DFW CLIMATOLOGY OVERVIEW

Dallas/Fort Worth is located approximately at 32.89 north latitude and -97.05 west longitude, about 251 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. The Metroplex, as it is sometimes referred, is located in the upper Coastal Plain at an elevation of about 587 feet above sea level.

The climate of the area can be characterized as humid sub-tropical in the summer, but more continentally influenced in the winter. Winters are not as cold as areas further north in the plains states, but short periods of extreme cold can be experienced during winter, especially during a full Arctic outbreak. The outbreaks, also called blue northers, can occur up to three times during any given winter. These northers are associated with brutal cold airmasses, usually originating in Siberia, Alaska, or northern Canada, that penetrate all the way to the Gulf Coast. Temps can drop as much as fifty degrees in a short period of time, and have dropped as much as forty degrees within an hour after frontal passage. Strong winds and very cold temperatures usually follow. Sometimes these northers will also bring snow, and more frequently, ice. Northern states may get blizzards and big snowstorms, but a large Texas ice storm can be totally incapacitating. These storms can rival some of the north’s toughest blizzards. Wind is also very present after a cold frontal passage; therefore, very cold wind chill values can be experienced during cold spells. Average lows in the heart of winter reach about 33°F in early-to-mid January with average highs around 53°F. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the Metroplex was -8°F on February 12, 1899, during one of the coldest Arctic attacks since weather records have been kept. Typically in an average winter, we see about 36 freezes (or days where the mercury dips to 32°F or below) and an annual snowfall average of around three inches. Average precipitation of the winter months is around 6.84 inches.

In contrast, summers are usually dry, hot, and very humid. Average maximum highs in the heart of summer reach 96°F. However, the temperature frequently rises above 100°F. On average, we usually have 16 days where the mercury meets or exceeds 100°F per summer season. In some truly hot spells, the temperature may exceed 110°F. Overnight lows usually stay in the lower to mid 70s, but sometimes they fail to fall below 80°F during extreme hot spells. Couple these warm temperatures with high humidities, and you get what is called the heat index, which can be abominable at excessive temperatures. The hottest temperature ever recorded occurred, for two days straight, on June 26th and 27th, 1980. The mercury reached a miserable 113°F. Incidentally, that summer is the hottest summer we have on record with nearly forty consecutive days of triple digit heat. Average rainfall for the summer is about 7.38 inches.

Autumn and spring are almost non-existent in the Dallas/Fort Worth area because we usually have about eight months out of the year hot and the remaining months cool to cold. Spring is characterized by the clash of the airmasses which results in violent thunderstorms that produce large hail, cloud-to-ground lightning, excessive wind, torrential downpours, and tornadoes. The area is included in the infamous tornado alley section of the United States. Texas, partly because of its large surface area, receives more tornado touchdowns than any other state in the United States. A secondary period of severe weather can also be felt during late October and early November. Although, these severe thunderstorms occur mostly during spring and fall, if conditions are just right, they may occur at any given time during the year. Most of our rainfall occurs in both the spring and fall in North Texas. The average rainfall in the spring is about 11.41 inches, and in the fall it is about 9.10 inches. Our annual average rainfall is about 34 inches, and our mean average annual temperature hovers around 65°F.

Forecasting weather in the Dallas/Fort Worth area can be especially difficult because our weather is influenced by many different factors or climate areas such as, the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic, the desert, the Pacific Ocean, continental influences, and the tropics (hurricanes and tropical storms). Hopefully, you will find the forecasts and information at this website useful and accurate as we strive to put out the most accurate forecasts possible.