South Texas facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Downtown-san-antonio
San Antonio is the largest city and the fastest growing city in South Texas.
CorpusChristiTX Night
Corpus Christi is the second largest city in South Texas.
San Agustin Cathedral
Laredo is the third largest city in South Texas. The San Agustin Cathedral was built during the Spanish Texas period.

South Texas is a region of the U.S. state of Texas that lies roughly south of -- and sometimes including -- San Antonio. The southern and western boundary is the Rio Grande, and to the east it is the Gulf of Mexico. The population of this region is about 4.67 million according to the 2013 census estimates. The southern portion of this region is often referred to as the Rio Grande Valley. The eastern portion along the Gulf of Mexico is also referred to as the Coastal Bend. Many South Texas resident Exclude San Antonio, as San Antonio is southern Central Texas. Most consider the boundary being an imaginary line from Corpus Christi to Laredo and everything south of that with the three Counties in the Rio Grande Valley being known as Deep South Texas.

Land

There is no defined northern boundary, although it is believed to be at the city of San Antonio and from an east to west line extending from the Rio Grande near Maverick County to the Gulf of Mexico, but turning southeast at or near Lavaca County, and continuing towards the Gulf of Mexico to separate it from East Texas and Southeast Texas. The Rio Grande serves as the western and southern boundaries and separates Texas from Mexico. The eastern portion of South Texas is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico. This region of Texas consist of 41 counties. South Texas terrain is flat, lying on the coastal plain. South Texas is so vast, there are even subregions. The very southern tip of South Texas, called the Rio Grande Valley, has fertile soils and is known for its citrus production. The eastern portion of South Texas is often referred to as the Coastal Bend; here, coastal salt marshes, estuaries, and wetlands are scattered. The western and central parts are known as the South Texas Plains or the brush country. Mesquite trees and crop fields dominate the land.

Counties

Regions of Texas
South Texas is depicted in red. Counties sometimes considered part of South Texas are in a lighter shade of red.
  • The fastest growing county in South Texas is Guadalupe County, growing by 5.64% from 2010 to 2012.
  • The slowest growing county in South Texas is Refugio County, shrinking by 1.21% from 2010 to 2012

Cities

Brnelizand10thst
Brownsville is the fourth largest city in South Texas.
Region Rank City 2013 Census Estimates Population State Rank County
1 San Antonio 1,409,018 2 Bexar County
2 Corpus Christi 316,381 8 Nueces County
3 Laredo 248,142 10 Webb County
4 Brownsville 181,860 16 Cameron County
5 McAllen 136,639 22 Hidalgo County
6 Mission 81,050 43 Hidalgo County
7 Edinburg 80,836 44 Hidalgo County
8 Pharr 73,790 47 Hidalgo County
9 Harlingen 65,665 53 Cameron County
10 Victoria 65,098 54 Victoria County
11 Weslaco 37,093 88 Hidalgo County
12 Schertz 35,929 91 Bexar County
13 San Juan 35,593 92 Hidalgo County
14 Eagle Pass 27,708 109 Maverick County
15 Seguin 26,660 110 Guadalupe County
16 Kingsville 26,312 114 Kleberg County
17 San Benito 24,374 116 Cameron County
18 Alice 19,576 136 Jim Wells County
19 Universal City 19,372 142 Bexar County
20 Alamo 18,965 144 Hidalgo County
Mcallen
McAllen is the fifth largest city in South Texas.

Some people consider Houston to be in South Texas for several reasons: Numerous businesses in the Houston region contain 'South Texas' in their titles. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas includes the Houston division. However, Houston is most accurately classified as being within Southeast Texas, a subregion of East Texas.

Rivers

Name Note
Rio Grande Current border between Texas and Mexico
Nueces River At one time considered by Mexico as the border between Texas and Mexico
San Antonio River Part of the river is the location of San Antonio's Famous River Walk.
Aransas River A short river that drains in Copano Bay.
Frio River A fairly cold river, hence the name Frio, which means "cold" in Spanish.
Atascosa River A short river that empties into the Frio River
Mission River Flows into Mission Bay
Leona River A tributary of the Frio River, within the Nueces River Basin
Guadalupe River Flows into the San Antonio Bay estuary at Guadalupe Bay

Lakes and reservoirs

  • Choke Canyon Reservoir
  • Lake Corpus Christi
  • Falcon Lake
  • Lake Amistad
  • Lake Findley
  • Mitchell Lake
  • Lake Casa Blanca
  • Brauning Lake
  • Lake Calaveras

Bays

Padre Island National Seashore - sand dunes3
Padre Island is a popular beach destination.
  • Corpus Christi Bay
  • San Antonio Bay
  • Baffin Bay
  • Nueces Bay
  • Oso Bay
  • Copano Bay
  • Aransas Bay
  • Matagorda Bay
  • Lavaca Bay
  • Redfish Bay
  • Mission Bay

Estuaries and waterways

  • Rincon Bayou - a bayou in the Nueces River Delta, just north of the mouth of the Nueces River, for Location, see Nueces Bay
  • Elm Bayou - a bayou on the Victoria-Refugio County line
  • Gulf Intracoastal Waterway - a navigable route along the Gulf Of Mexico without many of the hazards of travel on the open sea
  • Resacas of the Rio Grande Valley - many oxbow lakes found scattered throughout the lower Rio Grande Valley
  • Laguna Madre - a long, hypersaline bay that creates a barrier between Padre Island and mainland Texas

Islands

Climate

The climate of South Texas is varied. The area along the Mexican border is generally semi-arid (Köppen climate classification Bsh), while the area from the coast inland to just west of San Antonio has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). South Texas weather is affected by the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains to the west, the Gulf of Mexico to the east, and the Chihuahuan Desert to the west/northwest. Moisture from the Pacific is cut off by the Mexican Sierra Madre Occidental and Oriental mountain ranges. Along coastal south Texas, the climate is best exemplified in the summers because they are long and tropical, though at times arid, depending upon whether tropical moisture from the Gulf and sometimes from the Pacific is flowing in or if the region is cut off from any moisture by high pressure systems, causing long droughts, which occur every few years. Temperatures reach freezing only a few times in the winter and snowfall is rare, usually three inches or less. Summers in this zone are hot and humid, with daily averages above 90 °F (32 °C). In addition, areas in Texas that are slightly inland from the Gulf of Mexico, such as San Antonio that border the semi-arid climate zone, generally see a peak of precipitation in the spring, and a deep, drought-like nadir in midsummer. Night-time temperatures are around 85 °F in summer. The region of South Texas includes the semi-arid ranch country and the wetter Rio Grande Valley. 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 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, occasionally causing snow at sea level. Rain in the coastal region is more abundant than in the inland region, and subtropical forests line the Rio Grande. Inland, where it is drier, ranches dominate the landscape, characterized by thick, spiny brush and grasslands. The winters in the inland region are cooler and drier, as Arctic air can make it into the region, but snow is rare due to the lack of humidity. Summers are for the most part hot and dry, but at times can be humid if winds come off the warmer Gulf of Mexico. Tornadoes can occur in this region, but less frequently than in other parts of the state.


Climate data for Corpus Christi, Texas (Corpus Christi Int'l), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 91
(32.8)
97
(36.1)
102
(38.9)
102
(38.9)
103
(39.4)
107
(41.7)
105
(40.6)
107
(41.7)
109
(42.8)
101
(38.3)
98
(36.7)
91
(32.8)
109
(42.8)
Average high °F (°C) 66.9
(19.39)
70.4
(21.33)
75.9
(24.39)
81.7
(27.61)
86.6
(30.33)
90.9
(32.72)
93.1
(33.94)
94.4
(34.67)
90.1
(32.28)
84.4
(29.11)
76.0
(24.44)
68.4
(20.22)
81.6
(27.56)
Daily mean °F (°C) 57.1
(13.94)
60.5
(15.83)
66.1
(18.94)
72.4
(22.44)
78.3
(25.72)
82.4
(28)
83.9
(28.83)
84.7
(29.28)
81.1
(27.28)
74.5
(23.61)
66.1
(18.94)
58.5
(14.72)
72.1
(22.28)
Average low °F (°C) 47.2
(8.44)
50.5
(10.28)
56.3
(13.5)
63.0
(17.22)
70.0
(21.11)
73.9
(23.28)
74.8
(23.78)
75.0
(23.89)
72.0
(22.22)
64.8
(18.22)
56.2
(13.44)
48.6
(9.22)
62.7
(17.06)
Record low °F (°C) 14
(-10)
11
(-11.7)
24
(-4.4)
33
(0.6)
45
(7.2)
56
(13.3)
64
(17.8)
64
(17.8)
52
(11.1)
28
(-2.2)
27
(-2.8)
13
(-10.6)
11
(-11.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.54
(39.1)
1.92
(48.8)
1.89
(48)
1.84
(46.7)
3.07
(78)
3.36
(85.3)
2.79
(70.9)
2.92
(74.2)
4.97
(126.2)
3.64
(92.5)
1.97
(50)
1.82
(46.2)
31.73
(805.9)
Humidity 60.5 78.0 76.0 76.0 77.5 80.0 78.5 75.0 74.5 75.5 73.5 74.0 78.0
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.1 6.5 5.3 5.3 6.0 6.8 5.7 6.5 8.8 6.3 6.0 6.4 76.6
Climate data for Laredo, TX
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 95
(35)
103
(39.4)
105
(40.6)
110
(43.3)
114
(45.6)
114
(45.6)
113
(45)
111
(43.9)
110
(43.3)
104
(40)
99
(37.2)
95
(35)
114
(45.6)
Average high °F (°C) 67.9
(19.94)
72.8
(22.67)
80.7
(27.06)
88.4
(31.33)
94.4
(34.67)
98.9
(37.17)
100.1
(37.83)
100.7
(38.17)
94.3
(34.61)
87.0
(30.56)
77.2
(25.11)
68.6
(20.33)
85.9
(29.94)
Average low °F (°C) 45.4
(7.44)
49.7
(9.83)
56.3
(13.5)
63.6
(17.56)
70.8
(21.56)
75.2
(24)
76.0
(24.44)
76.3
(24.61)
72.0
(22.22)
64.6
(18.11)
54.5
(12.5)
46.1
(7.83)
62.5
(16.94)
Record low °F (°C) 19
(-7.2)
20
(-6.7)
27
(-2.8)
32
(0)
45
(7.2)
58
(14.4)
66
(18.9)
61
(16.1)
49
(9.4)
28
(-2.2)
27
(-2.8)
11
(-11.7)
11
(-11.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.88
(22.4)
0.94
(23.9)
1.11
(28.2)
1.45
(36.8)
2.48
(63)
2.23
(56.6)
2.20
(55.9)
1.93
(49)
2.93
(74.4)
2.21
(56.1)
1.10
(27.9)
0.88
(22.4)
20.35
(516.9)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 6.0 5.3 4.4 4.2 5.3 5.1 4.8 5.1 6.7 4.4 4.3 5.6 61.3
Climate data for Brownsville, Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 91
(32.8)
94
(34.4)
106
(41.1)
102
(38.9)
102
(38.9)
103
(39.4)
103
(39.4)
104
(40)
105
(40.6)
99
(37.2)
98
(36.7)
94
(34.4)
106
(41.1)
Average high °F (°C) 70.7
(21.5)
73.9
(23.28)
79.0
(26.11)
83.9
(28.83)
88.6
(31.44)
92.3
(33.5)
93.7
(34.28)
94.5
(34.72)
90.6
(32.56)
85.7
(29.83)
79.2
(26.22)
72.0
(22.22)
83.7
(28.72)
Daily mean °F (°C) 61.2
(16.22)
64.3
(17.94)
69.3
(20.72)
74.9
(23.83)
80.5
(26.94)
84.0
(28.89)
85.0
(29.44)
85.4
(29.67)
81.9
(27.72)
76.3
(24.61)
69.4
(20.78)
62.4
(16.89)
74.6
(23.67)
Average low °F (°C) 51.6
(10.89)
54.7
(12.61)
59.6
(15.33)
65.9
(18.83)
72.3
(22.39)
75.7
(24.28)
76.3
(24.61)
76.2
(24.56)
73.1
(22.83)
66.9
(19.39)
59.6
(15.33)
52.7
(11.5)
65.4
(18.56)
Record low °F (°C) 18
(-7.8)
12
(-11.1)
28
(-2.2)
37
(2.8)
41
(5)
56
(13.3)
57
(13.9)
63
(17.2)
51
(10.6)
35
(1.7)
27
(-2.8)
16
(-8.9)
12
(-11.1)
Rainfall inches (mm) 1.27
(32.3)
1.12
(28.4)
1.23
(31.2)
1.54
(39.1)
2.64
(67.1)
2.57
(65.3)
2.04
(51.8)
2.44
(62)
5.92
(150.4)
3.74
(95)
1.82
(46.2)
1.15
(29.2)
27.48
(698)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.7 5.4 4.2 4.0 5.0 6.6 5.0 7.2 9.3 7.3 5.9 7.2 74.8
Sunshine hours 130.2 152.6 207.7 234.0 266.6 306.0 334.8 306.9 252.0 229.4 165.0 130.2 2,715.4
Source #1: National Weather Service (normals 1981−2010)
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory (sun, 1961−1990)
Climate data for Victoria, Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.1
(88)
35.6
(96)
37.2
(99)
37.8
(100)
38.9
(102)
41.7
(107)
43.3
(110)
42.8
(109)
43.9
(111)
42.8
(109)
33.9
(93)
31.1
(88)
-17.8
(111)
Average high °C (°F) 17.11
(62.8)
19.22
(66.6)
23
(73.4)
26.22
(79.2)
29.5
(85.1)
32.39
(90.3)
34.11
(93.4)
34.28
(93.7)
32.17
(89.9)
28.33
(83.0)
22.78
(73.0)
18.44
(65.2)
26.463
(79.63)
Average low °C (°F) 6.44
(43.6)
8.17
(46.7)
12.17
(53.9)
15.61
(60.1)
20.06
(68.1)
22.94
(73.3)
23.89
(75.0)
23.67
(74.6)
21.28
(70.3)
16.44
(61.6)
11.28
(52.3)
7.33
(45.2)
15.773
(60.39)
Record low °C (°F) -12.8
(9)
-9.4
(15)
-6.1
(21)
0.6
(33)
4.4
(40)
12.2
(54)
16.1
(61)
16.1
(61)
7.2
(45)
-0.6
(31)
-7.8
(18)
-12.8
(9)
-17.8
(9)
Precipitation mm (inches) 62
(2.44)
51.8
(2.04)
57.2
(2.25)
75.4
(2.97)
130
(5.12)
126
(4.96)
73.7
(2.90)
77.5
(3.05)
127
(5.00)
108.2
(4.26)
67.1
(2.64)
62.7
(2.47)
1,018.5
(40.1)
Source: National Weather Service

Hurricanes are the most dangerous weather systems to affect South Texas. Hurricane season is between June and November. However, the Texas coast gets affected usually between August and September, when systems sporadically organize in the southern Gulf around the Bay of Campeche or western Caribbean and the latter months forming off the coast of Africa.

Droughts- Although South Texas summers generally see rainfall in summer months, some years the lack of rain is persistent and leads to water shortages; lake levels drop significantly and lead to municipal water restrictions. In the summer of 2011, numerous records were set. On August 28, 2011, most of South Texas had temperatures reaching 110 °F, breaking many cities' record highs. Furthermore, 95% of the state faced an extreme or exceptional drought, according to the office of the Texas state climatologist. These drought conditions led to a string of dangerous wildfires across the state, and the enforcement of burn bans in 250 of the 254 counties in Texas.

Tornadoes do occur in this part of the state, but not as frequently as other parts. They approach, usually from the northwest to southeast, as a line of severe thunderstorms, mostly in the summer months and by cold fronts in fall.

Snow rarely falls south of San Antonio or on the coast except in rare circumstances. Of note is the 2004 Christmas Eve snowstorm, when 6 inches (150 mm) of snow fell as far south as McAllen.

Wildlife

(incomplete list)

Reptiles

*Texas tortoise

Mammals

*Coyote

Sealife

  • Bottlenose dolphins
  • Tarpon
  • Tiger shark
  • Red drum
  • Blue crab
  • Stone crab
  • Fiddler crab
  • Lightning whelk
  • Pinfish
  • Pigfish
  • Gafftopsail catfish
  • Hardhead catfish
  • Atlantic cutlassfish
  • Atlantic croaker
  • Striped mullet
  • American eel
  • Black drum
  • Spotted seatrout
  • Greater amberjack
  • Florida pompano
  • Common snook
  • Crevalle jack
  • Tripletail
  • Cobia
  • Eastern oyster
  • red snapper
  • Vermilion snapper
  • Sheepshead
  • Lane snapper
  • Bull shark
  • Shortfin mako
  • Atlantic blue marlin
  • Southern flounder

Arthropods

*Southern black widow
  • Brown widow
  • Brown recluse
  • Texas brown tarantula
  • Texas tan tarantula

Birds

*Northern mockingbird

People

Multicultural influences

South Texas is well known for strong Hispanic, primarily Mexican American and Tejano (the Spanish term for "Texan") influences, due to its proximity to Mexico. Tejanos and Mexicans living in South Texas are descended from the Spanish and Sephardic Jewish settlers of Mexico, from Mexican indigenous groups allied with the Spanish, such as Tlaxcaltec and Otomi peoples, and from local indigenous groups of South Texas who were missionized by the Spanish, particularly Coahuiltecans. These migrations occurred and have been ongoing since the early 1700s in South Texas. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in the 1840s failed to secure land belonging to the Mexican settlers. The disputed area was between the Nueces River south of San Antonio and Corpus Christi, the King Ranch, and the Rio Grande. Recognized by neither Mexico nor the United States, the Republic of the Rio Grande was established in this region in 1840, lasting less than a year. Laredo served as its capital.

The Rio Grande Valley area played a significant role in the Mexican War of Independence, the Texas Revolution, the Mexican–American War, and the American Civil War, with many historical battle sites around the area. General Robert E. Lee resided at Fort Ringold (Rio Grande City) during this time as a colonel. President Zachary Taylor was General of the Army at Fort Brown (Brownsville) during the Mexican–American War.

The Texas Rangers gained popularity for their actions in South Texas during the Mexican bandit raids in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. On May 25, 1876, a band of 40 Texas Rangers rode out of Laredo and headed north to the infamous Nueces Strip. Their mission was to find, kill or capture John King Fisher, leader of a band of cattle rustlers and cut-throats who had been terrorizing the area. The Rangers were members of a select group known as the Special Force. Led by the legendary Leander McNelly, the Special Force was given the task to bring law and order to an area of South Texas that lay between Corpus Christi and the Mexican border.

Transportation

Air

  • San Antonio International Airport
  • Corpus Christi International Airport
  • Laredo International Airport
  • Valley International Airport
  • Victoria Regional Airport
  • McAllen-Miller International Airport
  • Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport
  • Alice International Airport
  • South Texas International Airport at Edinburg
  • Aransas County Airport
  • Kleberg County Airport
  • Duval-Freer Airport
  • Mustang Beach Airport
  • San Jose Island Airport

Passenger Rail

  • San Antonio Amtrak Station, serving two Amtrak lines; the Sunset Limited and the Texas Eagle; and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach route serving Harlingen, Brownsville, and McAllen, Texas.

Major highways

Interstate

US Routes

  • US 59.svg US 59
  • US 77.svg US 77
  • US 83.svg US 83
  • US 87.svg US 87
  • US 181.svg US 181
  • US 281.svg US 281

Texas State Highways

  • Texas 4.svg Texas 4
  • Texas 16.svg Texas 16
  • Texas 44.svg Texas 44
  • Texas 107.svg Texas 107
  • Toll Texas 255.svg Texas 255
  • Texas 336.svg Texas 336
  • Texas 359.svg Texas 359
  • Texas 361.svg Texas 361
  • Texas 495.svg Texas 495
  • Texas 141.svg Texas 141
  • Texas 285.svg Texas 290
  • Texas 358.svg Texas 358
  • Texas 286.svg Texas 286
  • Texas 151.svg Texas 151

International Bridges

Laredo

  • Gateway to the Americas International Bridge
  • Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge
  • Texas-Mexican Railway International Bridge
  • World Trade International Bridge
  • Colombia-Solidarity International Bridge

Eagle Pass

  • Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras International Bridge
  • Camino Real International Bridge
  • Union Pacific International Railroad Bridge

Brownsville

  • Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge
  • Veteran's International Bridge
  • Gateway International Bridge

Los Indios

  • Free Trade International Bridge

Falcon Heights

  • Lake Falcon Dam International Crossing

Hidalgo
McAllen

  • McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge
  • Anzalduas International Bridge

Pharr

  • Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge

Progreso

  • Progreso-Nuevo Progreso International Bridge

Rio Grande City

  • Rio Grande City-Camargo International Bridge

Roma

  • Roma-Ciudad Miguel Alemán International Bridge

Tourism

San Antonio

  • San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
  • The Alamo
  • Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
  • Six Flags Fiesta Texas
  • San Antonio River Walk
  • San Antonio Zoo
  • SeaWorld San Antonio
  • San Antonio Museum of Art
  • San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo

Corpus Christi

  • Mirador de la Flor (Selena Memorial Statue)
  • Texas State Aquarium
  • USS Lexington Museum Ship
  • Mustang Island and Mustang Island State Park
  • Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi
  • Bayfest

Laredo

  • San Agustin de Laredo Historic District
  • Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol Building Museum
  • Washington's Birthday Celebration festivities during January and February

Rio Grande Valley

  • South Padre Island
  • Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle

Other

  • King Ranch near Kingsville
  • Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Images for kids


South Texas Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.