Houston is in Harris County, although a number of Texas Medical Center employees live in the surrounding counties of Brazoria, Galveston, Fort Bend and Montgomery.
Founded in 1836 by brothers August and John Allen, Houston is named for General Sam Houston, first president of the Republic of Texas and commander of the Texas Army which won the independence of Texas from Mexico.
Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation, is the top ranking industrial, shipping, wholesale and retail center of the southwest. Finance, real estate, insurance, agribusiness, mining, construction, printing and publishing, the service industries, educational services, government employment, international commerce, healthcare and biomedical research are of major importance. The Port of Houston handles cargoes from all over the world.
The opening of the man-made Houston Ship Channel in 1914 stimulated rapid development in petroleum refining and metal fabrication in the Houston area. The manufacture of petrochemicals on a large scale began during World War II. Houston has experienced increasing economic diversification over the past two decades.
Meteorologists classify the annual rainfall as "abundant," though it may seem "tremendous" if you get caught driving during one of the flash floods. The yearly average rainfall is 45 inches. Warm and humid depicts Houston's climate. The city averages 23 days per year with low temperatures of 32 degrees or less and 92 days per year with high temperatures of 90 degrees or more. Eighty degree temperatures in December are not unusual, while snow is quite rare.
The highest hill in Houston is the Loop 610 bridge over the Houston Ship Channel, peak elevation 164 feet.