Why is Conroe colder?
Here is a question I get a lot:
"I had a random question for you – why does it seem like on every forecast, regardless of time of year, that the temperature reading in Conroe is always 3-6 degrees colder than the rest of the viewing area – even those areas to the north of Conroe?? I wouldnt think Conroe would typically be colder than say College Station but more times than not it is…" -- Wes Raska
"Hi Anthony, Why is Conroe’s winter temperature 2 to 3 degrees cooler than surrounding cities. Galveston’s temp is warmer in the winter because of the effect of the surrounding Gulf of Mexico. Why doesn’t Lake Conroe have a similar effect on the city of Conroe? My thought is that their thermometer is incorrect, unless you have another explanation. I await your answer." -- Edmond McGee
"Just wanted to make a comment about the temperature for Conroe. I live 11 miles west of Conroe and have two friends who live in Conroe. I have two digital and one standard thermometer while they both have two digital as well. The low temps that are given out of Conroe typically are anywhere from 5-10 degrees cooler then the actual temperature. You might want to investigate the reporting method out of this area. Kind Regards." -- Darin Barrow
"How come Conroe usually has cooler temps than surrounding cities? Does Lake Conroe play a part in this? Scratching my head." -- John Powers
Here's the reason why Conroe's official temperature seems low:
Weather station KCXO, Conroe airport, is in a rurally wind-protected, somewhat bowl-shaped locale in relation to the surrounding topography. This layout allows winds to go calm many nights, especially in the cooler months. This equates to more efficient radiative cooling.
This location records temperatures that can be on average 5 to 8 degrees colder than even a mile or two away.
The geography can also create a "drainage effect" where cool air (sinking) flows into the weather station.
The National Weather Service states the gauge is calibrated and maintained properly.
A more accurate temperature reading for the city would be accomplished if the NWS moved the gauge to, perhaps City Hall, but airports get priority in terms of these official gauges which cost about $10,000 to install and $2,000 a month to maintain.
Concerning Lake Conroe:
You cannot compare this much smaller (cooler) interior lake to the much larger (and warmer) Gulf of Mexico, so it is simply a scale issue.
The lake is 10 miles to the west-northwest of the airport.
The small size of the cooler freshwater Lake Conroe and the distance from KCXO is the main factor as to why you can't compare Conroe to Galveston. The Galveston weather station is in a tropical maritime environment, where warm moist winds blow over Scholes Field.