It’s a running joke in Austin Texas that the weather can fluctuate on a dime. You’ll wake up in the morning and put on a pair of jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, and a coat, and by lunchtime, you’re wishing you were wearing a t-shirt and sandals and paddle boarding out on the lake…even in the winter. Why are there so many crazy temperature variations in the Austin Texas weather?
Actually, a lot of folks want to move to Austin because of the “mild weather.” They think that the temperatures stay pretty consistent throughout the year. And while it’s true that the winters can be absolutely lovely (think: 70s and sunny in mid-February), the other side of the coin is that temps can also swing from snowy, icey, and freezing rain with severe home damage to hot, sunny, swimming pool weather, all in a matter of a few days (or sometimes just a few hours). There are some major temperature swings in Austin that you don’t see in places like Arizona, California, and Florida. (Of course, Austin Texas has a lot of perks, too!) Here’s a bit more info about the temperature variations in Austin Texas weather.
How Hot Does It Get In Austin Texas?
Ask any local Austin resident, and they’ll tell you it gets hotter than hell.
And ask them how long summer lasts here, and they’ll tell you it lasts about 9 months of the year.
The reality is that the hottest months are July, August, and September, and temperatures can often reach triple digits for nearly every day during that three-month range. The record high was 112 degrees Fahrenheit in September 2020, but that’s definitely a record and not typical. What is typical? How hot does it get in Austin Texas? Temps will typically reach 100-105 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest part of the year (August.)
However, even in the winter months, Austin Texas weather can feel like summer. It’s not uncommon for a 75-degree day in late February or March.
How Cold Does It Get In Austin Texas?
Yes, in Austin Texas winters are mild. You’re not going to experience the blastic arctic wind and multiple feet of snow that you might get in Minnesota or Wisconsin. And even though it does occasionally snow in Austin, it typically won’t stick to the ground (the ground isn’t cold enough and there’s not enough snow), or if it does, it melts within a few hours.
However, even with the mild Austin winters, we’ll get a few crazy anomalies. They’re happening pretty regularly, actually.
In 2021 there was a famous winter storm that caused below-freezing temps, power outages throughout the city, and more than 200 deaths state-wide. It completely took Austin by surprise, as it’s not a common experience in Austin to get a week of ice and sub-freezing temps. But every February since then, there’s been some sort of ice/snow experience, including an ice storm in February 2023 that resulted in hundreds of thousands without power for multiple days, and major property damage due to falling tree limbs. At this point, Austin residents are starting to expect a severe winter storm every February.
(Side note, in case you’re not from Austin: “severe winter storm” in Austin means something different than it does to a cold weather state like Illinois. Texas infrastructure isn’t designed for extreme cold, so the city and residents don’t own the correct trucks and gear for temperatures that get far below freezing, and it simply doesn’t make sense to invest in them….yet. If these winter storms continue and keep getting worse, folks will most likely start making some changes. The Texas infrastructure is designed for extreme heat and humidity, though. From the buildings to the landscaping to the HVACs and the cars, everything here functions just fine in 105-degree temperatures.)
Does The Austin Weather Change A Lot From Day To Day?
This is probably what you’re wondering, especially if you’re considering visiting Austin or possibly moving to Texas.
Yes, the Austin weather changes a lot from day to day. Of course, you can look up official weather records if you’d like, but coming from a resident who has spent many seasons in Austin, the general verdict is that you probably won’t want to pack up your summer clothes and put them away for the months of Nov-March. You’ll most likely need them.
Winter in Austin can mean you need boots, a coat, and gloves while you’re outside. And then 24 hours later, winter in Austin can mean you’re dining outdoors on a creekside patio, sipping frozen margaritas, and eating queso with your friends while wearing a hat to protect you from the sun.
Spring in Austin can be rainy and muddy and a bit cold. 24 hours later, spring weather in Austin can feel HOT and all of the Austin swimming holes will be packed with folks who are just trying to cool off.
Summer in Austin is…hot. That’s it. It’s just hot. There really isn’t a lot of weather fluctuation in the summer months in Austin, except that there might be an occasional rain shower or thunderstorm if we’re lucky.
Fall in Austin is a tease. It can feel a bit chilly, and Austinites start to get out their sweaters and boots…and then three hours later it’s right back to those 98-degree summer temperatures.
Why Does The Austin Weather Temperature Change So Much?
Talk to a meteorologist for official answers, but here’s the gist of it:
Austin is in central Texas (duh), which means it’s between two climates. On the west side are the desert/southwest part of Texas (El Paso, Laredo) where you get hot, dry temps, tumbleweeds, and desert weather. On the southeast side is the humid gulf coast (Galveston, Houston) with windy ocean weather, humid air, and slightly cooler temps. Austin is the mid-kid stuck between the two climates, so we kind of get both of them here.
Also, Austin has pretty crazy elevation changes. If you’ve ever experienced the beauty of Hill Country wineries or spent a day driving out to some Dripping Springs breweries, you know how quickly the landscape changes when you drive west from Austin. That elevation change also means there will be extreme weather changes in ATX.
That’s why there are so many unbelievable temperature variations in the Austin Texas weather. Living in Austin just means learning to deal with it. You’ll find fun things to do in Austin in the winter when the temps get cold, and you’ll enjoy some Austin hiking trails while the weather is still bearable. And in the summer, plan on lots of swimming and visiting local breweries, and finding places to watch the beautiful Austin sunset. Austin is a fun city.