Corpus Christi Climate
The climate in the Corpus Christi Bay area is
considered subtropical and semi-arid. The mean annual temperature is
approximately 71 F; winters are typically mild, summers are hot, but
cooled by the sea breeze, and temperatures average 56 F and 84 F,
January, the coldest month of the year, has a mean
temperature of 55.2 F. July and August are the hottest months with
mean temperatures between 85 and 86 F. There are an average of 114
clear days per year.
Two principal wind patterns dominate the Texas
Coastal Zone -- frequent, strong southeasterly winds (essentially at
any time of the year but most pronounced in the spring through
mid-summer) and north northeasterly winds associated with cold
fronts from October through March. The prevailing wind for the area
originates from the southeast and has an average annual velocity of
12 miles per hour.
During December, January, and February, 15 to 20 northers pass through the coastal area. Winds up to 50 miles per
hour, and sometimes rain, accompany these strong 24 to 36 hour
events. From mid October through March, cold fronts sweep though the
coastal bend about every 7 to 12 days. Winds range from 20-40+ mph
from the N, NE, or NW with water temperatures from 55 to 75 degrees
and air temperatures as shown in the charts below. These north winds
are usually gustier than the SE winds, but can be good for some
great sailing if not too cold for you. The north winds are usually
strongest in the mornings. The weak ones can die off by noon, but
the strong ones can blow for three days.
The prevailing SE wind will
usually strengthen at least the day before the arrival of a cold
front and can be quite strong. It will usually take one or more days
after the north wind dies for the SE wind to come back.
From April through June, Corpus Christi offers some of the best all-round sailing conditions as the winds become S, SE, ESE, and strong
(20-40+ mph), 2-3 days a week or more. This wind pattern allows for
great bump-and-jump conditions in the bay, high wind flat water
sailing at Bird Island and in the Laguna Madre, and onshore wave
sailing in the Gulf of Mexico.
The prevailing southeast wind is
further strengthened by the thermal winds which develop when the air
over the heated land in west Texas is warmer than the air over the
relatively cooler waters of the gulf. This effect is most pronounced
in the spring and summer when it's hot and dry. When the conditions
are right, we can have planing winds for many days in a row. If it's
cool and wet, we'll have less wind.
In the spring, the SE wind strength for the day is usually
evident by 1 pm and usually increases to a peak at about 3 pm or so. If the SE wind is strong
much earlier, it's likely to be a really windy day. If you are
rigging for afternoon sailing, a safe rule is: don't rig before 1
and don't rig down after 3 pm.
In the summer, the land/water
temperature differential becomes smaller; and it takes longer for
the thermals to develop. Planing winds may not develop until about 4
pm. These days can be great, so don't give up on them too early!
Corpus Christi area weather links