There’s a saying in Texas that goes something like this: If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. For those of us that have grown up and experienced both the pleasant transition months and the seasonal extremes of Dallas weather, that saying rings true to heart. The Dallas climate is considered to be humid sub-tropical, but don’t let that give you the wrong impression. Dallas weather has some very distinct seasonal extremes, and the temperature, humidity, and precipitation vary greatly from one season to the next. The winters are usually mild, sans a winter storm every now and then, and the summer weather is normally hot and dry. The spring and fall months are generally very pleasant, but can bring some strong storms and rain.
Spring in Dallas
Spring is my favorite time of year in Dallas. After a winter that seems to overstay its welcome a few weeks after its peak, the season begins an often radical change. Because of the constant tug-of-war between cold, dry air coming from northern fronts and warm-moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, it’s not uncommon in Dallas to see weeks in late winter with extreme lows of below freezing and highs that can reach into the low 80s. The first day where the weather is warm enough to swim is often in late April to early May. Spring is a particularly wet and volatile time of year for the weather in Dallas and all of North Texas. Warm, moist air coming from the Gulf of Mexico collides with cool, dry air from cold fronts that become progressively weaker as winter ends, and these often produce thunderstorms that peak in May. May is the wettest month for the Dallas area, averaging 4.92 inches of rain. These storms tend to taper off by late spring as temperatures rise and the cold fronts become much weaker. By mid-June, the weather begins a rapid transition from warm and wet to hot and dry. The average humidity drops from 70% to 60%, and the average high temperature creeps from the mid 80s to the upper 90s as summer arrives in late June. Hail is sometimes common during strong spring storms, so Dallasites should be mindful of approaching weather to ensure they protect their home and property.
Summer in Dallas
The summers in Dallas can be quite hot, especially in July and August, but the humidity is typically lower during these hotter months. You can expect at least several days per year of 100° plus heat, often accompanied by long periods without much rain. Nights often feel cooler during these hotter months due to the lower humidity. In some years the heat can get quite extreme. Dallas has seen many days of 105-110 degree weather, with an all-time high of 113 degrees. According to NOAA, the Dallas area averages 18 days of 100+ degree weather per year, with the most occurring in August (9.2 days) and July (6.0 days). The first day of 100 degree weather usually occurs around the end of June. Although the Dallas area only averages 18 days of 100 degree heat per year, some particularly long summers have seen 50+ days. The most recent was 71 days in 2011. The summers in Dallas are typically arid, and the area can see long stretches of hot, dry weather during the warmest summer months of July and August, which average the lowest precipitation by month. During these months in particular, Dallas homeowners need to take special precautions to protect their home’s foundation from damage caused by the expansive clay soils that are common in the Dallas area. Dallas and many cities in the Metroplex restrict outdoor water usage during the summer months. During extreme droughts, watering may be restricted to certain days and nights. These restrictions often vary depending on the levels of area lakes that are used for local municipal water supplies.
Fall in Dallas
After a long stretch of hot, dry weather in July and August, Dallas usually starts to cool off a week or two before the beginning of fall in late September. The fall months can be quite pleasant in Dallas, especially after cool fronts start to make their way to the North Texas area, the first of which usually arrives in mid-to-late October. Some of the stronger fall fronts can produce strong thunderstorms, but they are usually not as powerful as the ones in spring. It’s common for the first cool front that produces a significant temperature drop to arrive in mid to late October. When I say significant, I mean you go from wearing short-sleeves to a light jacket. October is a particularly wet month for Dallas, but thunderstorms are generally not as strong in the fall as they are in the spring. Often they bring slow and steady rain, as opposed to spring storms which can pack a mean punch when they first arrive, but are usually short-lived and quickly move out and leave behind cooler temps. October often begins with high temps in the low to mid 80s and ends with high temps in the low to mid 60s. Halloween is usually light-jacket weather, but warm enough for the kids to trick-or-treat without having to bundle up too much. By mid-November, things usually start to cool off quite a bit, but there’s a constant tug-of-war between warm-moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cool, dry air coming in fronts from Canada and the north. As fall winds down in late December, Dallas has usually had a few strong cold fronts, some that occasionally bring early freezes. The average first day of freezing weather occurs on November 22nd in Dallas, and November has an average of 2.3 days of freezing low temps. Winter precipitation in Dallas varies. The majority winter precipitation is in the form of rain since it’s not cold enough to freeze, but snow and sometimes ice (freezing rain and sleet) will form during the coldest times when arctic fronts penetrate deep into the south.
Winter in Dallas
Fall in Dallas usually transitions to winter with the arrival of the first strong arctic cold front in late November to mid-December. By the time winter officially arrives in late December, Dallas has usually already had a couple of nights of freezing weather. The low temperature averages 39 in December.
In winter, it’s not uncommon to see northern parts of the Metroplex with 2-3 inches of snow where the southern parts don’t see any at all. Dallas is surprisingly well-prepared for snow and ice. The city keeps a fleet of sand trucks on alert whenever snow or sleet is expected, and this is . Accumulation is rare and is usually gone within a few days. It’s rare to see snow or ice accumulation for more than a few days. In my experience of living here over 30 years, most snow and ice storms produce little accumulation and typically the bridges and overpasses, which are normally sanded within hours of a storm arriving, are the biggest concern. Some winters can be particularly cold with temps dipping into the teens or even single-digits on rare-occasions, but there are often long stretches of days between cold fronts when the weather is mild enough to enjoy the outdoors. It’s common to have at least a few sunny days with highs in the 70s during the winter months, so Dallasites are often able to enjoy many winter days of pleasant outdoor activities. Dallas averages 33 days where the weather is freezing at some point, with the most occurring in January (12 days) and December (9 days). Dallas homeowners should keep trees trimmed back from their home and around power lines to minimize damage from falling branches during strong winds and winter ice storms.
Dallas Average and Record High / Low Temperatures by Month
- The record low temperature was 1 degree set in the winter of 1980.
- The winter months average high temps in the upper 50s and low temps in the upper 30s.
- The spring and fall months average high temps in the low 70s to upper 80s and lows in the high 40s to mid 60s.
- The summer months average high temps in the upper 90s and lows in the upper 70s.
- November and March each average around 2 days with low temperatures below freezing.
- The record earliest freeze in Dallas occurred on Oct 22nd and the latest first freeze occurred on Jan 4th. The average first freeze occurs on Nov 22nd and the average latest freeze occurs on March 13th.
- The longest Dallas has been below freezing is 13 consecutive days (Dec 18-30th, 1983)
- Every month has a record high temperature of at least 88 degrees.
Dallas Average Humidity by Month and Time of Day
- The average daily humidity in Dallas is between 60-70%.
- Humidity averages higher in the morning than the evening in Dallas.
- The average morning humidity in Dallas is between 79 and 87%.
- The average evening humidity in Dallas is between 41 and 53%.
- The average humidity is about 10% lower in Dallas in July and August. The humidity can drop to very low levels during hot stretches of weather in the summer.
- The most humid month in Dallas is May, which also has the highest precipitation.
Dallas Average Precipitation by Month
- May is the wettest month on average for Dallas with 4.92 inches, followed by October at 4.79.
- The driest months on average are August, January, and June with 1.87, 2.06, and 2.21 inches of rain respectively.
- The average annual rainfall for Dallas is about 33 inches per year.
- Dallas averages a few days per year of freezing precipitation. The precipitation is typically in the form of sleet or freezing rain, but snow occasionally falls as well.
Sources: NOAA and The National Weather Service
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