The typically-Texas small city of Waco is an important commercial and transportation hub with an added college presence. The economic base consists of small to mid-sized manufacturers in a variety of industries and a strong agricultural presence with ranching, poultry, and cotton. Another principal employer, Baylor University, brings 15,000 students and some college-town amenities. However, educational attainment is unusually low for a college town.
Downtown is fairly modern but uninspiring with a small historic area; many older buildings were destroyed in a 1953 tornado. The city prides itself as a good filmmaking set because of its many neighborhood “looks” and varied terrain. Lakes within and outside the city provide watersports, but most other forms of recreation, entertainment and cultural interest are in short supply. The biggest draw is cost of living and housing, quite reasonable especially for a place with a college presence.
Waco is located in the rich agricultural region of the Brazos River Valley. The gently rolling, agricultural Blackland Prairies spread to the east and the hilly Grand Prairie with sagebrush and cactus starts to the west—the contrast between the two areas is one feature that attracts filmmakers. The climate is humid subtropical and continental with large temperature variations.
Summer daytime temperatures are hot, especially in July and August. Highest temperatures are associated with fair skies, light winds, and comparatively low humidity. Winters are mild. Cold fronts moving down from the High Plains often bring strong, gusty, northerly winds and sharp temperature drops. Cold spells rarely last longer than 2 to 3 days. In an average year, April and May are the wettest months, while the July to August period is the driest. Most warm season rainfall occurs from thunderstorm activity. Winter precipitation is closely associated with frontal activity, and may arrive as rain, freezing rain, sleet, or snow. Most years have little snow.