Texas and Waco climate

Today I would like to explore with you Texas climate.
This is part of a new series of blogposts about my permaculture design certificate project with the Women Permaculture Guild (posts without a super nice structure, more thoughts along the course).

I learned some things about climate in Europe: the oceanic climate of Brittany, the continental climate of East of France, the Mediterranean climate. I learned some of their gross caracteristics. And I believe it helped me understand why the weather and why the years went that way.
And then I moved to Texas. One day it’s Summer, the other day it’s winter, all of this depending of the direction of the wind. The weather forecast is so bad that I don’t listen to it anymore…

So let’s explore a bit more Texas climate, especially in Waco.

Trewartha zones and hardiness zones

First I discovered the Trewartha zones, based on average temperature and precipitation.

By Adam Peterson – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51646895

So Waco is located in the humid subtropical zone (Cfa). This means it has 8 or more months with a mean temperature of 10°C (50°F) or higher.  But this can be modulated. For example with hardiness zones, reflecting the average annual minimum winter temperature. And Waco is at the frontier between zone 8a (10 to 15°F or -12.2 to -9.4°C) and 8b (15 to 20°F or – 9.4 to -6.7°C). Yes, it can be cold, like the night my daughter was born (it was approx -10°C …).

Wind and precipitations

The wind and especially its direction can modulate the weather. My dear husband on his bike knows how variable it can be. And when the wind is from the south, it’s going to be a hotter day on next day. On the contrary, when the wind in from the north, people sometimes call it « cold front » and the next day will be colder (or cooler, choose the word depending on the month of the year). Here are picture from the wind speed and direction taken from this website.

As a matter of precipitation, here is a chart with average temperatures and precipitation. Spring and Fall are well known for their storms and heavier rainfalls.


As a matter of microclimate on the playground of the church (my particular project), the presence of the church building might modify the local winds. I noticed during many days that when there is some wind, it is most often parallel to the building, but not directly against it. You can feel the breeze when a bit further from the building. I think I need more days of observation to confirm this impression.
There is no water next to it to serve as a heat reservoir. The parking lot and its concrete might be some kind of heat reservoir during the Summer months (on a daily basis, not a seasonnal one).
The playground being quite small, microclimate would be more linked to shadow and sun exposure…


Climate change and analogues

Then the course address the climate change. I must say I have not been living in Texas for long enough to notice anything. But some « old » people say that frozen is shorter than it used to be, that we could have snow during the winter that we barely see these days…

The course proposes to find « analogues ». Places that have the same climate today, or places that today have the same climate as Waco will have in the future. I wish I could make the tool work, but I couldn’t. I put the link here and if someone can explain to me how to make it work, I would love it. http://www.ccafs-analogues.org/

Et voilà! I think that’s it for this time.

Next episode will be about Waco ecoregion and a bit about our ecosystem (or what is left of it).

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