Does it snow in Houston, Texas?

Texas is known for many things, one of them being its desert and hot weather. But that doesn’t mean every part of it is hot. If you’re planning to visit the Lonestar state, one of the places you’ll stop in is Houston. So, does it snow in Houston?

It snows in Houston, but this is very rare. When it does, the snowfall usually won’t accumulate. The city has a humid subtropical climate which means it’s mostly sunshine and heavy rains throughout the year. This is why its major weather hazards are flooding, tropical cyclones, and thunderstorms.

If you’re planning to visit the city, anytime between March and October would be great. But you’ll need to consider the summer heat, which can be unbearable for some people. Here, we discuss whether it snows in Houston and weather hazards in the city.

Houston Climate

Houston is one of the major cities in Texas. It’s the eighth largest by size in the US and one of the most populous, with 2.3 million people. As many fondly call it, Space City has a humid subtropical climate. This means its winters are usually mild, temperate, and dry. Cold fronts from southward usually mean heavy rain and chilly winds during this period. But snow is very rare here, with less than one inch of snow recorded annually.

The warmest month is August when the temperature can reach as high as 94.5°F (34.7°C). January is its coldest month, and during this period, the temperature is usually a low 42.2°F (5.7°C). Winter in Houston is between December and February. Within this period, it’s common to have rain, cloudy skies, and wind. But the temperature is usually mild and pleasant during the day. At night, it can go below freezing.

In terms of temperature, it’s safe to say the city has four distinct seasons: winter, spring, summer, and Fall. But there’s only a dry and rainy season when it comes to weather. The rainy season usually starts in April or May and continues until September or October. Then the dry season starts in November and lasts till March or April.

Precipitation in Houston

Rainfall is common in this city, and you can expect it in high volume throughout the year. The wettest month is usually June, when there’s an average of 5.93 inches of rain. Houston has an irregular monsoon season like most south and southeast Texas areas. But it still rains for an average of 104 days every year. Annual precipitation in the city is 49.77 inches (1,264 mm). So, the city gets sufficient rainfall annually. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t dry spells.

It’s also possible to have freezing rain and sleet in the city. But snow rarely happens here. Droughts are also very rare, although they have happened before. The only time the city received below 20 inches was in 1917, when it got 17.66 inches.

Weather Hazards in Houston

There are several weather hazards that residents and anyone visiting Houston should be concerned about. They include:

1.  Flooding

The most common weather hazard in Houston is flooding. This is most likely during the monsoon season between May and October. The city has a flat landscape, making heavy rains a major threat to life and property.

2.  Thunderstorms

Supercell thunderstorms also sometimes happen here, and they can bring tornadoes, especially in the spring. Fortunately, the city isn’t in the tornado alley. So it’s rare for a major tornado to happen here. Most of the tornadoes you’ll experience in Houston are weak EF1 tornadoes which will only cause slight or moderate damage to well-constructed properties. But the city once experienced an F4 tornado in 1992. This was the most severe tornado it had ever seen.

3.  Tropical Cyclones

During the Atlantic hurricane season, the city also experiences tropical cyclones between June and November. This usually causes significant damage to the city. The last major hurricane to hit the city was Hurricane Nicholas in 2021. The high rate of hurricanes here is because the city is on the Gulf of Mexico. It has witnessed seven major hurricanes in the last 100 years, which usually cause extensive damage to the city.

Snow in Houston

Bayou City isn’t known for its snowfall. Snow is very rare here. Every year, the city experiences a few days with freezing temperatures below 32 °F (0 °C). The average low in January temperature is 24 °F (−4 °C). Even when it snows, it usually melts immediately, and you may see the signs with the light flaky accumulation on the roofs.

But there have been few incidents when snowfall was significant in Houston. These include:

  • Valentine’s day of 1895 when the city received 20 inches of snow between February 13 and 14. The snowstorm was massive, and it wasn’t limited to Houston. It also snowed from Tampico, Mexico, to Pensacola, Florida.
  • In 1929, the city saw a significant amount of snow for the first time in 30 years when it received 2.5 inches of snow.
  • The 1940s also saw high snowfall, with 3 inches in January 1940 and 2.6 inches in January 1949
  • The third highest snowfall in the city was on February 12, 1960, when it received 4.4 inches of snowfall. 
  • In 1973, it snowed 3 times in the city, with an average of between 2 inches and 1.4 inches.
  • The most recent major snow event was in December 2017 after hurricane Harvey. It was the first major snowfall here in 8 years.
  • The earliest snowfall in the city was on November 13, 2018, and there was also snowfall on February 15, 2021.

Beyond these rare occurrences, significant snowfall is quite rare. It has only snowed about 95 times in the city since 1881. The average snowfall here is about 0.04 inches. 

When You Should Visit Houston

Houston is an amazing city with incredible sights worth seeing. It has several exploration centers and multiple parks. Places you can visit here include memorial park, space center, Houston Museum of natural science, etc. But if you’re planning to visit the city, the best time to come to the city is between spring and autumn. This anytime from mid-March to mid-October of November. You may want to avoid the summer heat here.

In Conclusion

Houston is a great city to live in and a fine place to visit. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about whether it’ll snow when you’re visiting because it rarely does, But you may still need to consider other weather conditions and prepare accordingly.