When most non-Texans think of Texas weather, they likely imagine the dry, hot, and sunny climate they see in Western movies. That’s not entirely off, if you are actually in the western part of the state; e.g., El Paso is the fifth least humid city in the nation and records more than 300 days of sunshine per year.
Elsewhere, the Panhandle gets plenty of snow, and the eastern half of the state gets plenty of humidity and rain. Plus, Port Arthur gets more rain than Seattle.
Still, many are the jokes that Texas has four seasons… December, January, February, and Summer. Officially, Texas has mild to cold winters and hot and humid summers. Many do complain about the hot summers but, lucky for us, there is no period of terrible weather.
Thankfully, Texas’ typical weather is also partially responsible for our healthy farming and ranching economy, tourism, and a number of other great reasons to live here. Texans themselves are known to be friendly, perhaps because we are less likely to be grouchy when we’re not cold or indoors most of the year.
When considering all the great things about and to do in Texas, most of them rely on the consistency of our mild-to-hot weather. Our state is home to beaches, mountain ranges, rodeos, miles of wildflowers, city skylines, rich cultural lifestyles, and outdoor greats like Enchanted Rock and San Antonio’s River Walk, none of which would be so popular if visitors were buffeted by rain or cold winds.
Texas weather has had an impact on Texas’ agriculture for hundreds of years. The details of weather information can drive farmer and rancher business decisions, helping them to plan efficiently, minimize costs and maximize yields. The reliability of Texas warmth has consistently enabled farmers and ranchers to plan for crop growth and irrigation, fertilizer timing, pest and disease control, and the number of days suitable for working their fields.
As a result, Texas leads all other states in the number of farms and ranches. While our primary crops are cotton, corn, feed grains, rice and wheat, there is an abundance of other crops; peanuts, sunflowers, sugarcane, and others. There is also an enormous variety of vegetable and citrus farms nearly year-round in the Rio Grande Valley at almost all times of the year. In addition to crops, there are plenty of fruit, olive, and pecan orchards, as well as an increasing number of vineyards.
Aside from feeding and producing for our 29 million residents, when we include wildflower season to the mix, we can also add revenue from movie making companies who need the reliability of our fields of wheat, corn, or floral blooms for beautiful scenery on film.
Off the beaten path, Texas is a great place for stargazing. Big Bend National Park is the darkest national park in the continental United States and weather allows amateur astronomers to enjoy star parties and moon walks year round.
As well, many retail and leisure industries do not have single-season peaks. While few wish to have an outdoor wedding ceremony in July or August, couples are not limited to the October/June outdoor ideals as in northern latitudes. Industry data show January has the fewest ceremonies but there is little difference in average weddings per month.
Texas’ clear skies also mean good things for energy production. Although Texas has a long history of energy production from gas and oil, the advantages of sunny weather and flat land have given the state a high potential to develop more renewable energy in the future. Solar industry are on the increase and, considering Amarillo is the third windiest city in America, it is no surprise wind farms are also on the rise.
When people aren’t talking about the heat, they are questioning why we dress for Winter in the morning, Summer in the afternoon, and Autumn in the evening. The next time you are wondering why it is hot at noon and thunderstorming at 2pm, consider that the Texas landscape is constantly subject to cold and hot fronts coming from both sides of the continent.
As fronts come from east and west, there is also warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to the south and, as the saying goes, “To the north there is nothing between Texas and the North Pole except a barbed wire fence and it blew down.” More formally, Texas is part of a large flat land mass; i.e., winds from the north come down through the plains states without a geological buffer. Add supercooled air from the Rocky Mountains, which warms as it falls, and unpredictability seems predictable.
Bottom line, loving, profiting from, or at least tolerating the weather is just another thing that makes Texas special, and something to brag about.