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El Paso is having one of its hottest years ever — again


El Paso appears headed to one of its hottest years on record. If that happens, 2020 will join the four preceding years in that category.

Through November, El Paso’s average temperature for the year has been 70.1 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. If we have an average December, El Paso will finish the year with an average temperature of 68.3 degrees. That would be the second-hottest year in records that date back to 1887. 

With a slightly warmer-than-average December, 2020 will surpass 2017 as the warmest year on record in El Paso. December would have to be freakishly cold for the average temperature in 2020 to finish outside the top six for warmest years on record in El Paso.

A combination of climate change and the urban heat island effect has been driving up temperatures in El Paso over the past two decades. Ten of our 12 hottest years on record occurred between 2009 and 2019.

El Paso has set numerous hot temperature records so far in 2020.

  • July tied June 1994 as the hottest month ever recorded in El Paso.
  • El Paso had its hottest August on record, surpassing a record set a year earlier.
  • We had our second-hottest May and third-hottest November ever.
  • This spring (March through May for National Weather Service record-keeping purposes) was the second hottest ever in El Paso, behind only 2018.
  • The summer (June through August) also was the second hottest on record, behind only 1994.
  • The fall (September through November) was the third hottest on record, behind 2016 and 2017.

Cover photo: Masks, umbrellas and fluids were necessary for El Pasoans to cope this year with record August heat and the COVID-19 pandemic. (Claudia Tristán/El Paso Matters)

Robert Moore

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986. His work has received a number of top journalism honors including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Pulitzer Prize finalist and the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award. Moore’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, ProPublica, National Public Radio, The Guardian and other publications. He has been featured as an expert on border issues by CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBC and PBS.

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