This story has been updated with final July numbers from the National Weather Service.

July was El Paso’s hottest month in more than 130 years of weather records, the latest example of the impact of climate change on the Chihuahuan Desert.

The average temperature for the month was 88.9 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service. That matches June 1994 for the highest average monthly temperature ever recorded in El Paso. Our hottest previous July was an average of 88.7 degrees in 2016.

El Paso weather records go back to 1887. Four of the nine hottest months on record in El Paso have come in the last three years — June 2018, July and August 2019, and July 2020. Fourteen of our 20 hottest months have occurred since 2005.

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The hottest day this month was July 13, when the high reached 110. On that day, El Paso Electric Co. customers set a new peak demand for electricity of approximately 2,173 megawatts. That was more than 9 percent higher than the previous peak demand. Company officials said it was a peak demand it hadn’t expected to reach until 2026, based on growth projections and previous usage patterns.

In mid-July, the city government temporarily re-opened recreation and senior centers closed by the COVID-19 pandemic to serve as cooling centers for people in need of relief. The cooling centers continue to operate.

El Paso topped 100 degrees on 21 of 31 days in July. That includes 18 straight days above 100 from July 3-20, the third-longest run of triple-digit days in El Paso weather records that go back to 1887. El Paso’s longest streak of consecutive 100-degree days was 23 in June and July of 1994.

Nights were especially warm in July. The low temperature didn’t fall below 75 degrees in the 13 days from July 8-20. The only other time that El Paso has gone that many days without dipping below 75 was in the summer of 1994.

From 1887 to 1999, the average July temperature for El Paso was 82 degrees degrees. From 2000 to 2020, the July average has been 84.5 degrees.

August is beginning with temperatures in the upper 90s today and Sunday, then reaching 100 or higher through the workweek, according to forecasts.

Cover photo by Alex Briseño

Disclosure: El Paso Electric Co. is a financial supporter of El Paso Matters.

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986.