Does It Snow In El Paso, Texas?

With its location in the Chihuahuan Desert of far western Texas, many people assume El Paso never gets snow. But occasionally, El Paso does in fact receive snowfall during the winter months. Keep reading to learn more about El Paso’s snow patterns.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Snow is rare in El Paso, but measurable snowfall can occur a few times per decade when cold air from the north plunges into the region.

El Paso’s Desert Climate

El Paso, Texas is known for its desert climate, which is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, dry winters. This unique climate is influenced by its geographical location and the surrounding mountain ranges.

Hot, Dry Summers

During the summer months in El Paso, temperatures can soar, with average highs reaching the triple digits. The city experiences very little rainfall during this time, making it one of the driest regions in the United States.

The lack of humidity creates a hot, arid environment that can be challenging for some residents. However, the dry heat also means that El Paso enjoys plenty of sunshine, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and golfing.

According to the National Weather Service, El Paso receives an average of less than 10 inches of rainfall per year. The summer months are particularly dry, with July and August being the driest months. The lack of rainfall and high temperatures contribute to the desert-like conditions in the region.

Mild, Dry Winters

Unlike other parts of the country, El Paso experiences mild winters. Temperatures rarely drop below freezing, and snowfall is a rare occurrence. Instead, residents can expect sunny days and cool evenings during the winter months.

Although El Paso doesn’t typically see snow, it does experience occasional winter storms that bring in colder temperatures and some precipitation. However, these events are infrequent and often result in minimal snow accumulation that quickly melts away.

The average winter temperature in El Paso ranges from the mid-40s to the mid-60s Fahrenheit. This mild climate allows residents and visitors to continue enjoying outdoor activities throughout the year.

Average Annual Snowfall

When it comes to snowfall, El Paso, Texas is not a city that typically comes to mind. Located in the westernmost part of Texas, El Paso is known for its warm desert climate and sunny days. However, that doesn’t mean that snowfall never occurs in this region.

Let’s take a closer look at the average annual snowfall in El Paso.

Trace Amounts in a Typical Year

In a typical year, El Paso experiences trace amounts of snowfall. These are usually light flurries that quickly melt away and don’t accumulate on the ground. The city’s proximity to the Chihuahuan Desert and the Franklin Mountains creates a unique microclimate that makes it difficult for snow to stick around for long.

According to the National Weather Service, El Paso receives an average of less than 1 inch of snow per year. This is significantly lower than the national average snowfall of 26 inches per year. So, if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas in El Paso, you may have to rely on artificial snow or head to higher elevations.

Snow Every 2-3 Years

While snowfall is not a common occurrence in El Paso, it does happen every few years. On average, the city experiences a significant snowfall event every 2-3 years. These snowstorms can bring several inches of snow and may last for a day or two.

One notable snowstorm in El Paso’s history occurred in December 1987 when the city received over 22 inches of snow in just a few days. This rare event caused widespread excitement and disruption, as the city was unprepared for such a massive snowfall.

It’s safe to say that El Pasoans still talk about this historic snowstorm to this day.

Major Snowstorms Are Rare

While El Paso may see occasional snowfall, major snowstorms are extremely rare in this region. These are defined as snowstorms that bring significant amounts of snow and have a widespread impact on daily life.

El Pasoans are more likely to experience light snow showers or flurries rather than a full-blown snowstorm.

It’s important to note that El Paso’s snowfall patterns can vary from year to year. Climate change and other factors can influence the amount and frequency of snowfall in the region. So, while snow may be a rare occurrence in El Paso, it’s always a possibility during the winter months.

Snow Seasonality

El Paso, Texas is known for its warm and sunny climate, but that doesn’t mean it never sees snow. While snowfall is rare in this region, it does occur during certain times of the year.

December, January and February Snow

The winter months of December, January, and February are the most likely times to see snow in El Paso. Cold air masses from the north can occasionally bring precipitation in the form of snow to the area.

However, it’s important to note that snowfall amounts are usually quite low, with an average of only a few inches per year.

During these months, residents and visitors to El Paso can enjoy a picturesque winter wonderland, with snow-capped mountains providing a beautiful backdrop to the city. Snowfall in El Paso can create a sense of excitement and joy, as it is a rare occurrence in this part of Texas.

Early and Late Season Snow

While the winter months are the most common time for snowfall in El Paso, it is not unheard of for snow to occur in the early or late season. In November and March, when temperatures can still dip below freezing, El Paso may experience a few snow showers.

It is important to note that these early and late season snow events are less frequent and typically result in minimal accumulation. However, they can still add a touch of winter charm to the city and provide an opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy some winter activities.

For more information about El Paso’s weather patterns, you can visit the Weather Channel website, which provides detailed monthly weather data and forecasts for the area.

Historic El Paso Snowstorms

1895 Blizzard

In the winter of 1895, El Paso, Texas experienced one of the most severe snowstorms in its history. The blizzard hit the city on January 11th and lasted for several days. The storm brought heavy snowfall and strong winds, resulting in significant snow accumulation and dangerous conditions.

Streets were covered in several feet of snow, making transportation nearly impossible and causing widespread disruptions.

During this historic blizzard, El Pasoans had to rely on their resourcefulness and resilience to navigate through the snow-covered city. People used sleds to transport goods and even created makeshift skis to move around.

The community came together to clear the streets, helping one another and showing the true spirit of El Pasoans in the face of adversity.

1987 Big Snow

Another memorable snowstorm in El Paso occurred in 1987. Known as the “Big Snow,” this storm dumped a significant amount of snow on the city, surprising many residents who were not accustomed to such weather conditions.

The snowfall began on December 22nd and continued for several days, resulting in a winter wonderland that delighted both children and adults.

During the 1987 Big Snow, El Pasoans embraced the rare opportunity to engage in snow-related activities. Snowball fights, snowman building, and sledding became popular pastimes, bringing joy and laughter to the community.

Schools and businesses were forced to close temporarily, allowing families to spend quality time together and create lasting memories.

2021 Winter Storm Uri

Winter Storm Uri, which occurred in February 2021, brought unprecedented snowfall and freezing temperatures to El Paso and many other parts of Texas. This storm was part of a larger weather system that affected several states, causing power outages and water shortages.

El Pasoans faced challenges such as icy roads, frozen pipes, and limited access to essential resources.

Despite the difficulties posed by Winter Storm Uri, the El Paso community once again demonstrated resilience and solidarity. Neighbors helped each other by sharing supplies and information, and local organizations and volunteers worked tirelessly to support those in need.

The storm served as a reminder of the strength and unity that exists within the El Paso community.

For more information about historic El Paso snowstorms, you can visit


While only seeing a few snowfalls per decade on average, El Paso does get occasional winter snow, especially when frigid air drops down from the north. But snowstorms remain a relatively rare event for the desert city.

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