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What Part of Texas Has the Coolest Summers?

It’s summertime, and in Texas, that means it’s HOT! Or is it? Maybe there are areas of Texas that aren’t as miserably hot as we all assume (particularly those non-Texans out there). That leads to our question of the day…what part of Texas has the coolest summers?

The part of Texas with the coolest summers is the northern panhandle. Temperatures average over 10°F cooler than other parts of the state during the summer months.

This is an excellent place to point out that those “cool” summers are the same areas with frigid, snowy, blustery winters, so remember everything has a trade-off!  Right now, however, those cooler summer temperatures probably don’t have you thinking blizzards—unless we’re talking at the local ice cream shop.

Climate Regions in Texas

Texas has five distinct climate types/regions. (To clarify, the weather is what is happening right now outside.  Climate is more of the “big picture” of the historical record that details what the weather has averaged in the past. Most “climates” are based on weather averages of at least 30 years.) 

According to Weather Atlas, the five regions with distinct climate types in Texas are:

  1. Panhandle. The panhandle of the state, which is the high plains up in the northern edge bordering primarily with Oklahoma, has a semi-arid climate. Average precipitation (which includes both rain and snow) averages 18” to 20” a year. Some parts of the northern panhandle may see snow in the 24” to 30” region alone!
  2. Big Bend Country. This area includes the far west and central west regions; it is primarily desert with isolated mountain ranges. Annual precipitation will run around 15” per year.  Some of the mountains will receive heavy snowfall during the winter.
  3. Central Texas. This part of Texas runs the gamut from semi-arid in the west to subtropical in the east.  Annual precipitation averages from 21” in the western parts to over 35” in the eastern portions.
  4. Eastern Texas.This is a subtropical region, with hot, humid summers and annual precipitation in the 60” or more category.
  5. South Texas. The southernmost portion of the Great Plains. The coastal regions receive moderate rainfall, while the inland areas are more arid and drier.

However, weather and climate are not exactly defined by region, so next, we’re going to look at cities representative of each area and compare them to determine the coolest areas of the state.

Climate by Region & City

Panhandle.  Our selected city to represent the panhandle region is Amarillo.  U.S. Climate Data reports that Amarillo has an average temperature in June, July, and August of 89.3°F.  We know low precipitation is also part of the Panhandle climate, and Amarillo receives 20.36” annually.

Big Bend Country.  One of the larger cities in Big Bend Country is Presidio, so we’re selecting it to represent this region. U.S. Climate Data reports that Presidio has an average temperature during the summer months of June through August of 100.7°F.  Again, this should be an area of low annual precipitation, and Presidio supports that with a meager 10.73” per year.

Central Texas. There are a lot of choices for representative cities in Central Texas.  For our purposes, we’re going to use Austin to represent the area. U.S. Climate Data shows that Austin has an average summer temperature (months of June through August) of 95°F.  Precipitation can vary greatly.

Eastern Texas.  A nice town representative of Eastern Texas is Longview.  U.S. Climate Data shows Longview averages 92°F during June, July, and August.  East Texas climate is supposed to be hot and humid, with plenty of rainfall; Longview averages a soggy 49.53” of annual precipitation.

South Texas.  Our final region, South Texas, is going to be represented by the southernmost city available, Brownsville.  U.S. Climate Data indicates Brownsville averages 93°F during the summer months. Again, precipitation is not a particularly good indicator that Brownsville is a good representative choice, as precipitation in the South Texas climates can vary substantially.

A comparison of each region clearly identifies the part of Texas that has the coolest summers:

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that the panhandle region of Texas offers the coolest summer temperatures.  The numbers are undeniable.  Additionally, those temperatures will come with a humidity level that is frequently much lower than other areas, making the “feels like” temperature even more comfortable.

That said, there are areas in each region that have comfortable weather as well.  You don’t necessarily have to run up to Amarillo to cool down, but it sure wouldn’t hurt any—just don’t forget your sunscreen!

By Lah

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