- Southeast Texas
Southeast Texas is a subregion of
East Texaslocated in the southeast corner of the U.S. stateof Texas. The subregion is geographically centered around the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown and Beaumont–Port Arthur metropolitan areas. Parts of Southeast Texas overlap with Central Texas, and the region borders Acadianaand the Sabine River.
The subregion's culture is similar to that of
Northeast Texas, but has more of a Cajuninfluence. Many of the largest cities in East Texas, outside of Houston, still follow a rural Southern way of life, especially in dialect, mannerisms, religion, and cuisine.
Southeast Texas includes part of the coast of the
Gulf of Mexicoand most of the Texas portion of the Intracoastal Waterway. The area is also crossed by numerous rivers and streams, the largest being the Sabine River, the Neches River, and the Trinity River. The only large bodies of water in Southeast Texas are Galveston Bayand Sabine Lake, but the large reservoirs of East Texasare just to the north.
Near the coast, the land is low and extremely flat, and often
marshy. The Piney Woodsextend into the northern parts of Southeast Texas, reaching as far south as the rice paddies and marshlands that lie between Houston and Beaumont. The highest point on the coast is at High Island, where a salt domeraises the elevation to around 40 feet (12 m).
Away from the coast, the terrain begins exhibiting the rolling hills of East and
Central Texas. Toward Central Texas, the mixed pine and hardwood forests give way to forests of post oakand grasslands.
The Golden Triangle is an area of extreme Southeast Texas near the
Louisianaborder. The "triangle" is formed by Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange, which are the largest cities in the area. The "golden" refers to the wealth that came from the Spindletopoil strike near Beaumont in 1901.
In an attempt to distance the area from the petrochemical industry, some area interests attempted to rename the Golden Triangle the "Triplex." This name change did not catch on, and area residents still refer to it as the Golden Triangle.
Some residents of the Golden Triangle do not refer to the
Greater Houstonarea as being part of Southeast Texas and place the western boundary of the region roughly at the Trinity River.
The area holds the annual
South Texas State Fairin Beaumont.
The Big Thicket National Preserve protects part of the old thicket, highlighting the area's biological resources. The 97,000 acre (390 km²) preserve boasts a varied ecology of southwestern desert, piney woods, swamps, and coastal prairies. It includes extremely diverse plant species including orchids, cactus, cypress, and pine in close proximity to each other. Approximately 65,000 people visit this area each year.
Galveston Bay is a large
estuarylocated along Texas's upper coast. The bay is fed by the Trinity River and the San Jacinto River, numerous local bayous and incoming tides from the Gulf of Mexico. The bay covers approximately 600 square miles (1,500 km²), and is 30 miles (50 km) long and 17 miles (27 km) wide. Galveston Bay is on average 7-9 feet (3 m) deep. The bay has three inlets at the Gulf of Mexico: Bolivar Roads (the exit of the Houston Ship Channel) between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula, San Luis Pass to the West, and Rollover Pass to the East.
Houston Ship Channel, connecting the Port of Houstonto the Gulf, passes through Galveston Bay. Houston is the largest city on the bay, while smaller ones include Galveston, Pasadena, Baytown, and Texas City. The bay provides nursery and spawning grounds for large amounts of marine life, and is important for both commercial and recreational fishing.
Compared to the rest of the state, Southeast Texas's climate is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. On average, the region is the wettest part of the state. The relatively mild and wet climate is largely due to the influence of the
Gulf of Mexico. Average annual rainfall in the Golden Triangle is 60 inches (1500 mm). Rainfall totals in other parts of Southeast Texas are lower, but still in excess of 40 inches (1000 mm) per year. During Tropical Storm Claudettein 1979, the city of Alvin recorded an official 24-hour rainfall total of 42 inches (1067 mm) — the highest one-day rainfall total ever measured in the United States.
Houston has been called the "Lightning Capital of Texas," as it has a higher density of
lightningstrikes than the rest of the state. This area of unusually high lightning activity stretches from Houston eastward into Southwest Louisiana. Much of this can be explained by the natural occurrence of thunderstorms in the region, which form almost daily during the summer months. However, the unusual clustering of lightning around the developed areas of Houston, the Golden Triangle, and Lake Charles, Louisianahave led many researchers to believe that some combination of urban heat islands and air pollutionare responsible for increasing the number of lightning strikes beyond their already high natural levels.
Southeast Texas is vulnerable to hurricanes, and has been struck and affected by major
hurricanes like Hurricane Ritain 2005 and Hurricane Aliciawhich passed over Houston in 1983. Weaker storms strike the area routinely, and some, like Tropical Storm Allisonand Tropical Storm Claudette, have caused considerable damage.
* [http://www.setx.org/ Partnership of Southeast Texas]
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