El Paso could set a record of more than three consecutive weeks of 100-plus degree days if a respite of rain doesn’t materialize over the weekend ahead of July 4, according to local forecasts.  

After the El Paso area in the first half of June saw a mild early summer and the latest arrival of triple digit temperatures here since 2015, the city has since experienced 13 consecutive days of 100-degree heat. The high on Wednesday was 104. Thursday’s high will be 102.

The record in El Paso of 23 consecutive days above 100 degrees was set in 1994. Unless the city sees rain this weekend, it could be on course to match the 23-day triple digit record, said Zak Aronson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service’s El Paso office.   

“We might have a day just below 100 over the weekend. But after that point, it looks like we’re going to stay pretty hot. So there is a chance that we could come close to that (23 day) record, if we see at or above 100 through the weekend,” Aronson said.  

A bout of rain would likely cool El Paso off enough to break the string of triple-digit temperature days. But Aronson put the chance of rain here in the coming days at 10% to 15%. 

“The chances (for rain) do look pretty slim,” he said. “We’re just not going to have a whole lot of moisture.”

An NWS forecast for next week suggests El Paso will likely see above-average temperatures around the July 4 holiday, along with below-average precipitation. Dating back to 1887, the typical high temperature on July 4 in El Paso is 97 degrees, and the hottest Independence Day on record here was 106 degrees in 1980. 

For the rest of this summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration earlier this month produced a long-range forecast for July through September that predicted the El Paso area will see above-average temperatures over that time. 

NOAA’s forecast also predicted El Paso will likely see below-average precipitation and a drought  over the summer months. Aronson said El Paso will probably see slightly below average rainfall through the monsoon season this year.

There’s uncertainty in the longer-term forecasts, however. In May, NOAA issued a month-long forecast for June that predicted El Paso would see below-average temperatures this month. Instead, the city has seen nearly two-weeks of 100-degree heat, and average temperatures in May and June here have been about two degrees hotter than normal, according to the NWS. “Normal” temperatures refer to the averages recorded by the NWS annually from 1991-2020.

“Those three-month forecasts kind of give us an idea of what to expect,” Aronson said. “It’s the best guess of what the experts are thinking.”

While the seasonal forecasts predict a hot and dry summer in El Paso, Aronson said the region could see that shift over the winter. That’s because the El Niño weather pattern that meteorologists declared recently will likely bring more rain here over the winter.  

El Niño causes changes in ocean water temperatures, which shifts the Pacific Jet Stream south. That brings more moisture to the southern U.S., and leaves the northern portion of the country hotter and drier than normal. 

“The winter is more likely to be wetter here in El Paso,” Aronson said.

Diego Mendoza-Moyers is a reporter covering energy and the environment. An El Paso native, he has previously covered business for the San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union, and reported for the...