Climate of Texas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Köppen climate classification types of Texas.
This image of Texas, obtained by astronauts aboard NASA's Gemini 4 spacecraft shows a large dark swath attributed to rainfall.

Texas' weather varies widely, from arid in the west to humid in the east. The huge expanse of Texas encompasses several regions with distinctly different climates: Northern Plains, Trans-Pecos Region, Texas Hill Country, Piney Woods, and South Texas. Generally speaking, the part of Texas that lies to the east of Interstate 35 is subtropical, while the portion that lies to the west of Interstate 35 is arid desert.

Texas ranks first in tornado occurrence with an average of 139 per year. Tropical cyclones can affect the state, either from the Gulf of Mexico or from an overland trajectory originating in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Those originating from the Gulf of Mexico are more likely to strike the upper Texas coast than elsewhere. Significant floods have occurred across the state throughout history, both from tropical cyclones and from stalled weather fronts.

Characteristics by region

Northern area

Monthly normal high and low temperatures (°F) for various Northern Plains cities [1]
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Abilene 55/32 61/37 69/44 77/52 85/61 91/69 95/72 94/71 87/64 78/54 65/42 57/34
Amarillo 49/23 54/27 62/34 71/42 79/52 87/61 91/65 89/64 82/56 72/45 58/32 50/24
Lubbock 52/24 58/29 66/36 75/45 83/56 90/64 92/68 90/66 83/58 74/47 62/35 53/26
Midland 60/29 66/34 74/41 82/48 89/58 94/65 96/68 94/67 88/61 80/51 68/39 61/31
San Angelo 58/29 63/34 71/42 79/50 86/59 91/66 95/70 94/68 88/63 79/51 67/39 59/31
Wichita Falls 52/29 58/34 67/41 76/49 84/59 92/68 97/72 96/71 88/64 77/52 64/40 54/31

The Northern Plains' climate is semi-arid and is prone to drought, annually receiving between 16 and 32 inches (810 mm) of precipitation, and average annual snowfall ranging between 15 and 30 inches, with the greatest snowfall amounts occurring in the Texas panhandle and areas near the border with New Mexico. During the summer, this area of state sees the most clear days. [2] Winter nights commonly see temperatures fall below the freezing mark, or 32 °F (0 °C). The wettest months of the year are April and May. [3] Tornadoes, caused by the convergence of westerly and southerly prevailing winds during the late spring, are common, making the region part of Tornado Alley. [4] Poor land management, drought, and high wind speeds can cause large dust storms, minimized in modern times by improved land-management practices, but most troublesome in the 1930s during the Dust Bowl period. [5] The panhandle region, farthest from the Gulf of Mexico, experiences colder winters than the other regions of Texas, where occasional wintertime Arctic blasts can cause temperatures to plunge to well below freezing and bring snowy conditions. [6]

International areas with comparable climate: Southern China; North Argentina; New South Wales, Australia.

Trans Pecos Region

The Trans-Pecos region, also known as Big Bend Country, is in the west-central and western parts of the state, consisting of the Chihuahuan Desert and isolated mountain ranges. During fall, winter, and spring, it experiences the most clear days statewide. [2] It is also the driest receiving an average annual rainfall of only 16 inches (410 mm) or less. Snowfall is rare at lower elevations, although the highest mountain peaks are prone to heavy snowfalls during winter. The arid climate is the main reason for desertification of the land, but overgrazing is slowly widening the land area of that desert. In the mountain areas one can see coniferous forests in a wetter and more temperate environment. The wettest months in this region occur during the summer. [3] Winds are strengthened as they are forced to push through canyons and valleys. In the flatter areas these winds are harvested into usable electricity.


Downtown and central El Paso

This part of town contains some of the city's oldest and most historic neighborhoods. Located in the heart of the city, it is home to about 44,993 people. [10] Development of the area started in 1827 with the first resident, Juan Maria Ponce de Leon, a wealthy merchant from Paso del Norte (present day Ciudad Juárez), who built the region's first structure establishing Rancho Ponce within the vicinity of S. El Paso Street and Paisano Dr. when the city was barely beginning. Today, central El Paso has grown into the center of the city's economy and a thriving urban community. It contains numerous historic sites and landmarks, mostly in the Sunset Heights district. It is close to the El Paso International Airport, the international border, and Fort Bliss. It is part of the El Paso Independent School District.

Dr. James Day, an El Paso historian, said that downtown's main business area was originally centered between Second Avenue (now Paisano Drive) and San Francisco Avenue. At a later point, the main business area was centered around Stanton Street and Santa Fe Street. In the late 1800s, most of the White American residents lived to the north of the non-White areas, living in brick residences along Magoffin, Myrtle, and San Antonio Avenues. Hispanic-American residents lived in an area called Chihuahuita ("little Chihuahua"), which was located south of Second Avenue and west of Santa Fe Street. Several African Americans and around 300 Chinese Americans also lived in Chihuahuita. Many of the Chinese Americans participated in the building of railroads in the El Paso area. [11] Another downtown neighborhood is El Segundo Barrio, which is near the United States/Mexico border. [12]

Northwest El Paso

El Paso's upper valley in northwest El Paso

Better known as West El Paso or the West Side, the area includes a portion of the Rio Grande floodplain upstream from downtown, which is known locally as the Upper Valley and is located on the west side of the Franklin Mountains. The Upper Valley is the greenest part of the county due to the Rio Grande. The West Side is home to some of the most affluent neighborhoods within the city, such as the Coronado Hills and Country Club neighborhoods. It is one of the fastest-growing areas of El Paso.

West-central El Paso

Historic home at Kern Place

West-central El Paso is located north of Interstate 10 and west of the Franklin Mountains. The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and the Cincinnati Entertainment district are located in the heart of the area. Historic districts Kern Place and Sunset Heights are in this part of town.

Kern Place was founded in 1914 by Peter E. Kern, for whom the neighborhood was named. [13] The homes of Kern Place are unique in architecture and some were built by residents themselves. [13] One of the better known homes is the Paul Luckett Home located at 1201 Cincinnati Ave. above Madeline Park, and is made of local rock. It is known as "The Castle" due to its round walls and a crenelated rooftop. [13]

Kern Place is extremely popular with college and university students. The area is known for its glitzy entertainment district, restaurants and coffee shops that cater to both business patrons and university students. [14] [15] After UTEP's basketball and football games, UTEP fans pack the Kern Place area for food and entertainment at Cincinnati Street, a small bar district. This bar scene has grown over the years and has attracted thousands to its annual Mardi Gras block party, as well as after sporting events or concerts. Young men and women make up the majority of the crowds who stop in between classes or after work.[ citation needed]

Sunset Heights is one of the most historic areas in town, which has existed since the latter part of the 1890s. Many wealthy residents have had their houses and mansions built on this hill. Although some buildings have been renovated to their former glory, many have been neglected and have deteriorated. During the Mexican Revolution, a widely popular Mexican revolutionary leader, Doroteo Arango (also known as Francisco "Pancho" Villa), owned and resided in this area during the 1910s. [16] During the 1910 Mexican Revolution many Mexicans fled Mexico and settled in Sunset Heights. [17]

Northeast El Paso

This part of town is located north of central El Paso and east of the Franklin Mountains. Development of the area was extensive during the 1950s and 1960s. It is one of the more ethnically diverse areas in the city due to the concentration of military families. The Northeast has not developed as rapidly as other areas, such as east El Paso and northwest El Paso, but its development is steadily increasing. The population is expected to grow more rapidly as a result of the troop increase at Ft. Bliss in the coming years. The area has also gained recognition throughout the city for the outstanding high-school athletic programs at Andress High School, Parkland High School, Irvin High School, and Chapin High School.

East El Paso

The area is located north of Interstate 10, east of Airway Blvd., and south of Montana Ave. It is the largest and fastest growing area of town with a population over 200,000. [18] It includes the 79936 ZIP Code, which was considered in 2013 as the most populous in the nation with over 114,000 people. [19]

Mission Valley

Formerly known as the lower valley, it includes part of Eastside and all lower valley districts. It is the third-largest area of the city, behind east El Paso and central El Paso. Hawkins Road and Interstate 10 border the Mission Valley. This location is considered the oldest area of El Paso, dating back to the late 17th century when present-day Texas was under the rule of New Spain.

In 1680, the Isleta Pueblo tribe revolted against the Spaniards who were pushed south to what is now El Paso. Some Spaniards and tribe members settled here permanently. Soon afterward, three Spanish missions were built; they remain standing, currently functioning as churches: Ysleta Mission-1682 (La Misión de Corpus Christi y de San Antonio de la Ysleta del Sur/Our Lady of Mt. Carmel), Socorro Mission-1759 (Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción del Socorro)-1759, and San Elizario Chapel (Capilla de San Elcear)-1789.

On April 30, 1598, the northward-bound Spanish conquistadors crossed large sand dunes about 27 miles south of present-day downtown El Paso. The expeditionaries and their horses reportedly ran toward the river, and two horses drank themselves to death. Don Juan de Oñate, a New Spain-born conquistador of Spanish parents, was an expedition leader who ordered a big feast north of the Río Grande in what is now San Elizario. This was the first documented and true Thanksgiving in North America. Oñate declared la Toma (taking possession), claiming all territory north of the Río Grande for King Philip II of Spain.

Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo (related to the insurgent Isleta Pueblo Tribe) is also located in this valley. The Tigua is one of three Indian tribes in Texas whose sovereignty is recognized by the United States government. Ysleta is spelled with a "Y" because 19th-century script did not differentiate between a capital "Y" and a capital "I."

Some people in this area and its twin city across the river, Ciudad Juárez, are direct descendants of the Spaniards.

Texas and New Mexico suburbs

El Paso is surrounded by many cities and communities in both Texas and New Mexico. The most populated suburbs in Texas are Socorro, Horizon City, Fort Bliss, and San Elizario. Other Texas suburbs are Anthony, Canutillo, Sparks, Fabens, and Vinton.

Although Anthony, Santa Teresa, Sunland Park, and Chaparral lie adjacent to El Paso County, they are considered to be part of the Las Cruces, New Mexico metropolitan area by the United States Census Bureau. [20]


A panoramic view of El Paso, looking northeast through south, near Scenic Drive. The Hueco Mountains can be seen toward the east, and Downtown El Paso can be seen to the south (far right of the image).

Tallest buildings

Rank Building Height Floors Built
1 Wells Fargo Plaza 302 ft (92 m) [21] 21 1971
2 One San Jacinto Plaza 280 ft (85 m) [22] 20 1962
3 Stanton Tower 260 ft (79 m) [22] 18 1982
4 Plaza Hotel 246 ft (75 m) 19 1930
5 Hotel Paso del Norte Tower 230 ft (70 m) 17 1986
6 El Paso County Courthouse 230 ft (70 m) 14 [23] 1991
7 Blue Flame Building 230 ft (70 m) 18 1954
8 O. T. Bassett Tower – Aloft Hotel 216 ft (66 m) 15 1930
9 One Texas Tower 205 ft (62 m) 15 1921
10 Albert Armendariz Sr. U.S. Federal Courthouse 205 ft (62 m) 9 [24] 2010

El Paso's tallest building, the Wells Fargo Plaza, was built in the early 1970s as State National Plaza. The black-windowed, 302-foot (92 m) [21] building is famous for its 13 white horizontal lights (18 lights per row on the east and west sides of the building, and seven bulbs per row on the north and south sides) that were lit at night. The tower did use a design of the United States flag during the July 4 holidays, as well as the American hostage crisis of 1980, and was lit continuously following the September 11 attacks in 2001 until around 2006. During the Christmas holidays, a design of a Christmas tree was used, and at times, the letters "UTEP" were used to support University of Texas at El Paso athletics. The tower is now only lit during the holiday months, or when special events take place in the city.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)681,728 [25]5.0%
U.S. Decennial Census [26]
Texas Almanac: 1850–2000 [27]
2018 Estimate [28]
El Paso 1850 to 2006 [29]
TX State Historical Association [30]
Demographic profile 2017 [31] 2010 [32] 2000 [33] 1990 [34] 1970 [34]
White 92.0% 80.8% 76.3% 76.9% 96.7%
 — Non-Hispanic whites 11.8% 14.2% 18.3% 26.4% 40.4% [35]
African American or Black 3.9% 3.4% 3.5% 3.4% 2.3%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 82.8% 80.7% 76.6% 69.0% 57.3% [35]
Asian 1.3% 1.2% 1.5% 1.2% 0.3%
Map of racial distribution in El Paso, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic (of any race), or Other (yellow)

As of 2010 U.S. census, 649,121 people, 216,694 households, and 131,104 families resided in the city. The population density was 2,263.0 people per square mile (873.7/km2). There were 227,605 housing units at an average density of 777.5 per square mile (300.2/km2). Recent census estimates say that the racial composition of El Paso is: White– 92.0% ( Non-Hispanic Whites: 11.8%), African American or Black – 3.9%, Two or more races – 1.5%, Asian – 1.3%, Native American – 1.0%, and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander – 0.2%. [36] There are no de facto African-American neighborhoods. [36]

Ethnically, the city was: 82.8% Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 216,894 households in 2010, 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 20.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.3% were not families. About 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 24.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.47

In the city, the age distribution was 29.1% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 20 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.5 years.

The median income for a household in the city was $44,431, and for a family was $50,247. Males had a median income of $28,989 versus $21,540 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,120. About 17.3% of families and 20.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.5% of those under age 18 and 18.4% of those age 65 or over.


Largest Employers in El Paso [37]
1 Fort Bliss
2 El Paso Independent School District
3 City of El Paso
4 Ysleta Independent School District
5 T & T Staff Management L.P. [38]
6 Tenet Healthcare
7 University of Texas at El Paso
8 El Paso Healthcare System, LTD.
9 El Paso County
10 El Paso Community College
11 U.S. Customs and Border Protection
12 Automatic Data Processing, Inc.
13 University Medical Center
14 Dish Network
15 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Network
Helen of Troy Limited corporate office

El Paso has a diversified economy focused primarily within international trade, military, government civil service, oil and gas, health care, tourism, and service sectors. The El Paso metro area had a GDP of $29.03 billion in 2017. [39] There was also $92 billion worth of trade in 2012. [40] Over the past 15 years the city has become a significant location for American-based call centers. Cotton, fruit, vegetables, and livestock are also produced in the area. El Paso has added a significant manufacturing sector with items and goods produced that include petroleum, metals, medical devices, plastics, machinery, defense-related goods, and automotive parts. The city is the second-busiest international crossing point in the U.S. behind San Diego. [41]

El Paso is home to one Fortune 500 company, Western Refining, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). [42] This makes the city one of six Texas metro areas to have at least one Fortune 500 company call it home; the others being Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, and Corpus Christi. [43] The second publicly traded company is Helen of Troy Limited, a NASDAQ-listed company that manufactures personal health-care products under many labels, such as OXO, Dr. Scholl's, Vidal Sassoon, Pert Plus, Brut, and Sunbeam, and the third is El Paso Electric listed on the NYSE, a public utility engaging in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in West Texas and southern New Mexico. The fourth publicly traded company is Western Refining Logistics, also traded in the NYSE. It is a Western Refining subsidiary, which owns, operates, develops, and acquires terminals, storage tanks, pipelines, and other logistics assets.

More than 70 Fortune 500 companies have offices in El Paso, including AT&T, ADP, Boeing, Charles Schwab, Delphi, Dish Network, Eureka, Hoover, Raytheon, Prudential Financial, USAA and Verizon Wireless. [44] [45] Hispanic Business Magazine included 28 El Paso companies in its list of the 500 largest Hispanic owned businesses in the United States. [46] El Paso's 28 companies are second only to Miami's 57. The list of the largest Hispanic owned businesses includes companies like Fred Loya Insurance, a Hispanic 500 company and the 18th largest Hispanic business in the nation. Other companies on the list are Dos Lunas Spirits, Dynatec Labs, Spira Footwear, Datamark, Inc. and El Taco Tote. El Paso was home to El Paso Corporation formerly known as El Paso Natural Gas Company.

The city also has a large military presence with Fort Bliss, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and Biggs Army Airfield. The defense industry in El Paso employs over 41,000 and provides a $6 billion annual impact to the city's economy. [47] In 2013, Fort Bliss was chosen as the newly configured U.S. Air Force Security Forces Regional Training Center which added 8,000 to 10,000 Air Force personnel annually. [48]

In addition to the military, the federal government has a strong presence in El Paso to manage its status and unique issues as an important border region. Operations headquartered in El Paso include the DEA Domestic Field Division 7, El Paso Intelligence Center, Joint Task Force North, U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector, and U.S. Border Patrol Special Operations Group.

Call-center operations employ more than 10,000 people in the area.[ citation needed] Automatic Data Processing has an office in West El Paso, employing about 1,100 people with expansion plans to reach 2,200 by 2020. [49]

Tourism is another major industry in El Paso, bringing in $1.5 billion and over 2.3 million visitors annually due to the city's sunny weather, natural beauty, rich cultural history, and many outdoor attractions. [50]

Education is also a driving force in El Paso's economy. El Paso's three large school districts are among the largest employers in the area, employing more than 20,000 people among them. UTEP has an annual budget of nearly $418 million and employs nearly 4,800 people. [51] [52] A 2010 study by the university's Institute for Policy and Economic Development stated the university's impact on local businesses is $417 million annually. [53]

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events and festivals

Amigo Airsho

The Amigo Airsho is one of El Paso's premier events, and is ranked as one of the top-10 air shows in the country, filled with air entertainment and ground activities. Acts include the Franklin's Flying Circus, where performers walk on the wings of an airborne plane. Ground activities include a jet-powered school bus. After 31 years of being held at Biggs Army Airfield, the show was moved to Dona Ana Airport in 2014. [54]

KLAQ Great River Raft Race

Great River Raft Race held annually on the Rio Grande in El Paso's upper valley

The KLAQ Great River Raft Race is an annual event celebrated on the second to last Saturday of June. Participants are encouraged to ride the river and float the Rio Grande with family and friends. The organizers encourage the building of unique rafts that get down the river, with prizes and trophies awarded for the most points earned, best-looking crew, and best-decorated raft. The race starts at the Vinton Bridge and ends 3 miles downstream at the Canutillo Bridge. [55]

Southwestern International PRCA Rodeo

The Southwestern International PRCA Rodeo is the 17th-oldest rodeo in the nation and El Paso's longest-running sporting event. Consistently ranked as one of the top 50 shows in the country by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, this charitable event is a true celebration of western culture and heritage. [56]

Fiesta de las Flores

Cleveland Square in downtown El Paso is where many of the festivals are held annually.

La Fiesta de las Flores is one of the oldest Hispanic festivals in the Southwest. The three-day fiesta is held each year during the Labor Day weekend and emphasizes El Paso's Hispanic heritage and culture. The festival attracts 20,000 to 30,000 visitors from El Paso County, New Mexico, West Texas, and the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. [57] Activities included in the fiesta are crowning of the queen, a Fiesta Parade, Senior Appreciation Dance, Military Appreciation Day, and live entertainment. The fiesta is also well known for the authentic regional cuisine, arts and crafts, games, and services available for the enjoyment of all attendees. Over 80 booths, sponsored by local vendors and nonprofit organizations, create the Hispanic ambience and culture.

El Paso Balloonfest

The El Paso Balloonfest is an annual event celebrated on Memorial Day weekend and is self described as "3 days of hot air balloons filling the El Paso skies, 3 afternoons of concerts and fun in the sun at Wet N' Wild Waterworld in Anthony, Texas." Over 60 balloons take to the air from TFCU launch field, which is adjacent to the water park. After the balloons launch, visitors have a weekend of water rides, swimming, concerts, and grilling. The concert aspect of the event features local bands, starting at noon, and different headlining artists in the afternoon. [58] Overnight camping has been added for 2014. [59]

El Paso Sun City Pride

The El Paso Sun City Pride is the largest annual LGBT event in the region, attracting thousands every June. The event was established in 2007. [60] [61]

Music festivals

El Paso Downtown Street Festival

The annual El Paso Downtown Street Festival is held during the last weekend of June in downtown El Paso near the El Paso Convention center. [62] It is the oldest musical festival in the city and brings local, regional, and nationally known acts.

Neon Desert Music Festival

The annual Neon Desert Music Festival is a two-day event usually held on the last Saturday and Sunday of May on five stages in downtown El Paso, stretching from San Jacinto Plaza to Cleveland Square. [63] The festival brings over 30 acts from the worlds of indie rock, Latin, and electronic dance music.

Music Under the Stars

The outdoor concert series, started in 1983, is held annually at the Chamizal National Memorial and draws over 60,000 attendees. It features local and international performers with wide-ranging musical genres - Classical, Country, Tejano, rock and others. The evening concerts are showcased every Sunday afternoon and start in early June and end in the middle of August. [64]

Sun City Music Festival

The only El Paso musical festival not held downtown, instead it is held at Ascarate Park. The Sun City Music Festival is a two-day event dubbed as the largest electronic dance music festival in Texas. [65]

Texas Showdown Festival

The Texas Showdown Festival is an annual event celebrating musicians and tattoo artists under one roof. [66] Dubbed as the world's largest tattoo and musical festival, the event is held usually the last weekend of July at the El Paso County Coliseum.

Performing arts

Viva! El Paso

Viva! El Paso performance at the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre

The outdoor musical extravaganza Viva! El Paso is performed in the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre. It is locally produced and chronicles the 400-year history and cultural evolution of the El Paso region. The show is performed each Friday and Saturday night in June, July, and August. It has entertained local residents and out-of-town visitors for over 35 years. [67]

El Paso Symphony Orchestra

The El Paso Symphony was established in the 1930s, and is the oldest performing-arts organization in El Paso and the longest continuously running symphony orchestra in Texas. [68] It has received both national and international recognition as a result of its very successful tours of Germany in 1996 and Turkey in 2000, and continues to represent the El Paso region with pride and distinction. The El Paso Symphony Orchestra Association season is anchored by 12 classical concerts. Special events serve as outreach toward new audiences.

Ballet in El Paso

Ballet was largely nonexistent in El Paso until the arrival of Ingeborg Heuser, a professional ballerina from Germany, in the 1950s. Heuser taught ballet at UTEP for 47 years and founded the city's first professional ballet company, firstly known as Texas Western Civic Ballet and eventually as Ballet El Paso. The company dissipated due to financial trouble in 1997 and Heuser retired from UTEP soon after. [69] [70]

The El Paso Youth Ballet was founded in 2009 by Heuser's student, Marta Katz, following Heuser's departure from the university. With students from the youth ballet, Heuser staged her last Nutcracker in 2006. The youth company continues to perform the Nutcracker and other preprofessional pieces in and around the El Paso area. The company provides the only platform for young ballet dancers to train and perform at such a level within the city since the folding of Ballet El Paso. [71]

El Paso City Ballet is a current professional ballet company in El Paso, providing local employment for professional dancers in the field of ballet. The company performs a variety of classical and contemporary works choreographed by Artistic Director Lisa Skaf and artists from the US and Latin America. [72] It has been active since 2005, performing yearly productions.


Plaza theater at night
Plaza Theater at night

The Plaza Theatre is a National Historic Building of Significance built in 1930. [73] It features the 2,050-seat Kendall Kidd Performance Hall, and the smaller 200-seat Philanthropy Theatre. It hosts Broadway productions, musical concerts, individual performers, and the annual Plaza Classic Film Festival. [73]

The Abraham Chavez Theatre is a 2,500-seat concert hall adjacent to the Williams Convention Center. Its exterior resembles a sombrero and features a three-story glass main entrance. Thetheatre is named after Maestro Abraham Chavez, who was the longtime conductor of the El Paso Symphony. Inside, the theatre has a 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) lobby and a 40-by-56-ft stage, as well as 14 dressing rooms. The theater's seating is in three levels. Also, a meeting room is adjacent to the theater. [73]

Events held at Chavez Theatre include concerts, Broadway shows, graduation ceremonies, performances of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, and other special events.

McKelligon Canyon is a 90-acre (360,000 m2) park, located in the Franklin Mountains, open to hikers and picnickers. In the canyon, McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre is surrounded on three sides by canyon walls; the 1,500-seat amphitheater is used for concerts and special events, such as Viva! El Paso. [74]

The El Paso Playhouse, a community theatre, provides entertainment and educational experiences to a diverse multicultural population through the high-quality production of plays and theatrical events. The playhouse provides a venue for artists, technicians, patrons, and community members to participate in the arts through regularly scheduled season productions and holiday performances. The theater is affiliated with Kids-N-Co, a theater for child actors to children's performances . [75]

The UTEP Dinner Theatre located inside the UTEP campus, and was founded in 1983 and is entirely produced, designed and directed by students. The theatre presents 4 fully staged musicals each season and a fully staged student produced musical. [76]

Area museums

El Paso Museum of Archaeology, diorama shows Cueva de la Olla (cave of the pot – a large pot-shaped storage container for grain), Paquimé, Sierra Madre of Chihuahua

The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, located on the grounds of UTEP, includes a comprehensive collection of El Paso Brown, Native American pottery, as well as educational exhibits for students.

The El Paso Museum of Archaeology is located on the eastern slope of North Franklin Mountain, west of Gateway South Blvd. on TransMountain Rd. [77] Its grounds include native plants of the American Southwest, as well samples of Native American shelters, in an unspoiled location. The museum includes dioramas for school children that illustrate the culture and geology of the American Southwest, such as Hueco Tanks in El Paso County. One diorama (see image to the right) is of the Cueva de la Olla [78] (cave of the pot) which is located in the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua, an example of the Paquimé culture. [79]

The El Paso Museum of Art is located next to the Plaza Theater adjacent to San Jacinto Plaza, the public square downtown. It contains works of Southwestern artists such as Tom Lea.

Other area museums include:

Sites within the city limits

Asia exhibit entrance at the El Paso Zoo


Aerial view of Sun Bowl Stadium and Kidd Field
Don Haskins Center at the UTEP campus

El Paso is home to the Sun Bowl, the second-oldest consecutive college football contest [89] (after the Rose Bowl). Its first game was held in 1935. [89]

On September 18, 2012, the city council voted to approve the demolition of its city hall to make way for Southwest University Park, [90] the new home of the El Paso Chihuahuas Triple-A team ( San Diego Padres affiliate); it opened in 2014. The team was purchased by Mountainstar Sports Group of El Paso. [91] City Hall was demolished on April 14, 2013.

The El Paso Marathon takes place annually since 2007. The El Paso Patriots played their last season in 2013 and are no longer an organization. El Paso will get a USL team starting in 2019. They will play at the Southwest University Park. [92]

Club Sport League Venue Capacity
El Paso Chihuahuas Baseball AAA PCL Southwest University Park 9,500
El Paso Locomotive FC Soccer USLC Southwest University Park 9,500
El Paso Rhinos Ice Hockey WSHL Sierra Providence Event Center 5,250
El Paso Coyotes Indoor Soccer MASL El Paso County Coliseum 6,500
UTEP Miners Football NCAA Division I FBS Football C-USA Sun Bowl Stadium 51,500
UTEP Basketball Men NCAA Division I Basketball C-USA Don Haskins Center 12,000
UTEP Basketball Women NCAA Division I Basketball C-USA Don Haskins Center 12,000
UTEP Softball NCAA Division I Softball C-USA Helen of Troy Field 607
UTEP Track and Field NCAA Division I Track and Field C-USA Kidd Field 15,000
UTEP Women's Soccer NCAA Division I Soccer C-USA University Field 500
EPCC Baseball NJCAA Division I Baseball WJCAC EPCC Baseball Field 520

Parks and recreation

The Wyler Aerial Tramway in the Franklin Mountains is the only commercial tramway in the state of Texas.
Bouldering on North Mountain at Hueco Tanks

El Paso is home to the largest urban park in the nation. [93] The Franklin Mountains State Park, with its more than 24,248 acres (9,813 ha), is completely located within the city limits. It is considered a small range (23 miles long, 3 miles (4.8 km) wide) that extends from city north into New Mexico. [94] It is home to the highest peak in the county North Franklin Mountain at 7,192 feet.The park is open year-round for recreation including hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, scenic driving and views of the city.

The Wyler Aerial Tramway is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is in the Franklin Mountains State Park. The tramway complex covers 196 acres (0.79 km2) on the east side of the Franklin Mountains. The gondolas travel along two 2,600-foot (790 m) ​1 38-diameter steel cables to Ranger Peak, 5,632 feet (1,717 m) above sea level. The trip takes about four minutes and lifts riders 940 feet (290 m) above the boarding area.The tramway was built in 1959 by KTSM radio to aid in the construction of a transmitter tower. Karl O. Wyler managed the project. First opening to the public as the El Paso Aerial Tramway, the facility provided rides from 1960 to 1986, when high liability insurance costs forced the tram to stop public operations. The tram was only used to service the transmitter towers. Wyler donated the tramway for public use in his will. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department accepted the donation in 1997 and renovated and re-opened the tramway to the public in 2001.

Hueco Tanks State Historic Site is a Texas historic site in the Hueco Tanks area, approximately 32 miles (51 km) northeast of downtown El Paso and just west of the Hueco Mountains. The park is popular for recreation such as birdwatching and bouldering, and is culturally and spiritually significant to many Native Americans. This significance is partially manifested in the pictographs (rock paintings) that can be found throughout the region, many of which are thousands of years old. [95] Hueco Tanks is also widely regarded as one of the best areas in the world for bouldering ( rock climbing, low enough to attempt without ropes for protection), unique for its rock type, the concentration and quality of the climbing, and after which the Hueco bouldering grades are named. In any given climbing season, which generally lasts from October through March, it is common for climbers from across Europe, Asia, and Australia to visit the park. Since implementation of the Public Use Plan, following a brief closure of the entire park due to the park service's inability to manage the growing crowds of international climbers, volunteer or commercial guides are required to access more than 2/3 of the park's area. Only North Mountain is accessible without guides, and then only for about 70 people at any given time. The park offers camping and showers for a small fee a day or, as is most popular for climbers, the nearby Hueco Rock Ranch offers camping where climbers can relax and socialize.

The Chamizal National Memorial is a 54.90-acre (22.22 ha) memorial park that serves primarily as a cultural center and contains art galleries, a theater, and an amphitheatre. A museum detailing the history of the Mexico–U.S. border is located inside the visitor center.

The city is also home to 242 municipal parks. [96] [97]

Botanical gardens

The Contemplative Garden at the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.
  • The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens (CDG) display the flora of the Chihuahuan Desert and adjacent regions in the United States and Mexico. The Gardens were formally dedicated in September 1999 and contain over 625 different species of plants, comprising one of the largest captive assemblages of Chihuahuan Desert flora in the world. [98]
  • The El Paso Municipal Rose Garden (officially named the All-American Rose Selection (AARS) public garden) is one of over 100 certified gardens within the United States. There are over 1,900 rosebushes with 500 varieties. The wrought-iron fenced garden has wide walkways with handicap accessibility, raised beds, a waterfall, and trees and shrubs. Several new rose varieties are planted each year, and after two years the highest-rated are named and receive the AARS symbol. [99]
  • Feather Lake is a 43.5-acre (17.6 ha) wildlife sanctuary based on a 40-acre (16 ha) wetland built by the City of El Paso in 1969 as a stormwater-retention basin. Since 1976, the El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society has leased this land from the city and managed it for wildlife. Over 200 different species of birds, especially those associated with water, have been observed at the sanctuary. Fauna residing there include muskrats, spiny softshell turtles, pond sliders, and Trans-Pecos striped whiptail lizards. [100]
  • Keystone Heritage Park comprises an Archaic-period archaeological site, wetlands, and a desert botanical garden. The 4,500-year-old site is one of the oldest villages in the United States. The wetlands are home to many birds, and over 200 species have been spotted there on their seasonal migrations. The botanical garden features a variety of native plants, and includes a pavilion and a replica of an Archaic period brush hut. The newest component, The Chihuahuan Desert Experience, is a work in progress that will allow visitors to stroll the 900-mile (1,400 km) length of desert over a 17-acre (6.9 ha) recreation of the plant indigenous life. [101]
  • Rio Bosque Wetlands is a 372-acre (151 ha) city park, managed by the Center for Environmental Resource Management of the University of Texas at El Paso, which began restoration efforts in 1998. In the fall and winter, water flows through the park along the route of the river before it was confined within levees in the 1930s. Many animals and birds have returned to the area as the restoration proceeds, and over 200 species of birds have been sighted. [102]

Golf courses

The metro area has 16 golf courses including Butterfield Trail Golf Club, the only public premium daily fee Tom Fazio designed golf course in the state of Texas. [103] It was ranked No. 1 in Texas and No. 3 in the Nation on Golfweek's 2013 Best Municipal Golf Courses. [104] Other golf courses found in the county include:

  • Ascarate Golf Course [105]
  • Coronado Country Club [106]
  • El Paso Country Club [107]
  • Horizon City Golf Course [108]
  • Lone Star Golf Club [109]
  • Painted Dunes Desert Golf Club [110]
  • Vista Hills Country Club [111]
  • Underwood Golf Complex [112]

Next door in Dona Ana County there are the following golf courses:


El Paso City Council [119]

• City Council is officially nonpartisan

Peter Svarzbein District 1, Westside
Alexsandra Annello District 2, West Central
Cassandra Hernandez District 3, East Central
Dr. Sam Morgan District 4, Northeast
Isabel Salcido District 5, Eastside
Claudia Ordaz District 6, East Valley
Henry Rivera District 7, Mid Valley
Cissy Lizarraga District 8, Southside & Upper Valley


The city government is officially nonpartisan. Mayors and city council members are elected for four year terms and may not be elected more than twice or serve for more than 10 years in their respective offices. [120] Municipal elections are currently held in May in odd-numbered years, but a voter-approved charter amendment will change this to November in even-numbered years, beginning in 2018. [121] Council members elected in 2015 will serve through December 2018, and council members and the mayor elected in 2017 will serve through December 2020. Those elected in 2018 and 2020 will serve regular four-year terms. [122]

The city operates under a council–manager form of government. Power is concentrated in the eight-member elected city council and mayor, who hire a manager to carry out its directives and oversee the delivery of public services. The current city manager is Tommy Gonzalez [123] and the current mayor of El Paso is Dee Margo, who was elected to the office in 2017. [124]

The terms of Mayor Margo and Councillors Annello, Hernandez, Morgan, and Rivera will end in 2020. The terms of Lizarraga, Ordaz, Salcido, and Svarzbein will end in 2022.

Ordaz has been on the council since 2014, Svarzbein since 2015, Annello, Hernandez, Lizarraga, Morgan, and Rivera since 2017, and Salcido since 2018. Due to the term limits clause of the city charter Ordaz and Svarzbein are ineligible for reelection. All other councilors and the mayor are eligible for reelection.


The El Paso County Judge is Ricardo Samaniego, and the county commissioners are Carlos Leon (Precinct 1), David Stout (Precinct 2), Vince Perez (Precinct 3), and Carl Robinson (Precinct 4). The commissioners and the county judge are Democrats.

Leon and Perez were first elected to their positions in 2012, were re-elected in 2016, and have been in office since 2013. Stout was first elected to his position in 2014, and has been in office since 2015. Samaniego and Robinson were first elected in 2018, and have been in office since 2019.


The El Paso metropolitan area is represented in the Texas State House by Democrats Cesar Blanco, Art Fierro, Mary Gonzalez, Joe Moody, and Lina Ortega, and in the State Senate by José R. Rodríguez (D-El Paso). [125]

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates the El Paso I District Parole Office in the city. The El Paso II District Parole Office is in an unincorporated area east of Horizon City. [126]


El Paso City and County vote overwhelmingly Democratic, like most of the Texas–Mexico border area and urban Texas. [127]

In the United States House of Representatives, most of El Paso is part of Texas's 16th congressional district represented by Democrat Veronica Escobar. A small sliver in the eastern part of the city is part of Texas's 23rd congressional district, represented by Republican Will Hurd. [128] The current U.S. Senators for Texas are Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).


UTEP's College of Engineering building

El Paso is home to the University of Texas at El Paso, the largest public university in the region. UTEP was ranked as the 7th best university in Washington Monthly's 2013 National University Rankings, just behind Stanford and ahead of Harvard. [129] Also, the university's School of Engineering is the nation's top producer of Hispanic engineers with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. [130]

El Paso is also home to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech College of Architecture at El Paso, Brightwood College, Park University, Southwest University, Webster University and the University of Phoenix. Also due to its proximity, many El Paso students attend New Mexico State University where the school offers in-state tuition to El Paso County residents. [131]

The El Paso Community College serves most of the area as well as several technical schools and for profit schools. El Pasoans also have access to the Doña Ana Community College with campuses in Sunland Park, Anthony and Chaparral, New Mexico: This community college is a part of the New Mexico State University system.

El Paso area students primarily attend public schools in four school districts, El Paso Independent School District, Ysleta Independent School District, Socorro Independent School District and Canutillo Independent School District, although there are nine independent school districts in the county. Numerous accredited private preparatory schools also serve El Paso students. These include various pre-high school religious (Christian, Catholic, Jewish) affiliates and Montessori schools, Cathedral High School, Loretto Academy, Father Yermo High School, Lydia Patterson Institute, Faith Christian Academy, El Paso Jewish Academy, Rose of Sharon Christian Academy, Zion Lutheran Day School and Radford School. The University of El Paso offers the country's only bilingual M.F.A. creative writing program. [132]

El Paso is home to bi-national economic development groups; the Hub of Human Innovation and Technology Hub. The industry groups' tertiary vocational programs, give workforce training in automation, robotics and AI technology. [133] [134]

Public libraries

The El Paso Public Library serves the needs of the public in El Paso, TX. It consists of 12 branches, a bookmobile, a mobile computer classroom and a mobile outreach unit (Kidsmobile). It also has multiple outreach services available. [135]



The main newspapers are the English-language daily El Paso Times, founded in 1881; the Spanish-language daily El Diario de El Paso, and the online newspaper El Paso Herald Post started in 2015. The original and defunct El Paso Herald Post was also founded in 1881 as the El Paso Herald, which then merged with the El Paso Post in 1931. The paper was shut down in 1997. El Paso Matters is an online newspaper. [136]

Weekly and niche magazines:

  • El Paso Inc [137]
  • El Paso Scene [138]
  • La Polaka [139]
  • Jrznoticias [140]
  • The City Magazine [141]
  • The Prospector, published by the University of Texas at El Paso [142]
  • Tejano Tribune, published by El Paso Community College [143]

Radio stations

Radio stations from Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, can also be heard within the El Paso market.


El Paso was the largest city in the United States without a PBS television station within the city limits until 1978. El Paso viewers had to watch channel 22, KRWG, from Las Cruces until 1978. In fact, the city had only three English-speaking channels and two Spanish-language channels (channel 2 and channel 5) from Juarez, and cable TV subscribers in the 1970s and 1980s could receive four Los Angeles independent channels: KTLA, KHJ, KTTV and KCOP as well as Spanish-language stations KMEX of Los Angeles and KWEX of San Antonio usually sharing the same cable channel slot. Over time, as more television stations signed on, more cable channels were added and those stations added network affiliations, the Los Angeles and San Antonio stations disappeared from the lineup. The last to be removed was KTLA in the fall of 2006 as a consequence of the WB-UPN merger into The CW, when KVIA-TV launched a digital subchannel with the network's programming.[ citation needed]

In popular culture



El Paso Children's Hospital at the Medical Center of the Americas

El Paso is the medical hub of West Texas and Southern New Mexico, hosting numerous state-of-the-art medical centers. Some of the city's top hospitals include University Medical Center, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Sierra Medical Center, Las Palmas Medical Center, Del Sol Medical Center, Sierra Providence East Medical Center, El Paso Children's Hospital, [144] and Providence Memorial Hospital. University Medical Center is the only level I trauma center in the region. William Beaumont Army Medical Center will be replaced by a new state of the art $1.2 billion Fort Bliss Replacement Hospital [145] expected to open in 2020. [146] El Paso's newest hospital, The Hospitals of Providence Transmountain Campus opened in Northwest El Paso on January 27, 2017. The 106-bed teaching hospital is a collaboration between Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and The Hospitals of Providence.

El Paso is also home to the Medical Center of the Americas, an integrated complex of medical facilities anchored by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, University Medical Center, the El Paso Psychiatric Center and by the El Paso Children's Hospital. It is also the site to the Cardwell Collaborative biomedical research building, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine is expected to open in 2021 in the MCA area as well.


Hotel Bristol and the Union Depot at El Paso, Texas (postcard, circa 1912)

El Paso is served by El Paso International Airport and Amtrak via the historic Union Depot.

Several roads and highways connect El Paso, including Interstate 10, US Highway 54 (known locally as "54", the "North-South Freeway" or officially as the Patriot Freeway), Spur 601 (Liberty Expressway), US Highway 180 and US Highway 62 (Montana Avenue), US Highway 85 (Paisano Drive), Loop 375, Loop 478 (Copia Street-Pershing Drive-Dyer Street), numerous Texas Farm-to-Market roads (a class of state highway commonly abbreviated to FM) and the city's original thoroughfare, State Highway 20, the eastern portion of which is known locally as Alameda Avenue (formerly US Highway 80). Texas 20 also includes portions of Texas Avenue in central El Paso, Mesa Street from Downtown to the West Side, and Doniphan Drive on the West Side. Northeast El Paso is connected to West El Paso by Transmountain Road (Loop 375). The city also shares four international bridges and one railbridge with Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. In 2009, El Paso was home to number 52, number 98, and number 100 of the 100 most congested roads in Texas, which are, respectively: North Zaragoza Road between Sun Fire Boulevard and Interstate 10; Lee Trevino Drive between Montana Avenue and Interstate 10; and Interstate 10 between Patriot Freeway and Loop 375. [147]

In 2009, 79.8% of El Paso (city) commuters drive to work alone. The 2009 mode share for El Paso (city) commuters are 10.3% for carpooling, 2.4% for transit, 2.5% for walking, and .2% for cycling. [148] In 2016, Walk Score ranked El Paso as the 32nd most walkable of the 50 largest U.S. cities, rating it "car-dependent". [149] The city of El Paso has a slightly lower than average percentage of households without a car. In 2015, 7.4 percent of El Paso households lacked a car, and increased to 8.4 percent in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. El Paso averaged 1.82 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8. [150]


Airport Security Concourse at the El Paso International Airport

Passenger rail

Major highways

IH-10–US-54 Interchange
  • US 62.svg US Highway 62: Santa Fe Street south of Paisano Drive concurrently runs with US 85, Paisano Drive east of Santa Fe Street to Montana Avenue, then Montana Avenue concurrently with US 180.
  • US 85.svg US Highway 85: Santa Fe Street south of Paisano Drive concurrently runs with US 62 and Paisano Drive west of Santa Fe Street to I-10.
  • US 180.svg US Highway 180: Montana Avenue is a bypass route to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to the east, and Flagstaff, Arizona to the west.
  • Texas 20.svg SH 20: Alameda Avenue (formerly US 80), Texas Avenue, Mesa Street and Doniphan Drive
  • Texas 178.svg SH 178: Artcraft Road in northwest El Paso extends from Interstate 10 west to the New Mexico state line, at which point it becomes New Mexico Highway 136, the Pete V. Domenici International Highway.
  • Texas Loop 375.svg Loop 375: Texas Highway Loop 375 encircles the city of El Paso. Between Interstate 10 and Fort Bliss, including the stretch that crosses the Franklin Mountains via Smuggler's Pass, it is TransMountain Road. In the Ft. Bliss Military Reservation between northeast and east El Paso, it is officially the Purple Heart Memorial Highway. In east El Paso, the north- and south-bound sections are known as Joe Battle Boulevard, or simply as "the Loop". South of I-10, in the east and westbound portion, it is known as the Cesar Chavez Border Highway, a four-lane expressway which is located along the Mexico–U.S. border between downtown El Paso and the Ysleta area.
  • Texas Spur 601.svg Spur 601: Once known as the Inner Loop, it was officially named the Liberty Expressway by the El Paso City Council in April 2010 at the request of then Fort Bliss commander Maj. Gen. Howard Bromberg. [153] It was fully completed on April 27, 2011; [154] it connects the Patriot Freeway ( US 54) and Biggs Army Airfield to the Purple Heart Memorial Highway ( Loop 375).
  • Texas FM 76.svg North Loop Road, as well as Delta Drive between North Loop Road and Alameda Avenue (Texas Highway 20)
  • Texas FM 659.svg Zaragoza Road, running more or less north from the Ysleta International Bridge to US 62–180 (Montana Avenue), it lies mostly in east El Paso.
  • Texas FM 3255.svg Texas Farm-to-Market Road 3255 runs north from US 54 to the New Mexico state line in northeast El Paso and bears the city street name Martin Luther King Boulevard.
  • Border West Expressway under construction (as of 2018), parallel to I-10 through downtown and the west side.

Mass transit

The Sun Metro Mass Transit System operates a system of medium- to large-capacity natural gas-powered buses all around the city of El Paso. [155]

El Paso County Transit makes trips with small-capacity buses mainly in the eastern El Paso area.

In 2011, Sun Metro was named the most outstanding public transit system of the year in all of North America for a mid-size transit system by the American Public Transportation Association.

On September 1, 2009, NMDOT Park and Ride began operating commuter bus service to and from Las Cruces, New Mexico. [156]

Historically, El Paso and Ciudad Juarez had a shared streetcar system with a peak electrified route mileage of 64 miles (103 km) in 1920. The first electrified line across the Rio Grande, which opened on January 11, 1902, was preceded by a network that relied on animal labor. The system quickly spread into residential and industrial areas of El Paso. In 1913, a 12-mile (19 km) interurban line was built to Ysleta. At the close of 1943, the holding company El Paso Electric sold its subsidiary, the El Paso Electric Railway Company and its Mexican counterpart, to one of National City Lines' subsidiaries. This resulted in the formation of El Paso City Lines, whose domestic streetcar lines were replaced by buses in 1947. [157] The international streetcar line which crossed the border via the Stanton Street Bridge continued to operate until 1973. In 1977, El Paso City Lines and two other bus companies were bought by the municipality and merged to form Sun City Area Transit (SCAT). In 1987, SCAT restyled itself Sun Metro. [158]

El Paso Streetcar

The El Paso Streetcar is a streetcar system that opened for service on November 9, 2018, and uses a fleet of restored PCC streetcars [159] that had served the city's previous system until its closure in 1974. [160] The system covers 4.8 miles (7.7 km) [161] [162] (round trip) in two loops from Downtown El Paso to University of Texas at El Paso. The system was constructed under the authority of the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority, but when the major construction was completed, around spring 2018, it was transferred to Sun Metro, for operation and maintenance. [160] As of 2016, construction of the system was projected to cost $97 million. [161] In 2019, it was reported that the system is losing money and that the number of people using it only reached half its goal in the inaugural year. [163]

International border crossings

The Bridge of the Americas as seen from El Paso, Texas in June 2016.

The first bridge to cross the Rio Grande at El Paso del Norte was built in the time of Nueva España, over 250 years ago, from wood hauled in from Santa Fe. [164] Today, this bridge is honored by the modern Santa Fe Street Bridge, and Santa Fe Street in downtown El Paso.

Several bridges serve the El Paso–Ciudad Juárez area:

The city collects tolls at its international bridges [165], except the Bridge of the Americas, which is free. All bridges are open year-round. [166]

See also



  1. ^ Official records for El Paso kept January 1879 to June 1947 at downtown and at El Paso Int'l since July 1947. For more information, see Threadex

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External links

International areas with comparable climate: Iraq; Iran; Sahel region in Africa

Hill Country

Monthly normal high and low temperatures (°F) for Hill Country cities [1]
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Austin 60/40 65/44 73/51 79/58 85/65 91/71 95/73 96/73 90/69 81/60 70/49 62/42
San Antonio 62/39 67/43 74/50 80/57 86/66 91/72 95/74 95/74 90/69 82/59 71/49 64/41
Waco 57/33 62/38 70/46 78/53 84/63 91/70 96/74 96/73 90/66 79/57 68/45 59/36

The Texas Hill Country, or central Texas is shaped by its many rivers and hills. The climate is semi-arid west of Brady through Junction to Rocksprings, but it is sub-humid east and south of that area; both areas have hot summers and mild winters with occasional cold spells. Humidity is high during the warm season, though afternoons especially further northwest can see a wind shift and drier air before Gulf air returns after sunset. The vegetation is both broadleaf evergreen and deciduous in the river valleys, and coniferous where there is greater elevation. Dry savannas, open woodlands, and shorter grasses dominate the northwest, while closed woodlands and moist savannas mix with taller grasses in the east and south. In a single year the region can receive up to 48 inches (1,200 mm) of precipitation, and flooding is common near rivers and in low-lying areas, while drier years might receive only 12 inches (300 mm) of precipitation; average annual precipitation ranges from 21 inches (530 mm) in western sections up to 35 inches (890 mm) in southeast. The wettest months of the year are April and May. [2]

International areas with comparable climate: Israel; Lebanon

Piney Woods

Monthly normal high and low temperatures (°F) for various Piney Woods locations [1]
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Dallas 55/36 61/41 69/49 77/56 84/65 92/73 96/77 96/76 89/69 79/58 66/47 57/39
Fort Worth 55/31 61/36 68/44 76/52 83/61 91/69 97/72 96/72 89/65 79/55 67/44 58/35
Galveston 62/50 64/52 70/58 75/65 81/72 87/78 89/80 89/79 87/76 80/68 71/59 64/52
Houston 63/45 67/48 74/55 79/61 86/68 91/74 94/75 93/75 89/72 82/62 73/53 65/47
Port Arthur 61/43 65/46 72/52 78/59 84/66 89/72 92/74 92/73 88/69 80/60 71/51 64/45

The Piney Woods is the eastern region of Texas and is within the humid subtropical climate zone. It receives the most rainfall; more than 60 inches (1,500 mm) annually in the far east. [1] This is due to the gulf currents that carry humid air to the region, where it condenses and precipitates out in the vicinity of sea breeze fronts as well as when extratropical cyclones move by. While coastal sections see the most cloudy days statewide and year-round, northern sections see the most clear days during the summer. [3] The wettest months of the year are April and May. [2] The area is prone to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes when the proper conditions exist, generally in the springtime. Hurricanes also strike the region, the most disastrous of which was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. [4] More recently Hurricane Rita pummeled the Golden Triangle of southeast Texas. [5] The higher humidity of the region amplifies the feeling of heat during the summer. During winter and spring along the immediate coast, temperatures are kept cool by relatively cool gulf waters. Dense advection fog can form when warm air moves over the cool shelf waters during February and March, stopping ship traffic for days.

International areas with comparable climate: Taiwan; Philippines; much of the Southern parts of Queensland, Australia


Monthly normal high and low temperatures (°F) for southern Texas cities [1]
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Brownsville 69/50 72/53 78/59 82/65 87/72 91/75 92/75 93/75 89/73 84/66 77/59 70/52
Corpus Christi 66/46 70/49 76/56 81/62 86/69 90/74 93/74 93/75 90/72 84/64 75/55 68/48
Del Rio 63/40 68/44 76/52 83/59 89/67 94/72 96/74 96/74 91/69 82/61 71/49 63/41
Laredo 68/44 73/48 82/56 89/63 95/70 100/74 102/75 99/75 93/71 86/63 76/53 68/45
Victoria 63/44 67/47 73/54 79/60 85/68 90/73 93/75 94/75 90/70 83/62 73/52 65/45

The region of South Texas includes the semiarid ranch country and the wetter Rio Grande Valley. Considered to be the southernmost tip of the American Great Plains region, the inland region has rainfall that is similar to that of the Northern Plains. The coastal areas are nearly warm most of the year due to currents of the Gulf of Mexico. Summers are hot and humid. Rain in the coastal region is more abundant than in the inland region, and subtropical forests line the Rio Grande. The wettest months of the year are April and May in western areas, but approaching the Gulf Coast, September becomes the year's wettest month on average. This owes to the threat from tropical weather systems, including hurricanes, which can bring torrential rains of 5-10+ inches in one or two days. The resulting September monthly rainfall maximum prevails, for example, at Corpus Christi, South Padre Island and Brownsville. [2] Inland, where it is drier, ranches dominate the landscape, characterized by thick spiny brush and grasslands. The winters in the inland region are variable, but usually mild. Snow is a rare occurrence due to the lack of humidity in winter, and the summers are for the most part hot and dry, but at times can be humid when winds come off the Gulf of Mexico. Tornadoes can occur in this region, but are less frequent than in other parts of the state.

The southernmost part of the state falls just within the tropical climate classification. Occasional years of above average temperatures result in an abundance of tropical flora in the lower Rio Grande Valley, typical of a Tropical savanna climate.

International areas with comparable climate: India; Vietnam; Thailand

Cold and snow

Northern and western sections of the state average snowfall annually due to their colder average readings each winter. For one week in February 1956, a snow storm of historic proportions struck northern Texas. The maximum amount measured was 61 inches (150 cm) at Vega with Plainview receiving 24 inches (61 cm) in one day. [6] El Paso, in Far West Texas, received 22.4 in (57 cm) of snow during a 24-hour period December 13–14, 1987. [7] For central and southern sections, snowfall is considerably more unusual. In February 1895, a large area of southeastern Texas received over 12 inches (30 cm) of snow, with peak amounts near 30 inches (76 cm) at Port Arthur. [8] More recently around Christmas of 2004, up to 13 inches (33 cm) of snow fell along the middle coast, with the maximum occurring at Victoria. [9]

The worst cold snap to occur statewide occurred during the last half of December in 1983. Four stations recorded their longest continuous readings at or below 32 °F (0 °C) on record. At Austin, the temperature remained at or below freezing for 139 hours. At Abilene, the period at or below freezing totaled 202 hours. Lubbock saw temperatures at or below freezing for 207 hours. The Dallas-Fort Worth airport measured temperatures at or below freezing for a total of 296 consecutive hours. Snow which fell on December 14 and 15 across northern Texas stayed on the ground until New Year's Day of 1984. [10]

Severe weather

Thunderstorms are very common in Texas, especially the eastern and northern portion. Texas is part of the Tornado Alley section of the country. The state experiences the most tornadoes in the Union, an average of 139 a year. These strike most frequently in North Texas and the Panhandle. [11] Tornadoes in Texas generally occur in April, May, and June. [12]


Damage from the 1900 Galveston hurricane, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, was extensive.

Texas's position at the northwestern end of the Gulf of Mexico makes it vulnerable to hurricanes. Some of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history have impacted Texas. A hurricane in 1875 killed approximately 400 people in Indianola, followed by another hurricane in 1886 that destroyed the town, which was at the time the most important port city in the state. This allowed Galveston to take over as the chief port city, but it was subsequently devastated by a hurricane in 1900 that killed approximately 8,000 people (possibly as many as 12,000), making it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Other devastating Texan hurricanes include the 1915 Galveston Hurricane, Hurricane Carla in 1961, Hurricane Beulah in 1967, Hurricane Alicia in 1983, Hurricane Rita in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008. [13]

The climatology of where tropical cyclone strikes are most likely within the state appears to be changing. In the early 1980s, the most favored region during the previous century was the middle coast. [2] However, that region of the coastline has been rarely impacted since the 1960s, and a recent study indicates that the most vulnerable location to a tropical cyclone strike since 1851 is the upper coast, which has received 56 percent of all tropical cyclone landfalls, of which 66 percent originate from the Gulf of Mexico. This is in contrast with Louisiana and the lower Texan coast, where only 39 percent of the landfalls are from tropical cyclones of Gulf of Mexico origin. [14]


Annual average precipitation across Texas

The most serious threat from tropical cyclones for Texans is from flooding. The worst aspect about tropical cyclones is that the weaker they are, the more efficient they can be at producing heavy rains and catastrophic flooding. Systems with sprawling circulations, such as Hurricane Beulah, also tend to make good rainmakers. [15] Slow moving systems, such as Tropical Storm Amelia (1978) and Hurricane Harvey (2017) can produce significant rainfall. [16] Tropical cyclones from the eastern Pacific and Atlantic Basins can impact the Lone Star State. [17] In general, flooding across Texas is more common during the spring and early autumn months, and it can also be due to nearby stationary fronts interacting with strong upper level cyclones. [18] The most likely location for floods statewide is the Balcones Escarpment, an area of steep elevation gradient in central Texas at the boundary between the Edwards Plateau and the coastal plain. [19]

Extreme temperatures

The highest temperature ever measured in Texas was 120 °F (48.9 °C), recorded on August 12, 1936 in Seymour, during the 1936 North American Heatwave, and again on June 28, 1994 in Monahans. The lowest temperature ever measured in Texas was −23 °F (−30.6 °C), recorded on February 8, 1933 in Seminole. [20]

Climate data for Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 98
Record low °F (°C) −22
Source: [21] [22]

El Niño–Southern Oscillation

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle is a huge impact on the weather in Texas. During the El Niño phase, the jet stream is located west-to-east across the southern portion of the United States. Therefore, winters in Texas are colder and receive more snowfall than normal. Texas is also less likely to get impacted by hurricanes due to the increased wind shear across the Atlantic. Spring to early summer yields increased rainfall especially where a low pressure system is located over the Four Corners region or northern Mexico which yields monsoon-like climate (which was exacerbated during the 2015 and 2016 spring season where the City of Houston was the hardest hit as if the climate was similar to Mumbai or Kolkata, India with heavy rainfall usually from moisture from the Gulf of Mexico). During the opposite phase, La Niña, the jet stream is much further north, therefore winter is milder and drier than normal. Hurricanes are more likely to impact Texas during La Niña due to decreased wind shear in the Atlantic. Droughts in Texas are much more likely during La Niña. The 2010-11 La Niña is mostly to blame for one of the worst droughts in Texas history.[ citation needed]

Climate change

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the climate in Texas is already changing due to anthropogenic climate change. [23] As of 2016, most of the state had already warmed by 1.5 degrees since the previous century because of global warming. [23] Texas is expected to have a wide range of environmental impacts, including rising sea levels, increased extreme weather and wildfires, and pressure on water resources. [23]

The primary factors in Texas' greenhouse gas emissions are the state's large number of coal power plants and the state's refining and manufacturing industries which provides the bulk of the United States' petroleum products. [24] Texas accounts for 41% of crude oil production, 25% of natural gas, and 31% of refining capacity, and has some of the highest potential for sustainable power, producing 28% of wind for the United States. [25]



  1. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference weatherbyday was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference Bomar was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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  4. ^ Eric S. Blake; Edward N. Rappaport; Christopher W. Landsea (2007). "The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones From 1851 to 2006" (PDF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 23, 2007.
  5. ^ Richard D. Knabb; Daniel P. Brown; Jamie R. Rhome. "Hurricane Rita" (PDF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 26, 2007.
  6. ^ George W. Bomar (1983). Texas Weather. p.  164. ISBN  0-292-78053-2.
  7. ^ National Weather Service Forecast Office, El Paso, Texas. "All time heavy snowfall events for El Paso". National Weather Service.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
  8. ^ National Weather Service Forecast Office, Lake Charles, Louisiana (2010). "Snow Climatology for Southeast Texas & Southwest Louisiana: All Measurable Snowfalls (1895-2010)". National Weather Service Southern Region Headquarters. Missing or empty |url= ( help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
  9. ^ National Weather Service Forecast Office, Houston/Galveston, Texas (December 25, 2004). "Public Information Statement". National Weather Service Southern Region Headquarters. Archived from the original on December 12, 2006. Retrieved December 1, 2006.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
  10. ^ George W. Bomar (1983). Texas Weather. p.  158. ISBN  0-292-78053-2.
  11. ^ National Climatic Data Center (2005). "Average Number of Tornadoes, 1953-2004". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved October 24, 2006.
  12. ^ Weather from the Handbook of Texas Online Accessed July 22, 2008
  13. ^ Eric S. Blake, Edward N. Rappaport, Christopher W. Landsea (April 15, 2007). "The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones From 1851 to 2006" (PDF). National Weather Service: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 2, 2008.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
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