Homeowners insurance blog

10 Texas Cities Safest From Severe Weather

The Lone Star State is known for being one of the largest, most populated humid states in the U.S. It spans 268,820 square miles and has a population of 26.9 million. With such a vast area partially surrounded by water, natural disasters are inevitable.

Every Texan knows about the unnamed hurricane that took Galveston by storm in 1900. The hurricane is still deemed the worst disaster in American history relating to fatalities – it’s estimated that between 8,000 and 12,000 lives were lost. Following this tragedy, a seawall was built in an attempt to better protect the city.

In more recent memory, one of the costliest Texas disasters was a flood that hit Starr County. In the aftermath of Hurricane Alex, about 50 inches of rain fell over the Rio Grande Valley, causing the Falcon Reservoir to spill over in July 2010. This resulted in $37 million of damage.

We at HomeownersInsurance.com have decided to take a look at the cities in Texas and determine which 10 are the safest for residents in terms of severe weather. Here are our findings.

1. Huntsville

Huntsville tops our list of safest Texas cities because it has the lowest combined score in reference to occurrences of tornadoes, hail, lightning and floods. The city spans nearly 36 square miles of Walker County and has a population of 39,795. Huntsville is located in the East Texas Piney Woods –about 70 miles north of Houston – and is home to the Huntsville State Park and Sam Houston State University.

Residents like to enjoy the park and the cultural district, which is chock full of historic homes, art galleries, theaters and performances, and festivals. If you’re looking for a safe city with rich history and endless scenery to enjoy, Huntsville is the place for you.

2. Amarillo

Amarillo is the only city in our top 10 that has scores of zero in flood, lightning and hail categories, which is why it reigns as the second safest town in The Lone Star State. More than 196,400 residents call Amarillo home. Situated near the center of the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo is part of Potter County and extends across about 90 square miles.

Amarillo natives love to enjoy the fair weather at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the Wonderland Amusement Park, the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo, the World Championship Ranch Rodeo and the World Championship Chuckwagon Roundup. This safe city is full of natural beauty and celebrations of the cowboy culture.

3. Rockwall

If floods make you fret, Rockwall is the city for you. Coupled with its low tornado, lightning and hail scores, the score of zero pertaining to instances of floods helped land Rockwall in the top three. Rockwall has a population of more than 40,000 and is positioned in Rockwall County.

The city – spanning more than 22 square miles – is a suburb of Dallas. Residents love to spend time walking trails at the many parks in Rockwall or boating and fishing around Lake Ray Hubbard.

4. Laredo

Laredo – which has a population of more than 248,000 – is the second-largest city on the list of safest Texas cities. Laredo is situated in the southwest portion of the state and covers about 90 square miles of Webb County.

The city has a rich culture full of festivals and celebrations, largely taking place during the month of February to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. The month-long celebration includes a Mardi Gras-style festival called Jamboozie, the Border Beer Fest, a city-wide prom and an eating festival called the Jalapeno Festival. If you’re searching for a colorful city where severe weather isn’t a large concern, look no further than Laredo.

5. El Paso

The largest city on our list is El Paso, with nearly 675,000 residents. Low lightning and tornado scores help it make the list. What’s notable about the city? It’s on the local tip of the state – a meeting place for Texas, Mexico and New Mexico. El Paso manages to blend the cultures of all three.

It boasts the lowest crime rate of any U.S. city larger than 500,000 residents and is noted for its job growth. Visitors can enjoy the city zoo, several museums, vineyards and wineries and many other attractions. There are festivals honoring individuals as varied as Billy the Kid and Chopin. If you want something out of the ordinary, you could find it – and safety from severe weather – in El Paso.

6. Schertz

This San Antonio suburb earned a spot on the safest cities list because of its low occurrences of lightning, hail, tornadoes and floods. Schertz is home to nearly 36,000 Texans and is positioned in Guadalupe County. The 28 square mile-city is home to many fundraisers and festivals that benefit local police, EMS workers, the San Antonio Cancer Therapy and Research Center, the armed forces and the city, itself.

If you want to live in a safe city where community involvement is a central pillar, pack your bags and head to Schertz.

7. Victoria

Victoria extends across 33 square miles of Victoria County and has more than 65,000 residents. It earned the No. 7 spot due to low instances of hail, tornadoes and lightning and a score of zero pertaining to floods. Victoria natives love to spend their time at the Riverside Park exploring the Texas Zoo, playing sports and paddling along the Guadalupe River.

8. Nacogdoches

Located in Nacogdoches County, the city is deemed one of the safest in Texas because of a low combined score in reference to floods, hail, lightning and tornadoes. Home to more than 33,800 Texans, Nacogdoches is the location of the largest Azalea garden in the state as well as Stephen F. Austin State University.

Residents like to experience the pleasant weather exploring the historic downtown area, the Ruby Mize Azalea Garden and the Mast Arboretum.

9. College Station

This college city comes in at No. 9 on our safest cities from severe weather in Texas. College Station is tucked away in Brazos County and has few instances of hail, flood, lightning and tornadoes. College Station is home to Texas A&M University and more than 100,000 residents. The city spans about 50 square miles and is regarded as the most educated city in Texas.

Want to send your child(ren) to a fantastic college with exciting sports teams to follow and a safe climate to live in for four years? Send him/her/them to College Station.

10. Midland

Our safest cities list comes to a close with Midland. Home to nearly 124,000 Texans and Midland College, the city takes up 71.5 square miles of Midland County. Midland got its name from being the halfway point between El Paso and Fort Worth along the Texas and Pacific Railroad.

Midland has a mild weather climate and plenty of culture including performances from the Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale and many other performing arts series, as well as interesting exhibits at the Midland County Historical Museum.

The safest cities in Texas are full of things to do, which make them perfect for relocating or just exploring for a long weekend.

Texas homeowners insurance, like that in other states, covers storm damage arising from wind but not from flooding. Residents should explore flood policies for that.

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Methodology

Tornado, Lightning, Hail, and Flood scores are out of a possible 10 points where 0 is the best and 10 is the worst score.  For the tornado, lightning, hail and flood scores, HomeownersInsurance.com Analysts reviewed all individual storm events identified by the NOAA Storm Events Database from 1965 to October 2014 and weighted scores as follows: number of storm event occurrences (35%), number of direct storm event related deaths (25%), number of direct storm related incidents of property damage (25%) and number of direct storm event related injuries (15%).  For data sources only available on a county level, cites were assigned points based on the information for the county in which the city is predominantly located. Analysts only looked at TX cities with a population of 31,000 or above.