Southeast Texas is a sub-region of East Texas located in the southeast corner of the U. S. state of Texas. The sub-region is geographically centered on the Houston–Sugar Land–The Woodlands, Beaumont–Port Arthur metropolitan areas. Culturally, Southeast Texas is more akin to the Gulf Coast, Louisiana, or Mississippi, than it is to West Texas. Much of modern Southeast Texas culture has its roots in traditions. Southeast Texas is consistent with much of the rest of rural Texas in that it is a part of the Bible Belt, an area in which many inhabitants have Fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Many of the largest cities in East Texas outside Houston still follow a rural Southern way of life in dialect, mannerisms and cuisine. Though 35 percent of Texas' population is now Hispanic, African-Americans are still the most populous minority in Southeast Texas. During the Civil Rights Movement several communities clashed over racial integration issues. Southeast Texas includes part of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and most of the Texas portion of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The area is crossed by numerous rivers and streams, the largest three being the Sabine River, the Neches River, the Trinity River. In Southeast Texas and the rest of the South, small rivers and creeks collect into swamps called "bayous" and merge with the surrounding forest; the only large bodies of water in Southeast Texas are Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake, but the large reservoirs of East Texas are just to the North. The southeastern portion of Texas is geographically and culturally attached to Southwest Louisiana. Near the coast, the land is low and flat, marshy; the Piney Woods extend into the Northern parts of Southeast Texas, reaching as far south as the rice paddies and marshlands that lie between Houston and Beaumont. The highest point on the coast is at High Island, where a salt dome raises the elevation to around 40 feet. Away from the coast, the terrain begins to exhibit the rolling hills of Central Texas. Toward Central Texas, the mixed pine and hardwood forests give way to the East Central Texas forests of post oak and grasslands.
The Golden Triangle is an area of extreme Southeast Texas near the Louisiana border. The "triangle" is formed by Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange, which are the largest cities in the area. "Golden" refers to the wealth that came from the Spindletop oil strike near Beaumont in 1901. In an attempt to distance the area from the petrochemical industry, some area interests attempted to rename the Golden Triangle as the "Triplex." This name change did not catch on, local residents still refer to it as the Golden Triangle. Some residents of the Golden Triangle do not consider the Greater Houston area to be part of Southeast Texas and place the western boundary of the region at the Trinity River, 30 miles from downtown Houston; this area holds the annual South Texas State Fair in Beaumont. The Big Thicket is an area of dense forest located in the area just north and northwest of the city of Beaumont. There are many small towns including Woodville and Kountze; the Big Thicket National Preserve protects part of the old thicket, highlighting the area's biological resources.
The 97,000 acre preserve boasts a varied ecology of piney woods and coastal prairies. It includes diverse range of plant species including orchids, cactus and pine in close proximity to each other. 65,000 people visit this area each year. Two important routes cross the Big Thicket: to the north lies the old cattle route or Beef Trail, that ran from Tyler County to Louisiana. Galveston Bay is a large estuary located along Texas upper coast; the bay is fed by the Trinity River and the San Jacinto River, numerous local bayous, incoming tides from the Gulf of Mexico. The bay covers 600 square miles, is 30 miles long and 17 miles wide. Galveston Bay is on average 7–9 feet deep; the bay has three inlets to the Gulf of Mexico: Bolivar Roads between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula, San Luis Pass to the west, Rollover Pass to the east. The Houston Ship Channel, connecting the Port of Houston to the Gulf, passes through Galveston Bay. Houston is the largest city on the bay, while smaller ones include Galveston, Pasadena and Texas City.
The bay provides nursery and spawning grounds for large amounts of marine life and is important for both commercial and recreational fishing. Compared to the rest of the state, Southeast Texas' climate is warmer in winter and cooler in summer. On average, the region receives more rain than other parts of the state; this can increase the humidity level in the region. The mild and wet climate is due to the influence of the Gulf of Mexico. Average annual rainfall in the Golden Triangle is 60 inches. Rainfall totals in other parts of Southeast Texas are lower, but still in excess of 40 inches per year. During Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979, the city of Alvin recorded an official 24-hour rainfall total of 42 inches — the highest one-day rainfall total measured in the United States. Nederland received 66 inches during Harvey. Houston has been called the Lightning Capital of Texas, as its density of lightning strikes is higher than it is in other parts of the state; this area of unusually high lightning activity stretches from Houston eastward into Southwest Louisiana.
Much of this can be explained by the natural occurrence of thunderstorms in the region, which form al
Architecture of Texas
The architecture of the U. S. state of Texas comes from a wide variety of sources. Many of the state's buildings reflect Texas' Mexican roots. Rapid economic growth since the mid twentieth century has led to a wide variety of contemporary architectural buildings; the first European buildings in Texas were a series of religious Spanish Missions established by Catholic Dominicans and Franciscans to spread the Christian doctrine among the local Native Americans, to give Spain a toehold in the frontier land. The missions introduced European livestock, fruits and industry into the Texas region. In addition to the presidio and pueblo, the misión was one of the three major agencies employed by the Spanish crown to extend its borders and consolidate its colonial territories. In all, twenty-six missions were maintained for different lengths of time within the future boundaries of the state; the San Antonio de Valero Mission known for the Battle of the Alamo is a prime example of this kind of architecture.
Each Texas county has a distinct courthouse. These buildings reflect many different styles of architecture; the Texas State Capitol, located in Austin, Texas, is the fourth building to serve as the seat of Texas government. It houses the office of the Governor of Texas. Designed by Elijah E. Myers, it was constructed from 1882–88 under the direction of civil engineer Lindsay Walker, a $75 million underground extension was completed in 1993; the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. It is the largest State Capitol building, but smaller than the National Capitol in Washington, D. C. In addition to Texas's traditional architecture the state has noteworthy contemporary buildings. Many world class architects and Pritzker Prize winners have left their enriching marks on Texan cities and landscapes. Frank Lloyd Wright had four buildings in Texas, while Tadao Ando's Modern Art Museum and Louis Kahn's famous Kimbell Art Museum are permanent landmarks of the city of Fort Worth.
Other super architects such as I. M. Pei and Philip Johnson have numerous works across the state. Among their famous works one can mention the Fort Worth Water Gardens, Amon Carter Museum, Chapel of St. Basil, Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Thanks-Giving Square. In Austin, Gordon Bunshaft's Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is noteworthy, while Steven Holl, Robert A. M. Stern, Richard Meier, César Pelli are other architect legends who designed buildings that grace the Dallas and Houston areas. Sir Norman Foster's Dallas Center for the Performing Arts is the latest addition to such architectural landmarks in Texas; some facilities harbor the marks of multiple architects. Houston's Museum of Fine Arts for example, was designed by Pritzker Prize winner Rafael Moneo, landscape architect extraordinaire Isamu Noguchi, the pioneering master of Modern Architecture Mies van der Rohe. Texas is home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the United States; the Houston skyline has been ranked fourth-most impressive in the United States when ranked by breadth and height, being the country's third-tallest skyline and one of the top 10 in the world.
Houston has a system of skywalks linking buildings in downtown. The tunnel system includes shops and convenience stores. Images shown below are the eight tallest buildings in Texas. Architecture of Houston Architecture of San Antonio
Geography of Texas
The geography of Texas is diverse and large. Occupying about 7% of the total water and land area of the U. S. it is the second largest state after Alaska, is the southernmost part of the Great Plains, which end in the south against the folded Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico. Texas is in the south-central part of the United States of America, is considered to form part of the U. S. South and part of the U. S. Southwest. By residents, the state is divided into North Texas, East Texas, Central Texas, South Texas, West Texas, but according to the Texas Almanac, Texas has four major physical regions: Gulf Coastal Plains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, Basin and Range Province; this has been cited as the difference between human geography and physical geography, although the fact that Texas was granted the prerogative to divide into as many as five U. S. states may be a historical motive for Texans defining their state as containing five regions. Some regions in Texas are more associated with the Southeast than the Southwest, while other regions share more similarities with the Southwest.
The upper Panhandle is considered by many to have more in common with parts of the plains Midwest than either the South or Southwest. The size of Texas prohibits easy categorization of the entire state wholly in any recognized region of the United States, cultural diversity among regions of the state make it difficult to treat Texas as a region in its own right. Continental and Modified Marine are the three major climatic types of Texas, with no distinguishable boundaries. Modified Marine, or subtropical, dominates the majority of the state. Texas has an annual precipitation range from 60.57 inches in Jasper County, East Texas, to 9.43 inches in El Paso. The record high of 120 °F was reached at Seymour on August 12, 1936, Monahans on June 28, 1994; the low ties at −23 °F in Tulia on February 12, 1899, Seminole on February 8, 1933. Texas covers a total area of 268,581 square miles; the longest straight-line distance is from the northwest corner of the panhandle to the Rio Grande river just below Brownsville, 801 miles.
The width west-to-east, from El Paso to Orange, Texas, is 762 miles. The largest continental state is so expansive that El Paso, in the western corner of the state, is closer to San Diego, than to the Houston and Beaumont area, near the Louisiana state line. Texarkana, in the northeastern corner of the state, is about the same distance from Chicago, Illinois, as it is to El Paso, Dalhart, in the northwestern corner of the state, is closer to the state capitals of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming than it is to Austin, its own state capital; the geographic center of Texas is about 15 miles northeast of Brady in northern McCulloch County. Guadalupe Peak, at 8,749 feet above sea level, is the highest point in Texas, the lowest being sea level where Texas meets the Gulf of Mexico. Texas has five state forests and 120 state parks for a total over 605,000 acres. There are 15 major river systems flowing through 191,000 miles of Texas. Emptying into seven major estuaries, these rivers support over 212 reservoirs.
With 10 climatic regions, 14 soil regions, 11 distinct ecological regions, regional classification becomes problematic with differences in soils, geology and plant and animal communities. The Gulf Coastal Plains extends from the Gulf of Mexico inland to the Balcones Fault and the Eastern Cross Timbers; this large area, including the Texas barrier islands, stretches from the cities of Paris to San Antonio to Del Rio but shows a large variety in vegetation. With about 20 to over 58 inches annual rainfall, this is a nearly level, drained plain dissected by streams and rivers flowing into estuaries and marshes. Windblown sands and dunes, oak mottes and salt marshes make up the seaward areas. National Parks include Big Thicket National Preserve, Padre Island National Seashore and the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site; the North Central Plains are bounded by the Caprock Escarpment to the west, the Edwards Plateau to the south, the Eastern Cross Timbers to the east. This area includes the North Central Plains around the cities of Abilene and Wichita Falls, the Western Cross Timbers to the west of Fort Worth, the Grand Prairie, the Eastern Cross Timbers to the east of Dallas.
With about 35 to 50 inches annual rainfall rolling to hilly forested land is part of a larger pine-hardwood forest of oaks, hickories and gum trees. Soils vary from coarse sands to shet rock clays and shales; the Great Plains include the Llano Estacado, the Panhandle, Edwards Plateau, Toyah Basin, the Llano Uplift. It is bordered on the east by the Caprock Escarpment in the panhandle and by the Balcones Fault to the southeast. Cities in this region include Midland and Odessa and Amarillo; the Hill Country is a popular name for the area of hills along the Balcones Escarpment and is a transitional area between the Great Plains and the Gulf Coastal Plains. With about 15 to 31 inches annual rainfall, the southern end of the Great Plains are rolling plains of shrub and grassland, home to the dramatic Caprock Canyons and Palo Duro Canyon state parks; the largest concentration of playa lakes in the world is on the Southern High Plains of Texas and Eastern New Mexico. Texas' blackland
Law of Texas
The law of Texas is derived from the Constitution of Texas and consists of several levels, including constitutional and regulatory law, as well as case law and local laws and regulations. The Constitution of Texas is the foremost source of state law. Legislation is enacted by the Texas Legislature, published in the General and Special Laws, codified in the Texas Statutes. State agencies publish regulations in the Texas Register, which are in turn codified in the Texas Administrative Code; the Texas legal system is based on common law, interpreted by case law through the decisions of the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Courts of Appeals, which are published in the Texas Cases and South Western Reporter. Counties and municipal governments may promulgate local ordinances. There are several sources of persuasive authority, which are not binding authority but are useful to lawyers and judges insofar as they help to clarify the current state of the law; the Constitution of Texas is the foundation of the government of Texas and vests the legislative power of the state in the Texas Legislature.
The Texas Constitution is subject only to the sovereignty of the people of Texas as well as the Constitution of the United States, although this is disputed. Pursuant to the state constitution, the Texas Legislature has enacted various laws, known as "chapter laws" or generically as "slip laws"; these are published in the official General and Special Laws of the State of Texas as "session laws". Most of these statutes are codified; the Texas Constitution requires the Texas Legislature to revise and publish the laws of the state. In 1925 the Texas Legislature reorganized the statutes into three major divisions: the Revised Civil Statutes, Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure. In 1963, the Texas legislature began a major revision of the 1925 Texas statutory classification scheme, as of 1989 over half of the statutory law had been arranged under the recodification process; the de facto codifications are Vernon's Texas Statutes Annotated and Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated known as Vernon's. The unannotated constitution and statutes can be accessed online through a website of the Texas Legislative Council.
Gammel's Laws of Texas contains relevant legislation from 1822-1897. Pursuant to broadly worded statutes, state agencies have promulgated an enormous body of regulations; the Texas Administrative Code contains the compiled and indexed regulations of Texas state agencies and is published yearly by the Secretary of State. The Texas Register contains proposed rules, executive orders, other information of general use to the public and is published weekly by the Secretary of State. Both are available online through a website of the Secretary of State; the Texas legal system is based on common law, interpreted by case law through the decisions of the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Texas Courts of Appeals. There is no longer an published reporter. West's Texas Cases includes reported opinions of the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Courts of Appeals; the Texas Reports includes Supreme Court opinions until July 1962, the Texas Criminal Reports includes Court of Criminal Appeals opinions until November 1962.
There is no systematic reporting of decisions of trial courts. Court opinions can be accessed on the web from the various courts' websites, with appellate opinions being available from 1997–2002 onwards. Municipal governments may promulgate local ordinances and police regulations, are codified in a "code of ordinances". Counties in Texas have limited regulatory authority; some codes are printed by private publishers, some are available online, but the most common method of discovering local ordinances is by physically traveling to the seat of government and asking around. Alcohol laws of Texas Capital punishment in Texas Expungement in Texas Felony murder rule Gambling in Texas Gun laws in Texas Deregulation of the Texas electricity market LGBT rights in Texas Legal status of Texas Politics of Texas Law enforcement in Texas Crime in Texas Law of the United States Texas Constitution from the Texas Legislative Council Texas Statutes from the Texas Legislative Council Texas Administrative Code from the Texas Secretary of State General and Special Laws of Texas from the Texas Legislative Reference Library Legislative Archive System Gammel's The Laws of Texas from the University of North Texas Libraries Texas Register from the Texas Secretary of State Texas Register archives from the University of North Texas Libraries Harris County regulations from the Harris County Attorney Dallas County Code from Municode Local ordinance codes from Public.
History of Texas
The recorded history of Texas begins with the arrival of the first Spanish conquistadors in the region of North America now known as Texas in 1519, who found the region populated by numerous Native American tribes. The Native Americans' ancestors had been there for more than 10,000 years as evidenced by the discovery of the remains of prehistoric Leanderthal Lady. During the period of recorded history from A. D. 1519 to 1848, all or parts of Texas were claimed by five countries: France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America. The first European base was established in 1680, along the upper Rio Grande river, near modern El Paso, Texas with the exiled Spaniards and Native Americans from the Isleta Pueblo during the Pueblo Revolt known as Popé's Rebellion, from today's northern New Mexico. In 1682, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, established a French colony at Fort Saint Louis, after sailing down and exploring the Mississippi River from New France and the Great Lakes.
He planted this early French presence at Fort Saint Louis near Matagorda Bay, along the Gulf of Mexico coast before the establishment of New Orleans on the lower Mississippi River. The colony was killed off by Native Americans after three years, but Spanish authorities felt pressed to establish settlements to keep their claim to the land. Several Roman Catholic missions were established in East Texas. Twenty years concerned with the continued French presence in neighboring Louisiana, Spanish authorities again tried to colonize Texas. Over the next 110 years, Spain established numerous villages and missions in the province. A small number of Spanish settlers arrived, in addition to soldiers. Spain signed agreements with colonizers from the United States, bordering the province to the northeast since their Louisiana Purchase from the Emperor Napoleon I and his French Empire in 1803; when Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, Mexican Texas was part of the new nation. To encourage settlement, Mexican authorities allowed organized immigration from the United States, by 1834, over 30,000 Anglos lived in Texas, compared to 7,800 Mexicans.
After Santa Anna's dissolution of the Constitution of 1824 and his political shift to the right, issues such as lack of access to courts, the militarization of the region's government, self-defense issues resulting in the confrontation in Gonzales, public sentiment in Mexican and Anglo Texans turned towards revolution. Santa Anna's invasion of the territory after putting down the rebellion in Zacatecas provoked the conflict of 1836; the Texian forces fought and won the Texas Revolution in 1835–1836. Although not recognized as such by Mexico, Texas declared itself an independent nation, the Republic of Texas. Attracted by the rich lands for cotton plantations and ranching, tens of thousands of immigrants arrived from the U. S. and from Germany as well. In 1845, Texas joined the United States, when the United States annexed it. Only after the conclusion of the Mexican–American War, with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, did Mexico recognize Texan independence. Texas declared its secession from the United States in 1861 to join the Confederate States of America.
Only a few battles of the American Civil War were fought in Texas. When the war ended, the enslaved African Americans were freed. Texas was subject to Reconstruction, a process, they regained political dominance and passed laws in the late 19th century creating second-class status for blacks in a Jim Crow system of segregation and disenfranchising them in 1901 through passage of a poll tax. Blacks were excluded from the formal political system until after passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s. Cotton and farming dominated the economy, with railroad construction after 1870 a major factor in the development of new cities away from rivers and waterways. Toward the end of the 19th century, timber became an important industry in Texas as well. In 1901 a petroleum discovery at Spindletop Hill, near Beaumont, was developed as the most productive oil well the world had seen; the wave of oil speculation and discovery that followed came to be known as the "Oil Boom", permanently transforming and enriching the economy of Texas.
Agriculture and ranching gave way to a service-oriented society after the boom years of World War II. Segregation ended in the 1960s due to federal legislation. Politically, Texas changed from the one-party Democratic state achieved following disenfranchisement, to a contested political scene, until 2000 when it was solidly Republican; the economy of Texas has continued to grow becoming the second-largest state in population in 1994, became economically diversified, with a growing base in new technology. Texas lies at the juncture of two major cultural spheres of Pre-Columbian North America, the Southwestern and the Plains areas; the area now covered by Texas was occupied by three major indigenous cultures, which had reached their developmental peak before the arrival of European explorers and are known from archaeology. These are: the Pueblo from the upper Rio Grande region, centered west of Texas; the influence of Teotihuacan in northern Mexico peaked around AD 500 and declined over the 8th to 10th centuries.
The Paleo-Indians who lived in Texas between 9200 – 6000 BC
Austin is the capital of the U. S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. It is the 4th-most populous city in Texas, it is the fastest growing large city in the United States, the second most populous state capital after Phoenix and the southernmost state capital in the contiguous United States. As of the U. S. Census Bureau's July 1, 2017 estimate, Austin had a population of 950,715 up from 790,491 at the 2010 census; the city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,115,827 as of July 1, 2017. Located in Central Texas within the greater Texas Hill Country, it is home to numerous lakes and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis on the Colorado River, Barton Springs, McKinney Falls, Lake Walter E. Long. In the 1830s, pioneers began to settle the area in central Austin along the Colorado River. In 1839, the site was chosen to replace Houston as the capital of the Republic of Texas and was incorporated under the name "Waterloo."
Shortly afterward, the name was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas" and the republic's first secretary of state; the city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas at Austin. After a severe lull in economic growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its steady development, by the 1990s it emerged as a center for technology and business. A number of Fortune 500 companies have headquarters or regional offices in Austin including, 3M, Amazon.com, Apple Inc. Cisco, eBay, General Motors, Google, IBM, Oracle Corporation, PayPal, Texas Instruments, Whole Foods Market. Dell's worldwide headquarters is located in Round Rock. Residents of Austin are known as Austinites, they include a diverse mix of government employees, college students, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers, a vibrant LGBT community. The city's official slogan promotes Austin as "The Live Music Capital of the World," a reference to the city's many musicians and live music venues, as well as the long-running PBS TV concert series Austin City Limits.
The city adopted "Silicon Hills" as a nickname in the 1990s due to a rapid influx of technology and development companies. In recent years, some Austinites have adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird," which refers to the desire to protect small and local businesses from being overrun by large corporations. In the late 19th century, Austin was known as the "City of the Violet Crown," because of the colorful glow of light across the hills just after sunset. Today, many Austin businesses use the term "Violet Crown" in their name. Austin is known as a "clean-air city" for its stringent no-smoking ordinances that apply to all public places and buildings, including restaurants and bars. U. S. News & World Report named Austin the #1 place to live in the U. S. for 2017 and 2018. In 2016, Forbes ranked Austin #1 on its "Cities of the Future" list in 2017 placed the city at that same position on its list for the "Next Biggest Boom Town in the U. S." In 2017, Forbes awarded the South River City neighborhood of Austin its #2 ranking for "Best Cities and Neighborhoods for Millennials."
WalletHub named Austin the #6 best place in the country to live for 2017. The FBI ranked Austin as the #2 safest major city in the U. S. for 2012. Austin, Travis County and Williamson County have been the site of human habitation since at least 9200 BC; the area's earliest known inhabitants lived during the late Pleistocene and are linked to the Clovis culture around 9200 BC, based on evidence found throughout the area and documented at the much-studied Gault Site, midway between Georgetown and Fort Hood. When settlers arrived from Europe, the Tonkawa tribe inhabited the area; the Comanches and Lipan Apaches were known to travel through the area. Spanish colonists, including the Espinosa-Olivares-Aguirre expedition, traveled through the area for centuries, though few permanent settlements were created for some time. In 1730, three missions from East Texas were combined and reestablished as one mission on the south side of the Colorado River, in what is now Zilker Park, in Austin; the mission was in this area for only about seven months, was moved to San Antonio de Béxar and split into three missions.
Early in the 19th century, Spanish forts were established in what are now San Marcos. Following Mexico's independence, new settlements were established in Central Texas, but growth in the region was stagnant because of conflicts with the regional Native Americans. In 1835 -- 1836, Texans won independence from Mexico. Texas thus became an independent country with its own president and monetary system. After Vice President Mirabeau B. Lamar visited the area during a buffalo-hunting expedition between 1837 and 1838, he proposed that the republic's capital in Houston, be relocated to the area situated on the north bank of the Colorado River. In 1839, the Texas Congress formed a commission to seek a site for a new capital to be named for Stephen F. Austin. Mirabeau B. Lamar, second president of the newly formed Republic of Texas, advised the commissioners to investigate the area named Waterloo, noting the area's hills and pleasant surroundings. Waterloo was selected, "Austin" was chosen as the town's new name.
The location was seen as a convenient crossroads for trade routes between Santa Fe and Galveston Bay, as well as routes between northern Mexico and the Red River. Edwin Wall
Climate of Texas
Texas' weather varies from arid in the west to humid in the east. The huge expanse of Texas encompasses several regions with distinctly different climates: Northern Plains, Trans-Pecos Region, Texas Hill Country, Piney Woods, South Texas. Speaking, the part of Texas that lies to the east of Interstate 35 is subtropical, while the portion that lies to the west of Interstate 35 is arid desert. Texas ranks first in tornado occurrence with an average of 139 per year. Tropical cyclones can affect the state, either from the Gulf of Mexico or from an overland trajectory originating in the eastern Pacific Ocean; those originating from the Gulf of Mexico are more to strike the upper Texas coast than elsewhere. Significant floods have occurred across the state throughout history, both from tropical cyclones and from stalled weather fronts; the Northern Plains' climate is semi-arid and is prone to drought, annually receiving between 16 and 32 inches of precipitation, average annual snowfall ranging between 15 and 30 inches, with the greatest snowfall amounts occurring in the Texas panhandle and areas near the border with New Mexico.
During the summer, this area of state sees the most clear days. Winter nights see temperatures fall below the freezing mark, or 32 °F; the wettest months of the year are May. Tornadoes, caused by the convergence of westerly and southerly prevailing winds during the late spring, are common, making the region part of Tornado Alley. Poor land management and high wind speeds can cause large dust storms, minimized in modern times by improved land-management practices, but most troublesome in the 1930s during the Dust Bowl period; the panhandle region, farthest from the Gulf of Mexico, experiences colder winters than the other regions of Texas, where occasional wintertime Arctic blasts can cause temperatures to plunge to well below freezing and bring snowy conditions. International areas with comparable climate: Southern China; the Trans-Pecos region known as Big Bend Country, is in the west-central and western parts of the state, consisting of the Chihuahuan Desert and isolated mountain ranges. During fall and spring, it experiences the most clear days statewide.
It is the driest receiving an average annual rainfall of only 16 inches or less. Snowfall is rare at lower elevations, although the highest mountain peaks are prone to heavy snowfalls during winter; the arid climate is the main reason for desertification of the land, but overgrazing is widening the land area of that desert. In the mountain areas one can see coniferous forests in more temperate environment; the wettest months in this region occur during the summer. Winds are strengthened as they are forced to push through valleys. In the flatter areas these winds are harvested into usable electricity. International areas with comparable climate: Iraq; the climate is semi-arid west of Brady through Junction to Rocksprings, but it is sub-humid east and south of that area. Humidity is high during the warm season, though afternoons further northwest can see a wind shift and drier air before Gulf air returns after sunset; the vegetation is both deciduous in the river valleys, coniferous where there is greater elevation.
Dry savannas, open woodlands, shorter grasses dominate the northwest, while closed woodlands and moist savannas mix with taller grasses in the east and south. In a single year the region can receive up to 48 inches of precipitation, flooding is common near rivers and in low-lying areas, while drier years might receive only 12 inches of precipitation; the wettest months of the year are May. International areas with comparable climate: Much of East Africa, it receives the most rainfall. This is due to the gulf currents that carry humid air to the region, where it condenses and precipitates out in the vicinity of sea breeze fronts as well as when extratropical cyclones move by. While coastal sections see the most cloudy days statewide and year-round, northern sections see the most clear days during the summer; the wettest months of the year are May. The area is prone to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes when the proper conditions exist in the springtime. Hurricanes strike the region, the most disastrous of, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.
More Hurricane Rita pummeled the Golden Triangle of southeast Texas. The higher humidity of the region amplifies the feeling of heat during the summer. During winter and spring along the immediate coast, temperatures are kept cool by cool gulf waters. Dense advection fog can form when warm air moves over the cool shelf waters during February and March, stopping ship traffic for days. International areas with comparable climate: Taiwan. Considered to be the southernmost tip of the American Great Plains region, the inland region has rainfall, similar to that of the Northern Plains; the coastal areas are nearly warm most of the year due to currents of the Gulf of Mexico, but can get cold in winter if a strong front comes in, s