Texas has diverse climate types that range from arid and semi-arid in the west to humid and subtropical in the east. The huge expanse of the state creates various weather patterns based on location such as the north and northern panhandle, west, east, south and the coastal regions. Texas shares borders with New Mexico in the west, Oklahoma in the north, Louisiana in the east, the Gulf of Mexico in the southeast and the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon in the southwest.
Texas, the Lone Star state, has plains in the north, which exhibit a semi-arid climate with average annual precipitation of 18" (457.2mm) to 20" (508mm). The northern panhandle is one of the coldest areas in Texas and receives the most snow in the state to the tune of an annual 25" (635mm) to 30" (762mm). Winters are cold while summers are hot with clear skies. The region is part of the Tornado Alley of the country.
The Big Bend Country composes of the western and west-central regions and is made of the desert and lone mountain ranges with arid and temperate climate patterns. Annual precipitation is the lowest of about 15" (381mm) in the state in the arid areas while the mountains receive heavy snowfall. Summers are dry while the rest of the year in this region has the clearest skies in Texas.
Central Texas is made of hills and rivers and ranges from semi-arid in the western part to subtropical in the rest. Summers are hot and humid while winters are mild. Average annual rainfall is in the range of 21" (533.4mm) in the west to 35" (889mm) in the rest of the region. Higher elevations have coniferous tree cover and receive more rainfall than the river valleys that comprise of deciduous trees.
The eastern part of Texas lies in the humid subtropical zone and receives annually about 60" (1524mm) of rain, the most in the state. April, May, and June are usually the rainiest while the parts near the coast are mostly cloudy around the year. Severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes are frequent in the region generally in the spring season. Summer season is hot and humid in the east, but the coastal sections remain relatively cool in the proximity of the Gulf of Mexico.
South Texas is the southern tip of the American Great Plains region: coastal regions have moderate temperatures while further inland the climate patterns mimic that of the Northern Plains. Summers are usually hot and dry in the south and snowfall is rare. Rain is more abundant in the coastal regions than the inland ranch type areas, which mostly have a semi-arid climate.
Texas experiences thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes during late spring and early summer. April and May in the spring are usually the rainiest in most regions of the state. Seymour recorded the highest ever temperature of 120°F (48.9°C) on August 12, 1936, in Texas while Seminole recorded the coldest temperature of -23°F (-30.6°C) on February 8, 1933.
The best time to visit Texas
The best time to visit Texas is in the shoulder seasons from March to May and September to November. Summer has many activities but tends to be hot, dry and humid in most regions of the state. The spring and autumn are mild and have comfortable temperatures although there is a bit of rain in spring. Fall is even more attractive due to the dispersal of the summer crowds, relatively lesser rain and day temperatures in the pleasant zone of 70°F (21.1°C) to 80°F (26.7°C). Winter is cold in some parts and prone to snowfall, especially in the northern part of Texas.
The worst time to visit Texas
Texas has mild to cold winters and hot and humid summers. While there is no period of extremely bad weather in the year, the worst time to visit Texas is mostly in the summer as the temperatures are hot, particularly in the semi-arid and arid regions of the state. The subtropical regions of the state are humid and rainy in the summer. Additionally, thunderstorms add to summer woes, and there are better days in the spring and autumn when the tourist population is lesser than the swelling numbers from June to August.
Texas is vulnerable to wildfires, thunderstorms, hurricanes, flooding and tornadoes in late spring and early summer - the northern panhandle lies in the Tornado Alley of America. On an average, 139 tornadoes of varying intensities hit the state every year. The northwestern location of the state concerning the Gulf of Mexico makes it prone to tropical cyclones. Cyclones mostly cause heavy rains and catastrophic flooding. Thunderstorms are frequent in north and eastern Texas in spring and summer.
Weather in January
January is generally the coldest month of the year in Texas as the average low temperatures in a few places drop below freezing. Nights are cold in the arid west where they plummet even below 23°F (-5°C) when the day temperatures are above 55°F (12.8°C). The average high temperatures are in the 52°F (11.1°C) to 71°F (21.7°C) while the average low temperatures are in between the 23°F (-5°C) to 52°F (11.1°C). Amarillo in the west is between 23°F (-5°C) to 51°F (10.6°C) while Longview in the east averages in the 34°F (1.1°C) to 58°F (14.4°C) range. The sunshine is adequate in January as Texas registers an average of 16 sunny days. Precipitation is mostly about 1" (25.4mm) to 2" (50.8mm) in the coastal and eastern areas. Strong winds blow in the northern plains in the winter, particularly at the time of a cold wave. The New Year weather is comfortable at least during the day in the majority of the state while it is prudent to wear warm clothing during the nights.
Weather in February
February is a mild winter month in Texas as the state experiences diverse weather from warm days to cold nights in different regions. The average high temperatures in the state are in the 58°F (14.4°C) to 75°F (23.9°C) while the average low temperatures lie between 26°F (-3.3°C) to 56°F (13.3°C). While Austin, the state capital that lies in South central Texas, experiences a mild winter with the average temperatures in the 45°F (7.2°C) to 65°F (18.3°C) in February, El Paso in the west has warm days around 63°F (17.2°C) and cold nights that drop to 37°F (2.8°C). Snowfall is regular in the Guadalupe Mountains in the west while eastern Texas averages about 3" (76.2mm) to 4" (101.6mm) of rain - the majority of the state except the coastal areas has dry winters. Ample sunshine is present in February as the skies are mostly clear. The mild weather attracts a lot of festivities and outdoor events including annual rodeo and stock show events that gather many visitors to Texas.
Weather in March
March is a beautiful month that starts the spring season in Texas with warm weather amid a pickup in the rain. Majority of the state sees between 3" (76.2mm) to 4" (101.6mm) of rain except for the arid areas of the west where it ranges between 1" (25.4mm) to 2" (50.8mm). Barring the period of cloudy skies, there is ample sunshine with an average of 18 sunny days in March. Temperatures usually range in the wonderful 68°F (20°C) to 80°F (26.7°C) in the day while the nights are between a comfortable 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C). Spring is not immune to cold fronts in north Texas and the panhandle. Plan vacations well in advance as people flock to the hills with the arrival of spring, and there is a general uptick in tourist numbers. Spring is one of the best times to visit Texas with lush grasslands, forests, hilly areas, prairies and the aroma of blooming flowers and freshwater. Winter clothing is unnecessary, but it is a good idea to carry a raincoat or umbrella.
Weather in April
April lies in the spring season with warm temperatures and unpredictable weather. The weather can range from warm to hot, humid and rainy. April is one of the rainiest months in Texas with an average of 3" (76.2mm) to 4" (101.6mm) of precipitation. Humidity ranges from 27% in El Paso to about 77% in Port Arthur. The average high temperatures are in the 73°F (22.8°C) to 88°F (31.1°C) while the average low temperatures are in the 42°F (5.6°C) to 61°F (16.1°C). Dallas in Northcentral Texas averages in the warm 56°F (13.3°C) to 77°F (25°C) range while San Antonio in Southcentral Texas is between 58°F (14.4°C) to 61°F (16.1°C). Sunshine and daylight hours are adequate in April despite the rain. Spring sports many activities including fishing, biking, kayaking, and rodeo shows. April is mild and pleasant, and Texas is a wide-open country - there is no shortage of adventure, at the same time, remember that the weather changes radically per place and altitude!
Weather in May
May is sunny and bright in Texas and sees a rise in temperatures across the state. Days are hot and humid as the average temperatures range from 82°F (27.8°C) to 95°F (35°C) while the nights are warm with average temperatures in the 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C). Lajitas, in the Big Bend Country in the west, averages between 64°F (17.8°C) to 98°F (36.7°C) while Houston on the Gulf coast is relatively cooler between 68°F (20°C) to 86°F (30°C). May receives a statewide average rainfall of 5" (127mm). McKinney in Northcentral Texas registers the most rain at 5.7" (144.8mm) while many places on the coast surpass 5" (127mm). Thunderstorms are frequent in May, many of which include hail in addition to lightning and rain. The season is also prone to wildfires and flooding in many places. Spring witnesses many activities like hunting, biking, riding and fishing as the lakes, rivers, and mountains are ripe for exploration. Be sure to keep an open eye on the weather!
Weather in June
June is hot as the sun shines relentlessly in the Texan summer. The average high temperatures are in the sweltering 86°F (30°C) to 98°F (36.7°C) zone while the average low temperatures are between 67°F (19.4°C) to 76°F (24.4°C). Summer is hot and humid in eastern Texas while western Texas is hotter than the east. Del Rio in the west registers average temperatures between 73°F (22.8°C) to 95°F (35°C), and Falcon Lake Dam is between 74°F (23.3°C) to 99°F (37.2°C) in the south-central part. June receives ample rain to the tune of 6" (152.4mm) to 7" (177.8mm) in the state and experiences thunderstorms, tornadoes, and is prone to hurricanes in the south and southeastern regions. The north and Panhandle regions are a few degrees cooler than the rest of Texas while the coastal regions are muggy and hot. June sees a spurt in tourist numbers despite the heat - stay in the shade, bring sunglasses, hats and sunscreen lotion to beat the summer heat!
Weather in July
July is a hot summer month in Texas with moderate rainfall and an average of 24 sunny days in the month. Day temperatures are in the 92°F (33.3°C) to 100°F (37.8°C) in the majority of the state while nights are warm at 67°F (19.4°C) to 75°F (23.9°C); mercury readings of 100°F (37.8°C) are common, yet the tourist season is at its peak. Camping, hunting, and fishing are favorite activities for tourists and the heat, surprisingly, does not undermine their spirits. Guadalupe Mountains Park in the arid west receives numerous footfalls, as it is one of the coolest places in July with an average day time high temperature of 84°F (28.9°C). While Texas is not famous for its beaches, far down south, the temperatures in the coastal areas are relatively colder, and the waters are warm. Everything is big in Texas, and so is the landscape - it is wise to carry insect repellents while camping in open areas. Also, note that wildfires are common in the hot and dry weather!
Weather in August
August is usually the hottest month of the year in Texas. The scorching heat sees average high temperatures in the 93°F (33.9°C) to 101°F (38.3°C) range in the state. Nights are warm and retain humidity in the east and southern coastal areas. Central Texas is hot and experiences many days that cross the 100°F (37.8°C) barrier. Del Rio in the west averages a daytime high of 97°F (36.1°C) compared to 100°F (37.8°C) in Laredo in south central and 96°F (35.6°C) in Denton in the north. Rain is moderate in August, but there is always the risk of a thunderstorm, hurricane or tornado in the state. Sunlight extends for more than 12 hours in the long days of summer as Texas registers about 240 sunny days in the year. Light summer clothing is sufficient in August, and it is a good idea to reserve outdoor activities in the morning and late afternoon hours to avoid the heat and the ultraviolet rays of the midday sun.
Weather in September
September is a transitional month from the hot summer of Texas and is sunny with warm temperatures. The average high temperatures are around the 85°F (29.4°C) to 91°F (32.8°C) range, and the average low temperatures are in the warm 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C) range. While the peak of the summer recedes by September, the tail of the hot season is yet to pass. Sunny days adorn the state as the moderate rainfall takes a backseat. Rain usually averages in the 2" (50.8mm) to 3" (76.2mm) zone and loses strength in the absence of storms and cyclones. There are many bright days to explore the wilderness, watch birds and animals, visit the state parks or go for riding and hunting. Humidity is in the range of 60% to 70% statewide as the sun plays hide and seek with the clouds. The weather is usually calm, and the temperatures gradually cool down by the end of September as the early fall season spreads its wings from the north to the rest of Texas.
Weather in October
October lies in the beautiful autumn season in Texas with mild temperatures and pleasant weather. Average high temperatures tend to be warm in the day in the 75°F (23.9°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) while the nights are pleasant with average low temperatures in the 55°F (12.8°C) to 60°F (15.6°C) range. October is a mix of cloudy skies in many regions and bright sunny days. The eastern and coastal parts are cloudy and humid compared to the rest of the state. Rainfall is in the range of an average of 5" (127mm) to 6" (152.4mm). The best of the fall season starts by mid-October as the landscape changes colors in the backdrop of the panoramic mountains. October is a great time to be in the Hill Country or the Piney Woods. Aspens, maples, and willows display brilliant shades of orange, red, purple and gold during the fall. The fall season is short, and the foliage is incomparable to that of New England, but it is undoubtedly a feast for the eyes!
Weather in November
November is one of the best times to visit Texas as the brief autumn season approaches its end. The weather in Texas is temperate in most of the places with the average high temperatures in the 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C). Nights are comfortable in the average 45°F (7.2°C) to 55°F (12.8°C) range. Cloudy and sunny patterns alternate during the days with moderate humidity levels. Wichita Falls in the north averages between 40°F (4.4°C) to 65°F (18.3°C) while Laredo in the south-central zone is between 55°F (12.8°C) to 76°F (24.4°C). Rainfall is in the average range of 4" (101.6mm) to 5" (127mm) across the state. Evenings are a little windy in many parts with the first signs of the mild Texas winter on the horizon. The fall foliage retains its peak until mid-November, and the weather is suitable for long scenic drives along the roads. November is an excellent time to explore Texas with pleasant weather, moderate humidity and rain, and the absence of the summer crowds.
Weather in December
December lies in the winter with the average high temperatures in the 50°F (10°C) to 72°F (22.2°C) range and the average low temperatures in the cold to warm 31°F (-0.6°C) to 53°F (11.7°C) range across the state. Rain is negligible in western Texas while the rest of the state experiences 2" (50.8mm) to 3" (76.2mm) of rain and the coastal areas get the maximum at about 5" (127mm). Snowfall is more in the panhandle and western mountains while it is less in the rest of the state. The Gulf Coast has mild winters: Brownsville has average temperatures in the comfortable 53°F (11.7°C) to 72°F (22.2°C), and South Padre Island is between 55°F (12.8°C) to 71°F (21.7°C). Humidity is more in the coastal areas, and December is often above 75%. Winters are relatively dry than the summer and have clear skies most of the time in many regions, especially in the arid areas. While there are better seasons than the winter, December weather is mild, and off-season discounts make it worthwhile to visit Texas for budget travelers. [Resources]
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