Victoria, which was incorporated as a city in 1839, is the second-oldest incorporated city in Texas. It was named in honor of General Guadalupe Victoria, who was the first President of independent Mexico. For a short period in 1840, Victoria became the capital of the provisional government of the Republic of the Rio Grande. In 1958, it was also the location of the Foster Air Force Base prior to its decommissioning.
Victoria is located on the coastal plains of Texas about 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and 20 miles from the nearest bay waters. It lies along and just to the east of the Guadalupe River. The topography is mostly flat to slightly rolling with an average elevation of 95 feet. Most of the city is underlain by smectite-rich clay which is locally capped by silt or fine sand; the high shrink-swell potential associated with smectite creates major challenges to urban infrastructure. Vegetation in better-drained areas consists primarily of short grasses with post oaks and other small timber and brush. Moist sites can grow tall forests dominated by elm and pecan.
Victoria is classified as humid subtropical. June through August is very hot and humid with high temperatures regularly exceeding 90 °F. The record high temperature of 111 °F. was recorded in September 2000. Spring and autumn are generally mild to warm with lower humidity. Winters are mild with occasional cold spells. The record low temperature was recorded in December 1989, when the temperature dropped to 9 °F. Snow is very infrequent, usually occurring on average once every 11 years. On December 24–25, 2004, Victoria recorded its first White Christmas ever when 12.5 inches of snow fell.
Victoria has occasional severe weather, mostly from flooding. Hurricanes have the potential to bring severe damage to the area. Hurricane Claudette in July 2003 was the last hurricane to score a direct hit on the city. During this event, winds gusted to 83 mph at the Victoria Regional Airport and 90% of the city lost power. The most intense hurricane to affect Victoria remains Hurricane Carla in September 1961.