HOUSTON (KIAH) – Many of us are searching for a white Christmas this year, whether that be in the form of snow, or a personal preference, a white sandy beach with a crystal clear, blue ocean view.  

Both of those options, however, are rarely ever present in Texas.  

NOAA recently released this graphic showing the historical probability of at least 1” of snow on Christmas. Some locations like the Rockies, upstate New York, Vermont, and Maine see snowfall on Christmas 90-100% of the time! As for southeast Texas, 0-10%, and that range is pretty generous.

So, we don’t get the white snow, but we don’t get the white beaches with blue water either. It’s been asked plenty of times… Why is our Texas water brown? 

Whether it be along the coast of Galveston, Brazosport, or even out to Corpus Christi, our Texas waters have this, what some might say, unsettling, murky tint. Don’t be alarmed, this is NATURAL. Yes, there is some pollution, and some bacteria, along our coast… but this is NOT the culprit behind the color.  

Many rivers and smaller waterways feed out into the Gulf of Mexico. As the freshwater flows south, it brings with it soil, sediment, and organic matter. Giving the water that brownish color.  

Have you ever heard or seen someone effortlessly floating in the Dead Sea? It sits between Jordan, to the east, and Israel to the west. The iconic dead sea is INCREDIBLY salty! This causes the density of the water to become very high with all of the concentrated salt. The liquid in our bodies (we are about 60% water!) is less dense than the sea, and … voila, we are then able to float through science, and not necessarily skill.  

This is very similar to the phenomena that occurs along the coastline. Have you ever tasted the water in the Gulf of Mexico? Yuck!

Although I highly discouraged that action, I can confirm through my fair share of wipeouts waterskiing that it is SALTY! As our freshwater rivers, that hold the soil and sediment, flow into the salty Gulf of Mexico, the concentration of the river water is less dense, it floats!  

Aerial views show that the further out you go offshore, the more the waters of the Gulf mix with the freshwater. The brownish tint gradually fades away. How fast this process occurs depends mainly on ocean currents, and surface winds.  

So next time you are out along a Texas beach, don’t be scared to get it in… it is safe! I know of a long-lived saying, A LITTLE DIRT DON’T HURT!