Both Dallas and Houston share the same warm, humid subtropical climate. But because of their geographic location, their climates still differ, and quite a lot. Which Texas city has hotter weather conditions? Is Dallas hotter than Houston or is it the other way around?
In this article I’ll compare these two major cities of the Lone Star State using available climate data from the NOAA.
The Average Temperature in Dallas vs Houston
According to my ranking of the warmest cities in Texas, Houston is the ninth warmest city in Texas year round. It has an annual temperature of 70.5 °F.
In comparison, Dallas ranks 19th in the state with an average annual temperature of 68 °F. Dallas ranks behind Austin and San Antonio but is warmer than Forth Worth which has an average annual temperature of 65.85 °F.
Is Dallas Hotter Than Houston in the Summer?
Both Dallas and Houston have very hot summers that would be extremely hard to tolerate without air conditioning (but for that matter, every city in Texas, including San Antonio, Fort Worth, Austin, El Paso, Lubbock, or even Amarillo, the coldest city in Texas, is very hot in the hottest months).
Let’s first look at temperatures recorded in Dallas and Houston in the summer. Then we’ll consider humidity in the next step to calculate “feels like” temperature that will help us find out which city is hotter.
The temperatures recorded between June and August in Dallas are as follows:
- 93-97 °F during the day (average high temperature).
- 74-78 °F at night (average low temperature).
- 99-104 °F on the hottest days (mean maximum).
- 64-71 °F on the coldest nights (mean minimum).
The temperatures recorded between June and August in Houston are as follows:
- 92-95 °F during the day. Houston thus has slightly cooler temperatures but barely noticeable.
- 74-76 °F at night. Again, Houston has slightly lower temperatures.
- 98-101 °F on the hottest days. Temperature-wise alone, Houston doesn’t get as hot as Dallas.
- 67-71 °F on the coldest nights. On the coldest nights in the summer months Houston is hotter than Dallas.
But when we’re comparing Dallas to Houston, we can’t just look at temperatures. We also need to look at average relative humidity which influences how hot a given place feels.
Is Dallas or Houston More Humid in the Summer?
Houston and Dallas both have humid climates but it doesn’t mean they have the same humidity. Despite a relatively short distance between them, their humidity levels differ a lot.
Due to its location near the Gulf Coast, Houston is much more humid than the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. Average relative humidity in Houston is around 75% in the summer while in Dallas it’s about 60-66%.
That makes a big difference in how hot the cities feel. With higher humidity, the body’s ability to cool off through sweating is compromised. This is why El Paso with its dry heat and abundant sunshine feels cooler despite the same high temperatures.
Calculating the Heat Index of Dallas and Houston
Let’s now take another step and calculate the heat index for both cities. Using the Heat Index calculator, we get the following average “feels like” temperatures for Dallas and Houston in the summer months:
- June: Dallas has an average heat index of 111 °F. Houston has a heat index of 117 °F. Houston feels 6 degrees hotter in June.
- July: Dallas has an average heat index of 119 °F. Houston has a heat index of 125 °F. Houston feels 6 degrees hotter in July.
- August: Dallas has an average heat index of 120 °F. Houston has a heat index of 128 °F. Houston feels 8 degrees hotter in August.
We may also take a look at the hottest days in Dallas and Houston and compare which city then feels hotter:
- June: Dallas has a maximum heat index of 133 °F. Houston has a heat index of 139 °F. Houston feels 6 degrees hotter on the hottest June days.
- July: Dallas has a maximum heat index of 143 °F. Houston has a heat index of 145 °F. Houston feels 2 degrees hotter on the hottest July days. With such a slight difference, the hottest July days in these two cities feel almost the same.
- August: Dallas has a maximum heat index of 146 °F. Houston has a heat index of 156 °F. Houston feels 10 degrees hotter on the hottest August days. Heat waves in August are thus much worse in Houston.
The good news for those who prefer Dallas is that Houston is almost always hotter than Dallas.
But that doesn’t make Dallas have a mild climate like San Francisco, as evidenced by the extremely high heat index. Far from it.
Both cities have summer temperatures far above the national average. Even if one is cooler than the other, both are still impossible to live in without air conditioning. It’s also not recommended to go out at midday, particularly on the hottest days.
Despite Dallas having cooler weather, it’s sunnier than Houston, with sun shining about 69-76% of the time in the summer months compared to 66-68% in Houston. This means that Houston has clouds more often which may help cool off a little. But on the sunny days, Houston will almost always feel hotter.
Is Dallas Hotter Than Houston in the Winter?
Dallas is a more diverse city climate-wise (same goes for the entire North Texas region). While Houston is warm to hot year round, Dallas has some aspects of a four-season climate due to relatively cold weather at night in the winter.
The temperatures recorded between December and January in Dallas reach on average 58-62 °F during the day and just 38-42 °F at night. In comparison, Houston records average highs of 64-68 °F (6 °F warmer) and average lows of 44-48 °F (also 6 °F warmer).
On the hottest winter days Dallas is only slightly cooler than Houston. Mean maximums in Dallas reach 77-81 °F while in Houston they reach 79-81 °F.
The coldest nights are colder in Dallas than in Houston, though. Mean minimums in Dallas reach 23-27 °F while in Houston they drop to 28-32 °F.
Is Dallas or Houston More Humid in the Winter?
Houston is more humid year round and winter is no exception. Average relative humidity in the winter is still around 75%.
But Dallas gets more humid in the winter than in the summer, with humidity around 66-68%.
With lower temperatures and only slightly lower humidity, Dallas is colder in the winter than Houston.
Houston benefits from the proximity of the Gulf Coast which moderates its temperatures.
The closer to the coast you are in Houston metro area, the warmer the nights. In Galveston, average low temperatures are 49-52 °F so about 5 °F warmer than in Houston.
A Note on Climate Data
Climate data for Dallas comes from Dallas Love Field airport located about 7 miles from downtown Dallas. Climate data for Houston comes from George Bush Intercontinental airport located about 20 miles from downtown Houston.
As large urban areas, both Houston and Dallas experience an urban island heat effect that may result in even higher temperatures in downtown areas.
Both downtown Dallas and downtown Houston have a dense concentration of buildings which traps heat and makes them even hotter. The average temperatures recorded at the airports may be lower than in the center of each city.
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