Winter weather in Texas is mild, offering a welcome change for people moving from states with cold winters like Illinois or providing an alternative for those moving from warm weather states like California. But what are winters like in Texas more specifically? What type of weather can you expect in the major cities and the state’s warmest and coldest cities?
Let’s look at winters in seven cities of Texas: McAllen (for the warmest weather in the winter), Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, and Amarillo (for the coldest weather).
What Are Winters Like in McAllen, TX?
If you absolutely hate cold air and want to live in the Lone Star State, head to McAllen at the southern tip of the state. McAllen is the warmest city in Texas and it has by far the warmest winters, too. Brownsville follows McAllen with almost imperceptibly cooler weather.
McAllen doesn’t merely offer mild temperatures in the winter. It actually offers warm temperatures, even in the coldest month. Average temperatures range from 73 to 77 °F during the day. The average low temperatures are around 53-57 °F so you don’t even need proper winter clothes.
The hottest winter days in McAllen can reach summer-like temperatures of 87-92 °F.
The coldest nights can drop to 36-39 °F. So even on the most extreme winter days, McAllen is unlikely to experience frost.
Granted, the city did experience some severe winter storms in its history but they come every 10-15 years and so aren’t a typical experience for people living there.
Humidity in McAllen in the winter is about 69% which is similar to the humidity in the summer. Located in the semi-arid part of South Texas, it’s much less humid than neighboring Brownsville near the Gulf Coast.
Rain and Snow
McAllen records on average 5-6 days of rain per month between December and February. It rains very little: less than an inch of rainfall per month.
Sunshine hours data is missing from the NOAA weather station in McAllen so the best we can do is find a nearby place that does have sunshine hours. I was able to find data for Brownsville located about 60 miles away. Brownsville records between 131-151 sunshine hours a month. That translates to sun shining about 39-48% of the time in the winter months. Because McAllen has a drier climate, it’s likely sunnier a little more often.
What Are Winters Like in Houston, TX?
Houston has mild winters with occasional cold spells that may bring freezing temperatures. It’s noticeably cooler in the winter than McAllen but still offers warm winter weather.
With temperatures ranging from 64 to 68 °F during the day and 44-48 °F at night Houston enjoys mild temperatures in the winter months. On the hottest days the city may record average high temperatures of 79-81 °F while on the coldest nights temperatures may drop below freezing, reaching 28-32 °F.
Read how Houston compares to Dallas.
Houston is a humid city and winter is no exception. The average relative humidity is between 73-76% which is about the same as in every other season of the year in Houston.
Rain and Snow
Houston gets 8-9 rainy days per month between December and February. With about 4 inches of rainfall per month, it’s decidedly not a dry city in the winter.
Snow in Houston is very rare but may happen during winter storms every 5-10 years.
Houston records 143-155 sunshine hours per month in the winter. Sun shines 44-50% of the time.
What Are Winters Like in Austin, TX?
Austin is located in Central Texas in a transitional zone between the dry climates in the Southwest and humid climates in the Southeast. Because of that, it has characteristics of both.
Average high temperatures in Austin in the winter are between 63-67 °F and average low temperatures drop to 42-46 °F. On the warmest days between December and February, Austin may see temperatures climb to 80-84 °F while on the coldest nights they may drop to 27-30 °F.
Because of its transitional location, Austin has slightly lower humidity. In the winter, the average relative humidity is between 66-68%.
Rain and Snow
Austin records about 7-8 days of rain per month in the winter months. With about 2-3 inches of rainfall per month, it rains less than in Houston.
Snowfall in Austin is very rare. On average, the city gets 0.6 snowy days per year with 0.2 inches of snowfall.
Austin is sunnier than Houston. It receives 154-169 hours of sunshine per month between December and February. Sun shines 48-54% of the time.
What Are Winters Like in San Antonio, TX?
Austin and San Antonio are located close to each other and have a very similar climate. Consequently, below I’ll only mention the key differences between Austin and San Antonio.
San Antonio’s temperatures are about a degree Fahrenheit cooler than in Austin.
San Antonio is almost as humid as Austin, recording average humidity levels of 65-68%.
Rain and Snow
San Antonio gets about one fewer day of rain than Austin. Precipitation amounts are a little lower, too.
Climate data shows that snowy days in San Antonio are less frequent than in Austin because the city records 0.3 snowy days compared to 0.6 in Austin. Still, in both cities snow is extremely rare.
San Antonio gets sun 47-54% of the time which is almost the same as in Austin.
What Are Winters Like in Dallas, TX?
North Texas has elements of a humid subtropical climate and a continental one. This also affects Dallas. The city has fairly mild winters but not as mild as cities in the southern part of the state. While below I cover Dallas, you can find similar weather conditions in other neighboring cities in Northern Texas like Forth Worth and Plano. Wichita Falls can be up to 3 degrees cooler during the day and up to 8 degrees colder at night.
Average temperatures in Dallas reach 58-62 °F during the day and drop to 38-42 °F at night. While still a few degrees above freezing, Dallas sometimes deals with freezing rain, ice, and frost.
On the hottest winter days Dallas may record average high temperatures of 77-81 °F. The coldest nights can bring temperatures ranging from 23 to 27 °F.
Dallas has lower humidity year round than other major cities in Texas. In the winter, the city’s average relative humidity is higher than in the summer, though, and reaches 66-68%.
Rain and Snow
Dallas has 7 rainy days per month in the winter. With about 3 inches of rain per month, it’s more rainy than Austin and less rainy than Houston.
Dallas has on average 1.5 snowy days with 1.7 snowfall inches per year.
Dallas is noticeably sunnier than the previously covered cities. Between December and February sun shines 56-58% of the time while sunshine hours are between 173-184 per month. This means that it’s sunny more often than it’s cloudy. For more information, read my article on sunshine in Dallas.
What Are Winters Like in El Paso, TX?
El Paso is one of the sunniest and driest cities not only in Texas but in the entire United States. If you want to enjoy extremely sunny weather even in the winter, El Paso (or neighboring towns in West Texas) is your best option.
Due to its arid climate, El Paso has mild temperatures during the day but close to freezing at night. More specifically, El Paso records 58-64 °F during the day and 35-39 °F at night.
On the warmest winter days El Paso may enjoy temperatures of 71-77 °F. The coldest nights, though, can bring very cold air, with temperatures of just 19-23 °F.
El Paso is a perfect city for those who hate humidity. Between December and February the average relative humidity in the city is between 42-52%.
Rain and Snow
With El Paso’s extremely low average annual rainfall it’s easy to guess that winter weather isn’t particularly rainy, either. To be more precise, El Paso gets on average only 3-4 days of rain per month between December and February. With less than a half an inch of rainfall per month, winters are very close to rain-free.
El Paso has 2.1 snowy days with average snowfall inches reaching 2.8 per year. This means that some snow is possible on most years.
El Paso is a paradise for those who like sunny weather. Unlike cities in Central Texas or North Texas, it’s still extremely sunny even in the winter. You can expect sun shining 79-85% of the time. The city records 246-263 hours of sun per month in the winter months.
What Are Winters Like in Amarillo, TX?
Amarillo is the coldest major city in Texas. For those who want to live in Texas but don’t deal well with extremely humid, hot summers, Amarillo may be the best option. It has the coldest winters but also some of the coolest and driest summers in the state.
Amarillo’s average temperatures reach 52-56 °F during the day and drop below freezing to 24-28 °F at night. The warmest days can bring temperatures of up to 71-77 °F while the coldest nights can drop to 7-9 °F. Amarillo is thus much colder than the previous cities. While daytime temperatures can still be mild, evenings, nights, and mornings can feel very cold.
The city has an arid climate so its average relative humidity is lower than in other major cities in Texas. It’s between 58-59% in the winter months.
Rain and Snow
Amarillo features a cold semi-arid climate which means that the city’s average annual precipitation is low. Winters are much drier than summers, with 4-5 rainy days per month.
Out of the covered cities, Amarillo is the only city with guaranteed snow in the winter. It records on average 11.1 snowy days with 17.2 snowfall inches per year. Blizzards are a possibility.
Despite its cold weather, Amarillo enjoys a very sunny climate. Between December and February sun shines 66-71% of the time. Sunshine hours reach 202-222 hours per month.
Does It Snow in Texas?
Texas does experience snow but it’s relatively rare in South Texas and Central Texas and almost non-existent on the Gulf Coast with its even more moderate winters. If there’s more noticeable snowfall, it’s usually during severe winter storms that come about once in 5-10 years.
Among major cities, snow is guaranteed every year only in Amarillo and Lubbock. The former gets about 11 days of snow a year with 17.2 inches of snow while the latter gets about 6 days of snow with 7 inches of snow. Blizzards may be severe and cause tough conditions with impassable roads.
Because both of these cities have average low temperatures below freezing, snow may accumulate on the ground.
When Does It Get Cold in Texas?
Cities in the northern part of the state like Amarillo and Lubbock begin recording nighttime temperatures close to freezing in November. Even though daytime temperatures can still reach 60 °F, nights are already cold with temperatures around 33-35 °F.
In warmer cities of the state, including Dallas, December is the first month with average low temperatures entering the cold territory. They may drop to about 40-45 °F.
January is the coldest month in Texas. Barring the warmest cities in the southernmost part of the state, major cities may see average low temperatures reach only 40 °F or so.
Note that in Texas, cold weather is mostly limited to evenings, nights, and mornings. During the middle of the day temperatures climb to rather mild 60-65 °F.
If you want to visit Texas to see whether its winters are appealing to you, do visit in January to experience the coldest and least favorable conditions. If you find them tolerable, any other month will only have better weather.
How Cold Does It Get in Texas?
On average, in the coldest month, temperatures in major Texas cities still reach about 60-65 °F during the day and drop to about 40-45 °F at night. On the coldest nights temperatures can fall below freezing to low thirties or even twenties.
In the coldest largest cities of Texas like Amarillo and Lubbock average nighttime temperatures are below freezing the entire winter. And on the coldest nights, during severe winter storms, temperatures in Amarillo may even fall to single digits. Average daytime temperatures can still climb to over 50 °F, though.
The coldest city in Texas is Stratford in the northernmost part of Texas Panhandle. The average temperatures in the winter in this city of 2,000 people reach 48-52 °F. Meanwhile, at night temperatures drop to freezing cold 20-22 °F. These are average temperatures in Stratford. While data for the coldest nights is missing, it’s likely to be low single digits.
Is Texas Humid or Dry in the Winter?
Texas has several climate zones with different levels of humidity in the winter.
West Texas (in cities like El Paso, Amarillo, Lubbock, or Midland) remains relatively dry in the winter with humidity no higher than 50-60%.
San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin record average relative humidity levels of about 70% in the winter months.
Meanwhile, in cities on the Gulf Coast or near it like Houston, Brownsville, or Corpus Christi humidity may still be around 75-80%.
Does Texas Have Harsh Winters?
Apart from Amarillo and Lubbock which do have cold nights and may have harsh winter conditions with blizzards even causing impassable roads, Texas doesn’t have severe winters.
In cooler cities like Dallas, a few days of light snow with occasional temperatures well below freezing is the most you may experience on the coldest nights there.
While severe winter storms may come every 5-10 years to the warmest cities of Texas, on average hottest Texas cities don’t deal with much snow, freezing temperatures, or other unfavorable winter conditions.
And if you head to southernmost cities like McAllen, Brownsville or Corpus Christi, the winters will remind you more of early summer in a temperate climate than a cold season.
Does Texas Get a Lot of Sun in the Winter?
Apart from the arid cities in West Texas where you may experience sunshine 70-80% of the time even in the coldest months, Texas is moderately sunny in the winter.
The sunniest major city not located in West Texas is Dallas with sun shining about 56-58% of the time. Other cities record sunshine about 45-50% of the time between December and February.
It’s more than in cities like Chicago, Cleveland or Milwaukee but about the same as (or slightly lower than) in New York City, Philadelphia or St. Louis.
Is Texas a Good Place in the Winter?
Texas is a good place in the winter for those who are looking for mild temperatures and who don’t mind potential colder winter nights. For people who don’t like heat, the mild winters in Texas also provide a respite from the state’s hot summers.
Unless you head to Lower Rio Grande Valley or southernmost Gulf Coast where winters are almost non-existent, there’s a slight risk of snow and freezing temperatures, particularly north of Austin. But on average, winters in a regular meaning of this word (as in, Chicago or Philadelphia winters) don’t really exist in the major cities in Texas.
West Texas is an excellent choice if you want extremely sunny winters and don’t mind a big difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Clear skies are particularly prevalent in El Paso which also happens to be one of the driest and sunniest cities in the entire country.
Among the largest cities, Houston is the warmest in the winter. With the city’s size, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you’re unlikely to complain much about winters there.
What About the Summer?
I wrote an article on summer months in Texas. Here it is: How Hot Does Texas Get?
If you want to learn more about the climate of Texas, here are other articles on the website:
- What Are the Warmest Cities in Texas?
- What City Has the Best Weather in Texas?
- Is Florida Hotter Than Texas?
- What City in Texas Has Weather Like California?
- Does Texas Have 4 Seasons?
- What’s the Coolest Place in Texas?
- Sunniest Cities in Texas
- Is Texas Hotter Than California?
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