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Record heat for El Paso: Cooling centers, safety tips, free fans

EL PASO, Texas -- The National Weather Service has issued Heat Advisories for El Paso and Hudspeth counties in far west Texas as well as Dona Ana, Otero and Luna counties in southern New Mexico that are in effect through Sunday night, with forecasters calling for afternoon high temperatures of up to 110 degrees for portions of the Borderland.

ABC-7's StormTrack Weather team also issued a First Alert for this "dangerous" heat wave carrying with it the likelihood for El Paso to set new record highs. Saturday afternoon's high of 109 topped the old record of 106 from 2013.

This first heatwave of the season began last Sunday when the temperature reached the century mark at the El Paso International Airport for the first time this year, according to the National Weather Service. El Paso then exceeded that mark, reaching 101 on Wednesday afternoon and a furnace-like 106 on Thursday afternoon. It again hit 106 on Friday, which did set a record for that day, and then came Saturday's record of 109.

The 100-degree temperatures arrived about a month later here in 2021 than it did in 2020. Last year, the first triple-digit temperature was recorded on May 7 - which was the earliest date on record.

With the first hot stretch of this year now underway, the City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Department has opened free Cooling Centers are located at the following sites:

  • Galatzan Rec Center, 650 Wallenberg Dr.
  • Veterans Rec Center, 5301 Salem Dr.
  • Chamizal Rec Center, 2101 Cypress Ave.
  • Gary Del Palacio Rec Center, 3001 Parkwood St.
  • Memorial Park Senior Center, 1800 Byron St.
  • Valle Bajo Community Center, 7380 Alameda Ave.
  • Marty Robbins Rec Center, 11620 Vista del Sol Dr.

Due to low demand, the cooling center at Officer David Ortiz Rec Center at 563 North Carolina Dr. and the one at Memorial Park was opened, said an EPFD spokesman. The cooling centers will remain open through July 19.

The cooling centers, where the use of face masks is strongly encouraged, are open on the following schedules:

  • Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.

In addition, the El Paso Department of Public Health and the El Paso Fire Department urged all Borderland residents, and particularly the elderly and others who may be especially vulnerable, to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses that can become all too common under such conditions.

Officials said to be aware of the following symptoms that are signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Heat exhaustion symptoms
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness, headaches and fainting
  • Heavy sweating, cold, pale and clammy skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fast or weak pulse

Experts also advised taking the following steps to avoid heat sickness...

  • drink plenty of non-sugared and non-alcoholic fluids
  • protect yourself with a wide-brimmed, loose-fitting hat that allows for ventilation and protects from the sun
  • stay in air-conditioned places when possible
  • reduce exercise during periods of high temperatures
  • use sunscreen
  • wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light colored clothing

And authorities advised not to forget about taking care of pets, they get hot too...

  • make sure your pet is tested for heartworm
  • provide proper shade
  • give them plenty of fresh, clean water in a shaded area
  • never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle
  • do not walk your dog in extreme heat as their sensitive paw pads can burn

El Paso's Extreme Weather Task Force is accepting fan donations which it said could be dropped off at any El Paso or Horizon fire department stations. Those who need a fan can dial 2-1-1 to find out if you are eligible and get details on how to receive a free fan.


Article Topic Follows: Weather News

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the former Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.


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