Does it snow in El Paso Texas? El Paso, in western Texas, is a bustling frontier metropolis with American and Mexican influences.
The city barely sees clouds under the desert sun. In such a dry climate, humidity ranges from 15% to 50%.
El Paso’s climate and cultural mix create a unique scene on the borderlands. But many people often ask, “Is there snow in El Paso, Texas?”
Let’s find out more about it now.
Snow is extremely rare in El Paso but may still receive 2-3 inches per year.
More about El Paso and Its Climate
El Paso, Texas is in the east Chihuahuan Desert in the Basin and Range region.
To its north, the city rises into the Franklin Mountains. To the west is the beginning of the Mesilla Valley.
The basin and the mountains make El Paso’s topography unique, reflected in its climate. It is described as transitional, neither completely cold nor completely hot although it is still a desert.
Here are the average temperatures in El Paso throughout the year:
|Months||Avg Temp (F)|
The Weather in El Paso, Texas
The summer months in El Paso are hot, with temperatures averaging the high 90s in June, July, and August.
The nighttime temperatures drop to the lower 70s but bring little relief. It gets windy year-round. Wind Speeds over 50 mph, gusting at 70 isn’t unusual. The city often gets hit by huge sand and dust storms.
Average High and Low Temperatures in El Paso
The El Paso weather is influenced by the North American Monsoon, a pattern of thunderstorms and rain that covers much of the American southwest.
There is rain all year round but the vast majority of it falls between June and September, about 8.8 inches each year on average. And it has an impact on high and low temperatures in El Paso, Texas.
|Months||Avg Low (F)||Avg High (F)|
Fact: El Paso sees around 300 days of sunshine on average per year giving it the nickname ‘Sun City’, so the winters tend to be mild.
Does it Snow in El Paso Texas?
Yes, it snows in El Paso, but it is rare.
There have been years when El Paso has experienced so much snow it has brought the transport network to a standstill.
El Paso also experiences intense cold waves. In 1888 and 1899, cold, snow, and wind created blizzard conditions that seriously threatened life in El Paso and across much of America.
Fact: The 1888 snow event was dubbed the ‘Greatest One of All’ but its records fell to the ‘Great Snow’ of 1987.
How Often Does It Snow in El Paso Texas?
El Paso covers an area of 671.46 square miles. The city is at an elevation of 3750ft. Its highest point is the peak of the Frankin Mountain, 7192ft.
Despite the cold, it only snows in the city center occasionally whereas the suburbs and mountains see snow almost every winter. Snow season runs from November to February although there was snow in March in 2022.
El Paso does not experience significant snow every year. Deep snow in the arid dry conditions of a desert is a rare event but it has happened.
|Year||Dec 8-10 1960||Dec 25-31 1982||April 4-7th 1983||Dec 13-26 1987||Dec 25-26th 2015||Nov 24-25th 2007||Feb 3rd 2022|
Significant snow in El Paso, Texas, USA
How Much Snow Does El Paso, Texas Get Each Year?
On average El Paso gets just 3 inches of snow a year; the US average is 23. But, then El Paso only gets 43 days with any precipitation, rain, snow, sleet or hail.
Even at its elevation, it is not easy for El Paso to record its usual light flurries. With so little moisture in the air, it seldom accumulates in amounts that can be measured and it melts it fast in the desert sun.
Most years, the dry air prevents snow from forming over El Paso instead snow is carried to El Paso on Arctic winds that form deep lows that engulf huge areas of the USA.
Where Can You Find Snow in El Paso, Texas?
There is more likely to be snow at El Paso’s higher elevations.
El Paso does not sit on level ground. It rises into the Frankin Mountains and divides. The higher the area, the more likely it is to get snow as the cold masses find their way between and over the mountains.
The lowest elevation in Texas is at sea level on the Gulf of Mexico but the landscape changes dramatically moving inland.
Once past the flat coastal plain, the elevation rises steadily into the Texas Hills at its center. And there you might see snow.
Fact: Texas has wide featureless prairies and low mountains on its northwest and the Guadalupe, Santigo and Davis ranges in the Rockies to the west.
How is Winter in El Paso Texas?
Most years the winters in El Paso are cold but comfortable.
In normal years, January and February are usually the coldest months and January is the snowiest. But what makes El Paso unique is that its winter weather is capable of extremes.
In February 2011, after a flurry that melted temperatures plummeted causing the early closure of schools and offices.
Power plants failed as wires snapped the melted snow suddenly turned into ice and pipes froze threatening the city’s freshwater supply.
In February 2011 the highest winter temperature ever recorded was followed within hours by the coldest.
|Average Low oF||42||34||34.5||38.9|
|Record Low oF||-5||-8||-8||-1|
|Average Snow ins||0.5||1.3||0.8||0.2|
Why Is Snow Fall So Rare in El Paso, Texas?
Okay, so it is clear that El Paso does not get a lot of snow. But why is that?
Here are some possible explanations for this phenomenon:
El Paso is protected by its snug location at the base of the Frankin range.
Although only small at 23 miles long and 3 miles wide, they act as barriers to the cold air masses that move down the US from the Arctic.
This traps and forces them into the cold high altitudes up and over the peaks where they dump most of their snow.
The Low Humidity
The temperature is usually too high for snow in El Paso and when it does drop to freezing, most of the time, the air is too dry.
Snowflakes fall from the dendric region, a layer of the atmosphere where the temperature and humidity are ‘just right’ for droplets to crystallize and start falling.
As each snowflake passes through each of the atmospheric layers the snowflake melts if the temperature is above zero.
On its way down it can melt and refreeze many times, but it never becomes a new snowflake.
El Paso covers a huge area and like all the big cities, it produces its own heat. Although it isn’t evenly distributed the effect is significant enough to notice.
Its infrastructure holds onto the daytime heat so that even on a winter’s night some areas of El Paso, particularly those with more human activity, are much warmer than others.
The radiated heat puts a bubble around El Paso.
Although El Paso has a desert climate, Texas as a whole has a marine climate, and that prevents heavy snowfall.
Its weather is influenced by the onshore flow of warm air from the tropics but the extremes are attributed to El Niño.
Fact: In El Niño years warm seawater expands out into the ocean pushing the colder water with its colder wetter weather far inshore across the coastal plain to El Paso.
Does it snow in El Paso Texas? Yes, it does, but not a lot. Despite its permanent dry disposition, El Paso’s winter months occasionally dabble in snow, giving the city a short yet charming wintry sheen.
The occasional snowfall not only gives a welcome change of pace from the usual dry, sun-blasted landscape but also inspires awe in the hearts of locals and tourists alike.