Area Information


Texas History

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Texas is the second largest state in the United States. Geographically located in the south central part of the USA, Texas shares borders with the U.S.A. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast. Houston has the largest population in Texas and the fourth largest in the U.S., while San Antonio is the second most populous in the state. Other major cities include Austin, the second most populous state capital in the U.S., and El Paso. The origin of Texas's name is from the word "Tejas", which means "friends" in the Caddo language. Texas contains diverse landscapes that resemble both the U.S. southern and southwestern regions. Most of the population centers are located in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Traveling Texas, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend. The term "six flags over Texas"[note 1] refers to several nations that have ruled over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. A slave state before the American Civil War, Texas declared its secession from the U.S. in early 1861, and officially joined the Confederate States of America on March 2 of the same year. Cattle ranching was the main industry that prospered after the Civil War . Texas has a long history associated with the cowboy. The 1900's were good to Texas as oil discoveries initiated an economic boom in the state. As of 2017 Texas is at the top of the list of the most Fortune 500 companies. The state leads in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. Texas ports have led the nation in exporting since the early 2000's.


TEXAS REGIONAL CLIMATE

TEXAS HILL COUNTRY, or central Texas is shaped by its many rivers and hills. The climate is semi-arid, with cool winters and hot summers. The vegetation is both deciduous in the river valleys, and coniferous where there is greater elevation. In a single year the region can receive up to 48 inches (1,200 mm) of rain, and flooding is common near rivers and in low-lying areas. The wettest months of the year are April and May. SOUTH TEXAS REGION Brush Country and the wetter Rio Grande Valley. Considered to be the southernmost tip of the American Great Plains region, the inland region has rainfall that is similar to that of the Northern Plains. The coastal areas are nearly 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, and sometimes even causing snow at sea level. Summers are hot and humid. Rain in the coastal region is more abundant than in the inland region, and subtropical forests line the Rio Grande. The wettest months of the year are April and May. are cold and dry as Arctic air makes it into the region, therefore making snow a rare occurrence due to the lack of humidity in winter, and the 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 frequent than in other parts of the state. TRANS-PECOS region, also known as Big Bend Country, is in the west-central and western parts of the state, consisting of the Chihuahuan Desert and isolated mountain ranges. During fall, winter, and spring, it experiences the most clear days statewide. It is also the driest receiving an average annual rainfall of only 16 inches (410 mm) or less. Snowfall is rare at lower elevations, although the highest mountain peaks are prone to heavy snowfalls during winter. The arid climate is the main reason for desertification of the land, but overgrazing is slowly widening the land area of that desert. In the mountain areas one can see coniferous forests in a wetter and more temperate environment. The wettest months in this region occur during the summer. Winds are strengthened as they are forced to push through canyons and valleys. In the flatter areas these winds are harvested into usable electricity. PINEY WOODS is the eastern region of Texas and is within the humid subtropical climate zone. It receives the most rainfall; more than 60 inches annually in the far east. This is due to the gulf currents that carry humid air to the region, where it condenses and precipitates out in the vicinity of sea breeze fronts as well as when extratropical cyclones move by. While coastal sections see the most cloudy days statewide and year-round, northern sections see the most clear days during the summer. The wettest months of the year are April and May. The area is prone to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes when the proper conditions exist, generally in the springtime. Hurricanes also strike the region, the most disastrous of which was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. More recently Hurricane Rita pummeled the Golden Triangle of southeast Texas. The higher humidity of the region amplifies the feeling of heat during the summer. During winter and spring along the immediate coast, temperatures are kept cool by relatively cool gulf waters. Dense fog can form when warm air moves over the cool shelf waters during February and March, stopping ship traffic for days. PANHANDLE, NORTHERN PLAINS' climate is semi-arid and is prone to drought, annually receiving between 16 and 32 inches of precipitation, and average annual snowfall ranging between 15 and 30 inches, with the greatest snowfall amounts occurring in the Texas panhandle and areas near the border with New Mexico. During the summer, this area of state sees the most clear days. Winter nights commonly see temperatures fall below the freezing mark, or 32 °F. The wettest months of the year are April and May. Tornadoes, caused by the convergence of westerly and southerly prevailing winds during the late spring, are common, making the region part of Tornado Alley. The panhandle region, farthest from the Gulf of Mexico, experiences colder winters than the other regions of Texas, where occasional wintertime Arctic blasts can cause temperatures to plunge to well below freezing and bring snowy conditions


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RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

Whether you prefer shopping, fine dining, historical attractions or enjoying the outdoors, you’ll find a multitude of fun things to do in Houston. Truly a major league town, Houston plays host to the NFL’s Texans, the NBA’s Rockets and MLB’s Astros. With everything from quaint antiques to the latest fashion, our city’s many shopping districts are sure to delight any bargain hunter. Home to astronaut training and Mission Control, Space Center Houston is the Official Visitors Center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. It features a comprehensive collection of artifacts, exhibits and hands-on activities pertaining to the U.S. Space Program. Be sure to visit San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, where Texas gained its independence from Mexico. Houston’s Museum District promises an unforgettable experience for art enthusiasts and history buffs, while our downtown theater district is rivaled only by Broadway when it comes to the performing arts. Hunting and fishing opportunities are abundant in south Texas, and the Texas Gulf Coast is graced with sandy beaches, thrilling waterparks, a variety of fabulous restaurants and more.


RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

Whether you prefer shopping, fine dining, historical attractions or enjoying the outdoors, you’ll find a multitude of fun things to do in Houston. Truly a major league town, Houston plays host to the NFL’s Texans, the NBA’s Rockets and MLB’s Astros. With everything from quaint antiques to the latest fashion, our city’s many shopping districts are sure to delight any bargain hunter. Home to astronaut training and Mission Control, Space Center Houston is the Official Visitors Center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. It features a comprehensive collection of artifacts, exhibits and hands-on activities pertaining to the U.S. Space Program. Be sure to visit San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, where Texas gained its independence from Mexico. Houston’s Museum District promises an unforgettable experience for art enthusiasts and history buffs, while our downtown theater district is rivaled only by Broadway when it comes to the performing arts. Hunting and fishing opportunities are abundant in south Texas, and the Texas Gulf Coast is graced with sandy beaches, thrilling waterparks, a variety of fabulous restaurants and more.




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