Climate of Texas

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Koppen climate classification types of Texas. Texas Koppen.svg
Köppen climate classification types of Texas.
This image of Texas, obtained by astronauts aboard NASA's Gemini 4 spacecraft shows a large dark swath attributed to rainfall. Rain-Darkened Texas.jpg
This image of Texas, obtained by astronauts aboard NASA's Gemini 4 spacecraft shows a large dark swath attributed to rainfall.

Texas' weather varies widely, from arid in the west to humid in the east. The huge expanse of Texas encompasses several regions with distinctly different climates: Northern Plains, Trans-Pecos Region, Texas Hill Country, Piney Woods, and South Texas. Generally speaking, the part of Texas that lies to the east of Interstate 35 is subtropical, while the portion that lies to the west of Interstate 35 is arid desert.

Humid subtropical climate category in the Köppen climate classification system

A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitudes 25° and 40° and are located poleward from adjacent tropical climates. While many subtropical climates tend to be located at or near coastal locations, in some cases they extend inland, most notably in China and the United States, where they exhibit more pronounced seasonal variations and sharper contrasts between summer and winter, as part of a gradient between the more tropical climates of the southern coasts of these countries and the more continental climates of China and the United States’ northern and central regions.


The Trans-Pecos, as originally defined in 1887 by the Texas geologist Robert T. Hill, is the portion of Texas that lies west of the Pecos River. The term is considered synonymous with "Far West Texas", a subdivision of West Texas. The Trans-Pecos is part of the Chihuahuan Desert, the largest desert in North America. It is the most mountainous and arid portion of the state, and most of its area is vast and sparsely populated, comprising seven of the ten largest counties by area in Texas. The area is known for the natural environment of the Big Bend and the gorge of the Rio Grande, part of which has been designated a National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. With the notable exceptions of Big Bend Ranch State Park, Big Bend National Park and the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the vast majority of the Trans-Pecos region consists of privately owned ranchland. However, the majority of the region's population reside in the El Paso metropolitan area.

Texas Hill Country region of Texas

The Texas Hill Country is a geographic region located in the Edwards Plateau at the crossroads of West Texas, Central Texas, and South Texas. Given its location, climate, terrain, and vegetation, the Hill Country can be considered the border between the American Southwest and Southeast.


Texas ranks first in tornado occurrence with an average of 139 per year. Tropical cyclones can affect the state, either from the Gulf of Mexico or from an overland trajectory originating in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Those originating from the Gulf of Mexico are more likely to strike the upper Texas coast than elsewhere. Significant floods have occurred across the state throughout history, both from tropical cyclones and from stalled weather fronts.

Tropical cyclone Is a rotating storm system

A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".

Gulf of Mexico An Atlantic Ocean basin extending into southern North America

The Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, largely surrounded by the North American continent. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. The U.S. states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida border the Gulf on the north, which are often referred to as the "Third Coast", in comparison with the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Pacific Ocean Ocean between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east and Antarctica or the Southern Ocean in the south.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

Characteristics by region

Northern area

Monthly normal high and low temperatures (°F) for various Northern Plains cities [1]

Abilene 55/3261/3769/4477/5285/6191/6995/7294/7187/6478/5465/4257/34
Amarillo 49/2354/2762/3471/4279/5287/6191/6589/6482/5672/4558/3250/24
Lubbock 52/2458/2966/3675/4583/5690/6492/6890/6683/5874/4762/3553/26
Midland 60/2966/3474/4182/4889/5894/6596/6894/6788/6180/5168/3961/31
San Angelo 58/2963/3471/4279/5086/5991/6695/7094/6888/6379/5167/3959/31
Wichita Falls 52/2958/3467/4176/4984/5992/6897/7296/7188/6477/5264/4054/31

The Northern Plains' climate is semi-arid and is prone to drought, annually receiving between 16 and 32 inches (810 mm) of precipitation, and average annual snowfall ranging between 15 and 30 inches, with the greatest snowfall amounts occurring in the Texas panhandle and areas near the border with New Mexico. During the summer, this area of state sees the most clear days. [2] Winter nights commonly see temperatures fall below the freezing mark, or 32 °F (0 °C). The wettest months of the year are April and May. [3] Tornadoes, caused by the convergence of westerly and southerly prevailing winds during the late spring, are common, making the region part of Tornado Alley. [4] Poor land management, drought, and high wind speeds can cause large dust storms, minimized in modern times by improved land-management practices, but most troublesome in the 1930s during the Dust Bowl period. [5] The panhandle region, farthest from the Gulf of Mexico, experiences colder winters than the other regions of Texas, where occasional wintertime Arctic blasts can cause temperatures to plunge to well below freezing and bring snowy conditions. [6]

Spring (season) one of the Earths four temperate seasons, occurring between winter and summer

Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, following winter and preceding summer. There are various technical definitions of spring, but local usage of the term varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. When it is spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. At the spring equinox, days and nights are approximately twelve hours long, with day length increasing and night length decreasing as the season progresses.

Tornado Alley Area in the U.S. with frequent tornado outbreaks

Tornado Alley is a colloquial term for the area of the United States where tornadoes are most frequent.

Dust Bowl period of severe dust storms in North America

The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent the aeolian processes caused the phenomenon. The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years. With insufficient understanding of the ecology of the plains, farmers had conducted extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains during the previous decade; this had displaced the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. The rapid mechanization of farm equipment, especially small gasoline tractors, and widespread use of the combine harvester contributed to farmers' decisions to convert arid grassland to cultivated cropland.

International areas with comparable climate: Southern China; North Argentina; New South Wales, Australia.

Argentina federal republic in South America

Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Trans Pecos Region

The Trans-Pecos region, also known as Big Bend Country, is in the west-central and western parts of the state, consisting of the Chihuahuan Desert and isolated mountain ranges. During fall, winter, and spring, it experiences the most clear days statewide. [2] It is also the driest receiving an average annual rainfall of only 16 inches (410 mm) or less. Snowfall is rare at lower elevations, although the highest mountain peaks are prone to heavy snowfalls during winter. The arid climate is the main reason for desertification of the land, but overgrazing is slowly widening the land area of that desert. In the mountain areas one can see coniferous forests in a wetter and more temperate environment. The wettest months in this region occur during the summer. [3] Winds are strengthened as they are forced to push through canyons and valleys. In the flatter areas these winds are harvested into usable electricity.


Desertification is a type of land degradation in which a relatively dry area of land becomes a desert, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife. It is caused by a variety of factors, such as through climate change and through the overexploitation of soil through human activity. When deserts appear automatically over the natural course of a planet's life cycle, then it can be called a natural phenomenon; however, when deserts emerge due to the rampant and unchecked depletion of nutrients in soil that are essential for it to remain arable, then a virtual "soil death" can be spoken of, which traces its cause back to human overexploitation. Desertification is a significant global ecological and environmental problem with far reaching consequences on socio-economic and political conditions.

International areas with comparable climate: Iraq; Iran; Sahel region in Africa

Iraq Republic in Western Asia

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

Sahel transition zone in Africa

The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south. Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. The name is derived from the Arabic word sāḥil meaning "coast" or "shore" in a figurative sense, while the name in Swahili means "coastal [dweller]" in a literal sense.

Hill Country

Monthly normal high and low temperatures (°F) for Hill Country cities [1]

Austin 60/4065/4473/5179/5885/6591/7195/7396/7390/6981/6070/4962/42
San Antonio 62/3967/4374/5080/5786/6691/7295/7495/7490/6982/5971/4964/41
Waco 57/3362/3870/4678/5384/6391/7096/7496/7390/6679/5768/4559/36

The Texas Hill Country, or central Texas is shaped by its many rivers and hills. The climate is semi-arid west of Brady through Junction to Rocksprings, but it is sub-humid east and south of that area; both areas have hot summers and mild winters with occasional cold spells. Humidity is high during the warm season, though afternoons especially further northwest can see a wind shift and drier air before Gulf air returns after sunset. The vegetation is both deciduous in the river valleys, and coniferous where there is greater elevation. Dry savannas, open woodlands, and shorter grasses dominate the northwest, while closed woodlands and moist savannas mix with taller grasses in the east and south. In a single year the region can receive up to 48 inches (1,200 mm) of precipitation, and flooding is common near rivers and in low-lying areas, while drier years might receive only 12 inches (300 mm) of precipitation; average annual precipitation ranges from 21 inches (530 mm) in western sections up to 35 inches (890 mm) in southeast. The wettest months of the year are April and May. [3]

International areas with comparable climate: Much of East Africa; Israel; Lebanon

Piney Woods

Monthly normal high and low temperatures (°F) for various Piney Woods locations [1]

Dallas 55/3661/4169/4977/5684/6592/7396/7796/7689/6979/5866/4757/39
Fort Worth 55/3161/3668/4476/5283/6191/6997/7296/7289/6579/5567/4458/35
Galveston 62/5064/5270/5875/6581/7287/7889/8089/7987/7680/6871/5964/52
Houston 63/4567/4874/5579/6186/6891/7494/7593/7589/7282/6273/5365/47
Port Arthur 61/4365/4672/5278/5984/6689/7292/7492/7388/6980/6071/5164/45

The Piney Woods is the eastern region of Texas and is within the humid subtropical climate zone. It receives the most rainfall; more than 60 inches (1,500 mm) annually in the far east. This is due to the gulf currents that carry humid air to the region, where it condenses and precipitates out in the vicinity of sea breeze fronts as well as when extratropical cyclones move by. While coastal sections see the most cloudy days statewide and year-round, northern sections see the most clear days during the summer. [2] The wettest months of the year are April and May. [3] The area is prone to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes when the proper conditions exist, generally in the springtime. Hurricanes also strike the region, the most disastrous of which was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. [10] More recently Hurricane Rita pummeled the Golden Triangle of southeast Texas. [11] The higher humidity of the region amplifies the feeling of heat during the summer. During winter and spring along the immediate coast, temperatures are kept cool by relatively cool gulf waters. Dense advection fog can form when warm air moves over the cool shelf waters during February and March, stopping ship traffic for days.

International areas with comparable climate: Taiwan; Philippines; much of the Southern parts of Queensland, Australia


Monthly normal high and low temperatures (°F) for southern Texas cities [1]

Brownsville 69/5072/5378/5982/6587/7291/7592/7593/7589/7384/6677/5970/52
Corpus Christi 66/4670/4976/5681/6286/6990/7493/7493/7590/7284/6475/5568/48
Del Rio 63/4068/4476/5283/5989/6794/7296/7496/7491/6982/6171/4963/41
Laredo 68/4473/4882/5689/6395/70100/74102/7599/7593/7186/6376/5368/45
Victoria 63/4467/4773/5479/6085/6890/7393/7594/7590/7083/6273/5265/45

The region of South Texas includes the semiarid ranch country and the wetter Rio Grande Valley. Considered to be the southernmost tip of the American Great Plains region, the inland region has rainfall that is similar to that of the Northern Plains. The coastal areas are nearly warm most of the year due to currents of the Gulf of Mexico, but can get cold in winter if a strong front comes in, and sometimes even causing snow at sea level. Summers are hot and humid. Rain in the coastal region is more abundant than in the inland region, and subtropical forests line the Rio Grande. The wettest months of the year are April and May in western areas, but approaching the Gulf Coast, September becomes the year's wettest month on average. This owes to the threat from tropical weather systems, including hurricanes, which can bring torrential rains of 5-10+ inches in one or two days. The resulting September monthly rainfall maximum prevails, for example, at Corpus Christi, South Padre Island and Brownsville. [3] Inland, where it is drier, ranches dominate the landscape, characterized by thick spiny brush and grasslands. The winters in the inland region are variable, but usually mild, but are subject to Arctic air outbreaks from Canada, Snow is a rare occurrence due to the lack of humidity in winter, and the summers are for the most part hot and dry, but at times can be humid when winds come off the Gulf of Mexico. Tornadoes can occur in this region, but are less frequent than in other parts of the state.

The southernmost part of the state falls just within the tropical climate classification. Occasional years of above average temperatures result in an abundance of tropical flora in the lower Rio Grande Valley, typical of a Tropical savanna climate.

International areas with comparable climate: India; Vietnam; Thailand

Cold and snow

2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm in South Texas Palm Trees and Snow.jpg
2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm in South Texas

Northern and western sections of the state average snowfall annually due to their colder average readings each winter. For one week in February 1956, a snow storm of historic proportions struck northern Texas. The maximum amount measured was 61 inches (150 cm) at Vega with Plainview receiving 24 inches (61 cm) in one day. [12] El Paso, in Far West Texas, received 22.4 in (57 cm) of snow during a 24-hour period December 13–14, 1987. [13] For central and southern sections, snowfall is considerably more unusual. In February 1895, a large area of southeastern Texas received over 12 inches (30 cm) of snow, with peak amounts near 30 inches (76 cm) at Port Arthur. [14] More recently around Christmas of 2004, up to 13 inches (33 cm) of snow fell along the middle coast, with the maximum occurring at Victoria. [15]

The worst cold snap to occur statewide occurred during the last half of December in 1983. Four stations recorded their longest continuous readings at or below 32 °F (0 °C) on record. At Austin, the temperature remained at or below freezing for 139 hours. At Abilene, the period at or below freezing totaled 202 hours. Lubbock saw temperatures at or below freezing for 207 hours. The Dallas-Fort Worth airport measured temperatures at or below freezing for a total of 296 consecutive hours. Snow which fell on December 14 and 15 across northern Texas stayed on the ground until New Year's Day of 1984. [16]

Severe weather

Thunderstorms are very common in Texas, especially the eastern and northern portion. Texas is part of the Tornado Alley section of the country. The state experiences the most tornadoes in the Union, an average of 139 a year. These strike most frequently in North Texas and the Panhandle. [4] Tornadoes in Texas generally occur in April, May, and June. [17]


Damage from the 1900 Galveston hurricane, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, was extensive. Galveston - 1900 wreckage.jpg
Damage from the 1900 Galveston hurricane, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, was extensive.

Texas's position at the northwestern end of the Gulf of Mexico makes it vulnerable to hurricanes. Some of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history have impacted Texas. A hurricane in 1875 killed approximately 400 people in Indianola, followed by another hurricane in 1886 that destroyed the town, which was at the time the most important port city in the state. This allowed Galveston to take over as the chief port city, but it was subsequently devastated by a hurricane in 1900 that killed approximately 8,000 people (possibly as many as 12,000), making it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Other devastating Texan hurricanes include the 1915 Galveston Hurricane, Hurricane Carla in 1961, Hurricane Beulah in 1967, Hurricane Alicia in 1983, Hurricane Rita in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008. [18]

The climatology of where tropical cyclone strikes are most likely within the state appears to be changing. In the early 1980s, the most favored region during the previous century was the middle coast. [3] However, that region of the coastline has been rarely impacted since the 1960s, and a recent study indicates that the most vulnerable location to a tropical cyclone strike since 1851 is the upper coast, which has received 56 percent of all tropical cyclone landfalls, of which 66 percent originate from the Gulf of Mexico. This is in contrast with Louisiana and the lower Texan coast, where only 39 percent of the landfalls are from tropical cyclones of Gulf of Mexico origin. [19]


Annual average precipitation across Texas Texas Precipitation Map.svg
Annual average precipitation across Texas

The most serious threat from tropical cyclones for Texans is from flooding. The worst aspect about tropical cyclones is that the weaker they are, the more efficient they can be at producing heavy rains and catastrophic flooding. Systems with sprawling circulations, such as Hurricane Beulah, also tend to make good rainmakers. [20] Slow moving systems, such as Tropical Storm Amelia (1978) and Hurricane Harvey (2017) can produce significant rainfall. [21] Tropical cyclones from the eastern Pacific and Atlantic Basins can impact the Lone Star State. [22] In general, flooding across Texas is more common during the spring and early autumn months, and it can also be due to nearby stationary fronts interacting with strong upper level cyclones. [23] The most likely location for floods statewide is the Balcones Escarpment, an area of steep elevation gradient in central Texas at the boundary between the Edwards Plateau and the coastal plain. [24]

Extreme temperatures

The highest temperature ever measured in Texas was 120 °F (48.9 °C), recorded on August 12, 1936 in Seymour, during the 1936 North American Heatwave, and again on June 28, 1994 in Monahans. The lowest temperature ever measured in Texas was −23 °F (−30.6 °C), recorded on February 8, 1933 in Seminole. [25]

Climate data for Texas
Record high °F (°C)98
Record low °F (°C)−22
Source: [26] [27]

El Niño–Southern Oscillation

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle is a huge impact on the weather in Texas. During the El Niño phase, the jet stream is located west-to-east across the southern portion of the United States. Therefore, winters in Texas are colder and receive more snowfall than normal. Texas is also less likely to get impacted by hurricanes due to the increased wind shear across the Atlantic. Spring to early summer yields increased rainfall especially where a low pressure system is located over the Four Corners region or northern Mexico which yields monsoon-like climate (which was exacerbated during the 2015 and 2016 spring season where the City of Houston was the hardest hit as if the climate was similar to Mumbai or Kolkata, India with heavy rainfall usually from moisture from the Gulf of Mexico). During the opposite phase, La Niña, the jet stream is much further north, therefore winter is milder and drier than normal. Hurricanes are more likely to impact Texas during La Niña due to decreased wind shear in the Atlantic. Droughts in Texas are much more likely during La Niña. The 2010-11 La Niña is mostly to blame for one of the worst droughts in Texas history.

Climate change

Texas emits the most greenhouse gases in the US. [28] [29] The state's annual carbon dioxide emissions are nearly 1.5 trillion pounds (680 billion kg). Texas would be the world's seventh-largest producer of greenhouse gases if it were an independent nation. [29] [30] [31] The primary factors in Texas' greenhouse gas emissions are the state's large number of coal power plants and the state's refining and manufacturing industries which provides the bulk of the United States' petroleum products. [29]


  1. Official records for El Paso kept January 1879 to June 1947 at downtown and at El Paso Int'l since July 1947. For more information, see Threadex

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Climate of Georgia (U.S. state)

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The climate of New York state is generally humid continental, while the extreme southeastern portion of the state lies in the warm humid subtropical climate zone. Winter temperatures average below freezing during January and February in much of New York state, but several degrees above freezing along the Atlantic coastline, including New York City.

Climate of Mexico

The climate of Mexico is highly varied. The Tropic of Cancer effectively divides the country into temperate and tropical zones. Land north of the twenty-fourth parallel experiences lower temperatures during the winter months. South of the twenty-fourth parallel, temperatures are fairly constant year round and vary solely as a function of elevation. The north of the country generally receives less precipitation than the south.

Climate of the Tampa Bay area

The Tampa Bay area has a humid subtropical climate. There are two basic seasons in the Tampa Bay area, a hot and wet season from May through October, and a mild and dry season from November through April.

Climate of Alabama

The state of Alabama is classified as humid subtropical (Cfa) under the Köppen climate classification. The state's average annual temperature is 64 °F (18 °C). Temperatures tend to be warmer in the state's southern portion with its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, while its northern portions, especially in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast, tend to be slightly cooler. Alabama generally has very hot summers and mild winters with copious precipitation throughout the year. The state receives an average of 56 inches (1,400 mm) of rainfall each year and experiences a lengthy growing season of up to 300 days in its southern portion. Hailstorms occur occasionally during the spring and summer here, but they are seldom destructive. Heavy fogs are rare, and they are confined chiefly to the coast. Thunderstorms also occur year-around. They are most common in the summer, but they are most commonly severe during the spring and late autumn. That is when destructive winds and tornadoes occur frequently, especially in the northern and central parts of the state. Central and northern Alabama are squarely within Dixie Alley, the primary area in the U.S. outside the Southern Plains with relatively high tornado risk. Alabama is ranked second in the U.S for the deadliest tornadoes. Hurricanes are quite common in the state, especially in the southern part. Major hurricanes occasionally strike the coast, such as Hurricane Frederic in September 1979 and Hurricane Ivan in September 2004; both storms resulted in significant to devastating damage in the Mobile area.

Global storm activity of 2006 profiles the major worldwide storms, including blizzards, ice storms, and other winter events, from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006. Winter storms are events in which the dominant varieties of precipitation are forms that only occur at cold temperatures, such as snow or sleet, or a rainstorm where ground temperatures are cold enough to allow ice to form. It may be marked by strong wind, thunder and lightning, heavy precipitation, such as ice, or wind transporting some substance through the atmosphere. Other major non winter events such as large dust storms, Hurricanes, cyclones, tornados, gales, flooding and rainstorms are also caused by such phenomena to a lesser or greater existent.


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