Does It Snow In Houston, Texas? Examining The City’S Rare Winter Weather

With its warm, humid climate and palm tree-lined streets, snow is not the first thing that comes to mind when picturing Houston. But arctic cold fronts do occasionally sweep deep enough into Texas to bring frozen precipitation as far south as the Bayou City. For those planning winter escapes or moves, knowing what to expect weather-wise is key.

In short: Snow does fall in Houston on very rare occasions, but significant accumulation is almost unheard of within the city. Most winters see no snow at all.

Houston’s Typical Winter Climate

When it comes to winter weather, Houston, Texas, is not typically associated with snow-covered landscapes and icy conditions. The city’s location in the southern part of the United States means that it experiences a mild climate for most of the year.

However, that doesn’t mean that Houston is completely devoid of winter weather. Let’s take a closer look at Houston’s typical winter climate.

Seasonal temperature averages

During the winter months, Houston experiences relatively mild temperatures compared to other parts of the country. The average high temperature in December, for example, is around 63°F (17°C), while the average low temperature is around 45°F (7°C).

January and February tend to be slightly cooler, with average high temperatures of 60°F (15°C) and average low temperatures of 41°F (5°C).

Precipitation patterns

While Houston may not see much snow during the winter, it does experience a fair amount of rainfall. The city receives an average of 3.3 inches (8.4 cm) of precipitation in December, 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) in January, and 2.8 inches (7.1 cm) in February.

This rainfall can contribute to cooler temperatures and occasionally create a damp and chilly atmosphere.

The role of cold fronts

Houston’s winter weather is often influenced by the arrival of cold fronts from the north. These cold fronts can bring a drop in temperatures and occasionally result in freezing rain or sleet. While snowfall is rare in Houston, it has been recorded on a few occasions throughout history.

The last significant snowfall occurred in December 2009 when Houston received a few inches of snow, creating a winter wonderland for the city’s residents.

It’s important to note that while Houston may not experience heavy snowfall like other parts of the country, it’s always a good idea to stay informed about weather conditions during the winter months. The National Weather Service provides up-to-date forecasts and alerts for Houston and the surrounding areas, ensuring that residents are prepared for any potential winter weather events. You can find more information on their website:

So, while snow may not be a common occurrence in Houston, the city’s winter climate still offers a welcome break from the scorching summer heat. Whether it’s a mild winter day or the occasional snowfall, Houstonians can look forward to experiencing a taste of winter in their own unique way.

Houston’s Snowfall History

When it comes to snowfall, Houston, Texas is not exactly known for winter wonderlands. The city’s location in the southeastern part of the state means it experiences a subtropical climate, with mild winters and hot, humid summers. However, that doesn’t mean Houston never sees snow.

Let’s take a closer look at the city’s snowfall history.

Frequency of measurable snows

Snowfall in Houston is a rare occurrence, with measurable snowfall happening only a few times in the city’s history. On average, Houston sees snow about once every 5-10 years. This means that many Houstonians go their entire lives without ever experiencing a snowy day.

However, when it does snow, it is a cause for excitement and joy for both children and adults alike.

According to the National Weather Service, the most recent significant snowfall in Houston occurred on December 8, 2017. The city received about 1 inch of snow, causing widespread excitement and leading to many impromptu snowball fights and snowman building competitions.

Notable snow events

While Houston doesn’t get frequent snowfall, there have been a few notable snow events in its history. One of the most memorable snowstorms occurred in February 1895 when the city saw a whopping 20 inches of snow. This remains the largest snowfall on record for Houston.

In addition to the 1895 snowstorm, Houston experienced another significant snow event on December 23, 2009. The city was blanketed in a rare white Christmas, with up to 5 inches of snowfall reported in some areas.

Snow flurries versus accumulation

It is important to note that while Houston may occasionally see snow flurries, it is rare for the city to experience significant snow accumulation. Most of the time, any snow that falls in Houston quickly melts upon contact with the ground.

This is due to the city’s generally warm temperatures, even during the winter months.

However, even a brief snow flurry can bring a sense of excitement and wonder to Houstonians. The sight of snowflakes gently falling from the sky is enough to make residents pause and appreciate the beauty of nature’s winter gift.

So, while snow may not be a regular occurrence in Houston, the city’s occasional encounters with wintry weather are cherished and celebrated by its residents. The rarity of snowfall only adds to the magic and anticipation when the forecast predicts a chance of snow in this typically warm and sunny city.

Geographic Variations in Snow

While Houston, Texas is not known for its snowy winters, there are some geographic factors that can influence the city’s rare encounters with snowfall. It is important to understand these variations to better grasp the likelihood of snow in this southern city.

Microclimates of the metro area

One of the reasons for the sporadic snowfall in Houston is the presence of microclimates within the metro area. Microclimates refer to small areas with unique weather patterns that differ from the surrounding region.

These variations can be caused by factors such as proximity to bodies of water, urban heat islands, and wind patterns. It is not uncommon for certain neighborhoods in Houston to experience snow while others remain snow-free.

According to the National Weather Service, the northern parts of Houston tend to have a slightly higher chance of seeing snow than the southern areas. This is due to the city’s proximity to the coast and the influence of the Gulf of Mexico.

Additionally, areas near lakes or rivers may experience more precipitation, including snow, compared to inland regions.

Elevation impacts on snow potential

Another factor that affects the likelihood of snow in Houston is elevation. Generally, higher elevations have a better chance of seeing snowfall than lower-lying areas. However, Houston is relatively flat, with an average elevation of around 50 feet above sea level.

While this may not seem significant, even slight changes in elevation can have an impact on snow potential.

Areas in and around Houston that have slightly higher elevation, such as suburbs like The Woodlands and Kingwood, tend to see more snow compared to downtown Houston. This is because cooler temperatures at higher altitudes allow for snow to form and accumulate.

Comparison to northern Texas

When comparing Houston’s snowfall to northern parts of Texas, the differences become more apparent. Cities like Dallas and Fort Worth, which are located further north, experience more frequent and heavier snowfall due to their proximity to colder air masses from the north and northwest.

These cities have a continental climate, which is characterized by colder winters and more regular snow events.

In fact, according to historical data, Houston receives an average of only 1.3 inches of snow per year, while Dallas receives an average of 2.5 inches. The difference may seem minimal, but it highlights the contrast between the two regions in terms of winter weather.

The Impacts of Snowfalls on Houston

Snow’s effects on infrastructure

When snowfall occurs in Houston, it can have a significant impact on the city’s infrastructure. The city is not accustomed to dealing with freezing temperatures and snow, which means that roads and highways are not properly equipped to handle these conditions.

As a result, traffic accidents and delays can occur, making it difficult for residents to commute to work or school. Additionally, snow can cause power outages as ice accumulates on power lines and tree branches, leading to downed wires and potential damage to electrical infrastructure.

According to the National Weather Service, Houston experiences an average of 1.2 inches of snowfall per year. While this may seem minimal compared to other regions, it is enough to disrupt daily life in a city that is not prepared for winter weather.

Road crews and emergency services may struggle to keep up with the demand, leading to longer response times and delays in clearing roads and sidewalks.

Economic costs of winter weather

The economic costs of winter weather in Houston can be substantial. Businesses may experience a decline in sales as customers stay home due to hazardous road conditions or event cancellations. The tourism industry may also suffer as visitors are deterred from traveling to the city during snowfall events.

Additionally, the cost of repairing any damage caused by snow, such as burst pipes or roof collapses, can add up quickly for both homeowners and businesses.

In a study conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, it was estimated that winter weather events, including snow and ice, cost the state of Texas an average of $3.5 billion annually. This includes costs associated with transportation delays, damage to infrastructure, and lost productivity.

Snow days and event cancellations

Snowfall in Houston often leads to school closures and event cancellations. Schools prioritize the safety of their students and staff, and therefore may choose to close when snow and ice are present on roads and sidewalks.

This can disrupt the academic calendar and require adjustments to be made to make up for lost instructional time.

Similarly, outdoor events and festivals may be canceled or rescheduled due to inclement weather. This can result in disappointment for both organizers and attendees, as well as financial losses for event planners.

It is important for Houstonians to stay informed during winter weather events. The National Weather Service provides regular updates and forecasts, which can help residents prepare for snowfall and make informed decisions about travel and outdoor activities.

Future Outlook for Snow in Houston

As Houston, Texas is known for its warm and humid climate, snowfall is a rare occurrence in this city. However, with the changing climate patterns, there is a possibility of snow becoming more frequent in the future.

Projected climate change impacts

According to climate scientists, the overall trend of global warming caused by human activities is likely to continue. This could lead to significant changes in weather patterns, including the possibility of more snowfall in regions where it is uncommon.

Houston may experience a shift in its climate, making snowfall a more regular event.

Although it is difficult to predict the exact frequency and intensity of snowfall in Houston, it is important to note that climate change can lead to more extreme weather events. This means that while snowfall might become more frequent, it could also result in heavier snowstorms and extreme cold snaps.

Climate change impacts are influenced by various factors, including greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and natural climate variability. It is crucial for us to take action to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate the effects of climate change to ensure a sustainable future.

Increased winter weather variability

Even without considering climate change, Houston has always experienced variable winter weather conditions. The city’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and its unique geographical location make it susceptible to sudden weather changes.

In some years, Houston may experience mild winters with little to no snowfall. However, there have been instances where the city has been surprised by rare snow events. One such memorable event occurred in December 2009 when Houston witnessed a significant snowfall, causing excitement and delight among its residents.

It is important to note that while these rare snow events may bring joy to Houstonians, they can also lead to disruptions in daily life, including transportation issues and power outages. Therefore, it is crucial for the city to be prepared for such weather events, even if they are infrequent.

While the future outlook for snow in Houston remains uncertain, it is clear that climate change and winter weather variability play significant roles in the city’s rare winter weather. To stay informed about the current and future weather conditions, it is advisable to consult reliable sources such as the National Weather Service or local meteorological websites.


Though exceptionally rare within the city limits, the Houston area can still experience ice and snow when arctic air plunges deep into Texas. But the cold snaps usually pass quickly, and snow lovers may need to look northward for any guarantee of winter wonderlands.

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