Austin, TXTop Climate Change Risks: Heat, Precipitation, Drought

Risk Snapshot

Climate Change Hazard Ratings for Austin, TX

Ratings represent risk relative to the contiguous United States. 100 is the highest risk for the hazard and 1 is the lowest for the U.S., but does not indicate no risk. Flood and fire are rated based on the buildings in Austin exposed to these hazards. See hazard sections below and check your address for details.

People in Austin, TX are especially likely to experience increased risks from heat, precipitation, and drought.

Over the past five years home values in Austin have increased by approximately 90%, an indication of how Austin’s property value has increased substantially with its growing population and the influx of new businesses. However, growing extreme heat risk is also increasing the occurrence of days with high risk conditions for fire spread. With more than 60 percent of structures in Austin within 1.5 miles of the wildland-urban interface, managing this risk will require infrastructure and sustainable fire management systems.

Heat risk in Austin, TX

The number of the hottest days in Austin is projected to keep increasing.

In a typical year between 1985-2005, people in Austin, TX experienced about 7 days above 100.7ºF in a year. By 2050, people in Austin are projected to experience an average of about 42 days per year over 100.7ºF.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heat waves, even in places with cooler average temperatures. See more information on heat risk. Everyone can take steps to reduce their risks from extreme heat.

Precipitation risk in Austin, TX

The amount of precipitation during the most extreme days in Austin is projected to remain about the same through 2050.

An extreme storm for Austin, TX is a 48-hour rainfall total greater than 1.0 inches. Historically, about 16.1" of rain (or the equivalent in snow) fell over about 9 storms each year. By 2050, about 16.0" of rain are projected over about 10 storms each year. The annual precipitation in Austin, TX is projected to decrease from about 31.3" to about 30.6".

Extreme precipitation in any form can pose significant risks. Climate change increases the potential for extreme rainfall or snowfall because warmer air can hold more water vapor. See more information on storm risk. Property owners can take steps to reduce their risks from extreme precipitation.

Drought risk in Austin, TX

The recent average water stress in Austin is moderately low and projected to increase through 2050.

The Austin-Travis Lakes watershed, which contains Austin, TX, has experienced 717 weeks (63% of weeks) since 2000 with some of its area in drought of any level, and 212 weeks (19% of weeks) since 2000 with some of its area in Extreme or Exceptional drought. Source: National Drought Monitor.

Climate change is increasing the risk of drought. Water stress (the ratio of water demand to supply) depends on how water utilities source water and their plans to adapt to climate change. Property owners can also take steps to reduce their risks from drought.

Fire risk in Austin, TX

The risk on the most dangerous fire weather days in Austin is high. The number of these days per year is expected to increase through 2050.

Of 174 census tracts in Austin, TX, there are 129 where more than a quarter of buildings have significant fire risk, and 96 where more than half of buildings have significant fire risk. Property owners can take steps to mitigate their risks from wildfires.

Fire risk depends on proximity to vegation: densely developed urban areas have a much lower risk of burning than areas adjacent to wildland. Climate change increases risks from wildfire by creating hotter, drier conditions for fires to spread. ClimateCheck ratings of fire risk are based on projected weather conditions and U.S. Forest Service models simulating fire behavior.

Flood risk in Austin, TX

Buildings at risk in Austin average about a 37% chance of a flood about 3.2 feet deep over 30 years.

Of 174 census tracts in Austin, TX, there are 11 where more than half of buildings have significant risk from surface (pluvial) flooding and riverine (fluvial) flooding.Property owners can check a specific address for flood risk including FEMA flood zone, then take steps to reduce their vulnerability to flooding damage.

Climate change is increasing inland and coastal flooding risk due to sea level rise and increasing chances of extreme precipitation. See more information on flooding risk.

How can we prevent and adapt to climate change?

Mitigating climate change, by eliminating our emissions into the atmosphere and reducing our strain on the environment, and adapting to our changing planet are both vital to our well-being.

Understand Risks

The risks presented on this page reflect averages for Austin, TX and can vary for individual properties. Check your address and request a report describing risks to your property and in your area.

Protect Homes and Communities

Check our free report for tips on protecting your home from hazards.

Green infrastructure is a category of nature-based solutions for managing increasing precipitation. Find resources for individuals and municipalities through the EPA Soak Up the Rain initiative.

Planting trees and vegetation helps reduce extreme heat in urban environments. Cool pavements can also help. Search the Heat Island Community Actions Database to see what some municipalities have been doing to reduce extreme heat risk.

Read more about building resilience for communities: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

Use the Common Cause tool to find your representatives, how to contact them, and information about political contributions and bills they have introduced.

Find Balance

Reducing emissions is necessary and possible across the globe and in every part of our society. Learn more with the Project Drawdown introduction to climate solutions.

Estimate your emissions with the CoolClimate calculator.