The Austin Climate: How Stable is Austin?

By: David Bouthot

"If you are buying property in Austin, you may wonder what sort of climate you're getting yourself into. This is especially true if you are moving to the area from another part of the country. The traditional view of Texas is that it is a very hot place to live. While Austin can certainly have hot, dry summers, on average summers tend to be quite pleasant and not overbearing.

A popular saying in Texas is that if you don't like the weather here, simply wait a minute. This is certainly true of Austin, where the weather can fluctuate from moment to moment. However, overall, over the past 20 years, the weather has been relatively stable. Austin is a bit away from the Gulf, so it is somewhat sheltered from tropical systems that affect areas closer to the shore. In many cases, Austin gets the tail end of tropical systems, which translate mainly into wind and rain that do not tend to damage property as much. Austin is also technically below the tornado alley -- just below the southern end. Any severe weather that occurs in the city tends to be flash flooding, wind, and hail. While the occasional tornado does pass through, it has been many decades since it has caused major damage.

Winters tend to be very mild here, although the occasional ice storm does occur.

It certainly keeps things interesting, and thanks to the occasional ice presence, the city of Austin is usually well prepared for dealing with the ice on the streets.

Summers here are generally very long, and tend to stay quite warm. The beginning of summer is marked by humid and warm weather. 90% humidity and 75? can occur early in the morning, although the humidity generally drops throughout the day. There are occasional days where the temperature rises over 100?, but this tends to be the exception rather than the rule. One nice trait of Austin climate is that when the days are very hot -- one of those rare days when the temperature does go to 100? -- the humidity also tends to balance out to 20% or 30%, which helps make the heat easier to bear.

Flash floods in the area occur because of the fact that there's very little topsoil -- most of the region consists of the beautiful limestone hills that Texas Hill country is known for. As a result, when a number of inches of rain falls in a short period of time, the only place for the water to go is downhill. The porous limestone only can absorb a little bit of the rain, and there is simply not enough soil absorb the rest. This means that when there is a heavy rain, you should try to stay off the roads and listen to your local media for updates. Caution signs will help you if you do absolutely need to be on the road. Even when the water does not seem to be that bad, keep in mind that there are very few places for the water to go, so if you're not from the area and are not familiar with local conditions, you may not be able to appreciate flash flood risks. Therefore, it is important for you to listen to the local radio or local media to find out about potential risks before you head on the road.

On the other hand, despite the occasional flash floods, Austin is far more stable than Hawaii, Alaska, and much of the West Coast, which are risk for volcanic and seismic activity. Although Austin is located near the Balcones Fault, there is little risk of earthquakes, and an earthquake has not occurred in many, many years. As long as you're willing to deal with a little bit of rain, beautiful summers, and mild winters, Austin real estate is sure to please you."

America Properties
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