Winter took one last shot (I hope) at El Paso on Sunday and Monday of last week. On Sunday the 18th we were hit with one of the worst dust storms I’ve witnessed since moving to El Paso some thirty-one years ago. I estimate that visibility dropped to less than half a mile, and the silt that accumulated at the bottom of our pool made it look more like a pond. Then, on Monday, we got hit by an ice pellet storm at the airport. Later, after I arrived home, the snow started. Not a lot, but certainly extraordinary for El Paso on the last day of winter.
Extraordinary does not mean unprecedented, however. In April of 1983 we were hit by a week-long snowstorm that, by the time it was over, had dumped nearly eighteen inches on our Southwestern Desert floor, and each morning that week the visibility dropped to near zero from ice fog. In April!
But what a difference less than a week makes. By Saturday I was cleaning the silt out of the pool, all while wearing flip-flops, shorts, and a T-shirt. The temperatures hit 85° Fahrenheit (29° Celsius), and Ursula and I even took to a relaxing evening in our heated spa beneath the glorious stars, crescent moon, and the shining beacons of Venus and Jupiter. Then, on Sunday, El Paso had the record high for the nation at 90° (32 ° Celsius).
And here are the “during” and “after” shots separating those six days (and after some seven hours cleaning up the pool and spa just the day before, I might add):