals range between 30 and 60 inches about 75% of the time, with thunderstorms being the major contributor. Snow rarely occurs, but on December 22, 1989 Houston received 1.7 inches of snow and experienced the current record low of 7 degrees.  Since 1985, Houston has only experienced 11 snowfalls of 1" or greater. Tropical storms occasionally pass through, with Tropical Storm Allison hitting the area on June 5, 2001. Allison caused devastating flooding in the southeast Texas area,  with Houston quickly receiving 16-24 inches of rain. The flooding damaged over 48,000 homes and 70,000 automobiles for a total value of 5.2 billion. From 1950-2007, Houston's county (Harris) reported the most tornadoes in Texas with 212, with most being weak F0 tornadoes. This is a result of high annual thunderstorm and tropical/hurricane activity along the Gulf coast. The strongest was an F4 tornado that struck on 11/12/1992, causing $250 million in damage. 

Additional Houston climate data 

           

Lubbock possesses a semi-arid climate and is located in northwest Texas in the Llano Estacado region. Lubbock's climate is influenced by its unique location in a transition area between the desert conditions to the west and humid climates to the east and southeast. 

The greatest monthly rainfall occurs from May through September when warm, moist tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico produces afternoon and evening thunderstorms, sometimes accompanied by large hail. Lubbock is located in the southern portion of "Tornado Alley". 77 tornadoes have been reported in the Lubbock area between 1950-2007, with the strongest being an F5 tornado that struck on 5/11/1970 causing $250 million in damages. Snow may occur from late October until April with light accumulation that seldom remains on the ground for more than two or three days. Lubbock averages only 18.65 inches of precipitation per year and as a result, the annual percent of possible sunshine is 71%. In late winter and spring, winds in excess of 25 mph occasionally occur for periods of 12 hours or more. Spring winds can bring widespread dust for several hours. Summer heat is not considered oppressive, dry air from the west and a usually gentle wind sometimes lowers temperatures into the 60s.  

Additional Lubbock climate data

           

The Midland-Odessa area is located on the southern extension of the South Plains of Texas at an elevation of 2800 feet and is approximately halfway between Ft. Worth and El Paso. The terrain is generally level with only slight changes in height.

The climate is typical of a semi-arid region. The vegetation of the area consists mostly of native grasses and a few trees, mostly of the mesquite variety.

Most of the annual precipitation in the area comes as a result of strong spring and early summer thunderstorms. These are usually accompanied by excessive rainfall over limited areas with occasional hail. Due to the flat nature of the countryside, local flooding occurs but is of short duration. 30 tornadoes were reported in the Midland - Odessa area between 1950-2007, with 20 being the weakest F0 variety. The strongest occurred on 5/15/1965, when an F3 tornado caused $250,000 in damage.

During the late winter and early spring months, blowing dust occurs frequently. The flat plains of the area with only grass as vegetation offer little resistance to the strong winds. The sky is occasionally obscured by dust, but in most storms visibilities range from 1 to 3 miles.

Daytime temperatures are quite hot in the summer, but there is a large diurnal range of temperature and most nights are comfortable. The temperature drops below 32 degrees in the fall about mid-November and the last temperature below 32 degrees in spring comes early in April. Midland- Odessa experienced its hottest summer on record in 2011, with an average temperature of  87.6 degrees. 

Winters are characterized by frequent cold periods followed by rapid warming. Cold frontal passages are followed by chilly weather for two or three days. The average annual snowfall is 4.3 inches. Cloudiness is at a minimum, with annual percent possible sunshine at 73%.  Summers are hot and dry with numerous small convective showers.

The prevailing wind direction in this area is from the southeast. This, together with the upslope flow of the terrain from the same direction, causes occasional low cloudiness and drizzle during winter and spring months. Snow is infrequent. Maximum temperatures during the summer months frequently are from 2 to 6 degrees cooler than those at places 100 miles southeast, due to cooling effect of the upslope winds.

Summer afternoon temperatures frequently exceed 90 degrees, but low humidity results in comfortable conditions. The climate of the area is generally pleasant with the most disagreeable weather concentrated in the late winter and spring months.

Additional Midland - Odessa climate data            

           

The city of San Antonio is located in the south-central portion of Texas on the Balcones escarpment. Northwest of the city, the terrain slopes upward to the Edwards Plateau and to the southeast it slopes downward to the Gulf Coastal Plains. With its location on the NW edge of the Gulf Coastal Plain, San Antonio possesses a modified subtropical climate. Average monthly temperatures range from the 50s in winter to 80s in summer. Elevation varies from near 550 to above 1000 feet above sea level.

During winter the area is alternately influenced by a continental climate, when winds blow from the north and west and by a modified maritime climate, when south and southeast winds blow from the Gulf of Mexico. Mild weather prevails during most of the winter. Below freezing temperatures occur on average about 20 days each year. When strong cold fronts do occur, they block any moderating effects from the Gulf of Mexico. The coldest winters overall have come from those winters of frequent cold fronts, accompanied by mostly cloudy weather. The coldest low of record was 0 F on January 31, 1949. Although daytime highs are restrained in cloudy winters, overnight lows can be potentially higher, sometimes sparing the area from the much colder minimums that occur under clear skies. During sunny winters, the South Texas sun warms daytime temperatures to pleasant levels, while nights are cooler. Sometimes in these situations, with colder than normal nights, the average temperature can be close to normal, because the daytime sun moves daytime highs to much above normal. Daily temperature variations can be as much as 40 to 50 degrees. Very warm days occur when dry west winds in a mild air mass allow winter temperatures to climb to spring or summer like levels, such as 90 degrees on December 25, 1955, 89 degrees on January 30, 1971, 100 degrees on February 21, 1996 and 100 degrees on March 6, 1991. During 2011, San Antonio experienced its hottest day, month and summer on record. The all-time high occurred on August 28, 2011 with a temperature of 110 degrees. The monthly record was during August with an average of 90.0 and the summer season's average was 88.0 degrees.

During the summer the climate becomes more tropical-like with prevailing south and southeast winds. The moderating effects of the Gulf of Mexico prevent extremely high temperatures; however, summers are usually long and hot with daily maximum temperatures above 90 over 80% of the time. In many years, summer conditions continue into September and sometimes even into October. The highest record of 111 degrees occurred on September 5, 2000 when dry conditions dominated and the area was blocked off from the moderating south and southeast Gulf winds. Occasionally, cool fronts may move through the area, dropping overnight lows into the 50s and 60s; however, the cooling is brief and in a day or two the minimum temperatures are back to the 70s. If the drier air with these fronts has lost all of its cooler properties, daytime highs rise above normal as the moderating effects of the Gulf of Mexico are blocked. Although July and August can have limiting rain, sometimes rather heavy rain events can come during these months, especially with the remnants of tropical storms or stalled out cool fronts.

San Antonio is situated between a semi-arid area to the west and a much wetter and more humid area to the east. Such a location allows for large variations in monthly and annual precipitation amounts. The normal annual precipitation for San Antonio is about 30 inches, although it may range from near 10 to near 50 inches from one year to another. The extremes vary from 10.11 inches in 1917 to 52.28 inches in 1973. Heavy rain may occur with or without thunder in any season. During some of these events, rain has exceeded 5 inches in several hours and caused flash flooding. A year of normal precipitation is sufficient for the production of most crops, although during the drier years irrigation is essential. On average the heaviest rains fall in May and September, while the driest months, on average, are December through March, and July. Since rainfall is sporadic, the wettest and driest month in any one year may occur in any season and vary widely from year to year. Precipitation from April through September usually occurs as a result of thunderstorms; however, thunderstorms may occur in any month.

Hail of damaging intensity has occurred, although it is not as frequent when compared to North Texas or other places in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions. Small hail is frequent with springtime thunderstorms and has been observed during other seasons. Measurable snow usually occurs only once in three or four years. Snowfall of 2 to 4 inches occurs about every ten years

Since San Antonio is located only 140 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, tropical storms occasionally affect the city with strong winds and heavy rains. One of the fastest winds recorded, 74 mph, occurred as a tropical storm moved inland east of the City in August 1942.

Strong winds also come as a result of microbursts from thunderstorms. A microburst during the afternoon of July 10, 1979, caused a wind gust of 77 mph. Strong winds also come from squall lines and strong cold fronts. On March 27, 1994, a squall line blasted through the city during the early morning hours, causing a wind gust of 104 mph at Randolph AFB on the northeast side of the city. On May 27, 1997 a squall line swept through the city from the north and northeast, and caused a wind gust of 122 mph at Kelly AFB in a thunderstorm. Although tornadoes are rare, they have occurred, with most associated with dissipating tropical storms.

Relative humidity is above 80% during the early morning hours most of the year, dropping to near 50% in late afternoon. San Antonio receives about 50% of possible sunshine during the winter months and more than 70% during the summer. Stratus clouds frequently develop at night during all seasons with south and southeast winds, as Gulf moisture is lifted from the coastal plains to the higher terrain over the Balcones escarpment. When these clouds dissipate, partly cloudy to sunny conditions follow by late morning.  During the winter, stratus clouds may be accompanied by fog and drizzle, as south and southeast wind brings Gulf moisture over the top of a cool air dome at the surface.

Additional San Antonio climate data

Interesting Texas climate facts

An average of 153 tornadoes touch down in Texas each year. Tornadoes may occur in any month, but occur most often during April, May and June between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. In the period 1959-2000, 6,417 tornadoes were reported in Texas, with 63% of tornadoes occurring from April-June and 33% occurring in May. From 1950-2007, Texas encountered 84 tornadoes with a strength of F4 or higher (winds > 207 mph). Texas ranks 11th among the 50 states in density of tornadoes with an average of 5.7 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles per year.  The U.S. record for the fastest tornado winds occurred at Wichita Falls on April, 2 1958 with a top wind speed of 258 mph. Harris County on the Texas Gulf Coast encountered the highest number of tornadoes in the state from 1950 - 2007 with 122.  

Hail is common with severe thunderstorms during the spring, mainly in North and Northwest Texas where 2.5 inch hail (tennis ball size) or greater occurs on the average of 2.5 days per year. During the period 1950-2007, Texas experienced 348 incidents of 4.0 inch hail (grapefruit size) or greater, causing $578 million in damage.

Texas has experienced 98 degrees or higher during every month of the year. The record highs for Texas during May through September are 116 degrees or higher. During 2011, Texas experienced the hottest summer in U.S. history with an average temperature of 86.8 degrees 

The average number of days between the first and last freeze of the winter season in Brownsville in Far South Texas averages only 44 days, while Dalhart in the Texas Panhandle averages over four times as long with 189 days. In addition, Brownsville averages only two freezes per year, while Dumas in the Panhandle records the most with 122 freezes annually. 

The coldest location in Texas is Stratford in the Texas Panhandle with an annual temperature of 55.0 F degrees. The hottest location is Mc Allen in the Texas Valley with an annual temperature of 74.1 F. The highest monthly average occurs during June in Presidio with 102.1 F, and the lowest occurs in Dalhart during January with an average temperature of 19.4 F.  

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Data source: National Climatic Data Center