Climate is the unifying factor in the region's geography—all of east Texas has the humid subtropical climate typical of the Southeast, occasionally interrupted by intrusions of cold air from the north. East Texas receives more rainfall, 35 to 60 inches (890 to 1,500 mm), than the rest of Texas. In Houston the average January temperature is 50.4 °F (10.2 °C) and the average July temperature is 82.6 °F (28.1 °C), however Houston has slightly warmer winters than most of East Texas due to its proximity to the coast.
All of East Texas also lies within the Gulf Coastal Plain, but with less uniformity than the climate with rolling hills in the north and flat coastal plains in the south. Local vegetation also varies from north to south with the lower third consisting of the temperate grassland extending from South Texas to South Louisiana. The upper two-thirds of the region dominated by temperate forest known as the Piney Woods, which extends over 23,500 square miles (61,000 km2). The Piney Woods are part of a much larger region of pine-hardwood forest that extends into Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The Piney Woods thins out as it nears the Gulf of Mexico. West of the Piney Woods are the ranchlands and remnant oak forests of the East Central Texas forests ecoregion.
The Sabine River and Trinity River are the major rivers in East Texas, but the Brazos River and Red River also flow through the region. The Brazos cuts through the southwest portion of the region while the Red River forms its northern border with Oklahoma and a portion of Arkansas. In East Texas and the rest of the South, small rivers and creeks collect into swamps called "Bayous" and merge with the surrounding forest. Bald cypress and Spanish moss are the dominant plants in bayous. The most famous of these bayous are Cypress Bayou and Buffalo Bayou. Cypress Bayou surrounds the Big, Little, and Black Cypress rivers around Jefferson. They flow east into Caddo Lake and the adjoining wetlands cover the rim and islands of the lake.
Outside of the Greater Houston area the average population density is around 18–45 per mi² (7–12 per km²), with the population density near the Big Thicket dropping below 18 people per mi². East Texas's population is centered around Beaumont/Port Arthur/Orange in Southeast Texas, Lufkin/Nacogdoches in Deep East Texas, and Tyler, Longview/Marshall, and Texarkana in Northeast Texas. At its western edge, East Texas overlaps with Central and North Texas; so cities like Corsicana, and Greenville may be included in liberal definitions of East Texas. Only eight miles from the Texas border, Shreveport, Louisiana, is considered the economic and cultural center for the Ark-La-Tex, the area where Arkansas, Louisiana, and East Texas meet.
Read more about this topic: East Texas
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