KOSHER DELIGHT - YOUR JEWISH ONLINE MAGAZINE!
JEWISH AND KOSHER EL PASO, TEXAS:
El Paso, (pronounced /ɛlˈpæsoʊ/)
is a city in and the
county seat of
El Paso County, Texas, United
States, and lies in far
West Texas. In the 2010 census,
the city had a population of 649,121.
It is the sixth largest city in
Texas and the 19th largest city
in the United States. Its
metropolitan area covers all of
El Paso County, whose population in the 2010 census was 800,647.
El Paso stands on the
Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte),
Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
The image to the right shows
Downtown El Paso and Juárez,
with the Juárez Mountains in the background. The two cities form
a combined international metropolitan area, sometimes called
Juarez-El Paso, with Juárez
being the significantly larger of the two in population.
Together they have a combined population of 2 million, with
Juárez accounting for 2/3 of the population. In 2010 El Paso was
All-America City Award, the
oldest community recognition program in the United States.
El Paso is home to the
University of Texas at El Paso
(founded in 1914 as The Texas State School of Mines and
Metallurgy, and later, Texas Western College; its present name
dates from 1967) and the
Texas Tech University Health Sciences
Center at El Paso.
Fort Bliss, one of the largest
military complexes of the
United States Army, lies to the
east and northeast of the city, with training areas extending
New Mexico, up to the
White Sands Missile Range and
Holloman Air Force Base in
Franklin Mountains extend into
El Paso from the north and nearly divide the city into two
sections, the western half forming the beginnings of the
Mesilla Valley and with the
eastern slopes connecting in the central business district at
the south end of the mountain range.
El Paso is located at
It lies at the intersection of three states
(Texas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua) and two countries (the USA and
Mexico). It is the only major Texas city on
Mountain Time. Ciudad Juárez used
to be on
but both cities are now on Mountain Time.
The city's elevation is 3,800 feet (1,140 m)
above sea level.
North Franklin Mountain is the
highest peak in the city at 7,192 feet (2,192 m) above sea level.
The peak can be seen from 60 miles (100 km) in all directions.
Additionally, this mountain range is home to the famous natural
red-clay formation, the Thunderbird, from which the local Coronado
High School gets its mascot's name. According to the
United States Census Bureau, the
city has a total area of 250.5 square miles (648.9 km²).
The 24,000-acre (9,700 ha)
Franklin Mountains State Park is
the largest urban park in the United States and resides entirely in
El Paso, extending from the north and dividing the city into several
sections along with
Fort Bliss and
El Paso International Airport.
Rio Grande Rift, which passes
around the southern end of the
Franklin Mountains, is where the
Rio Grande flows. The river defines
the border between El Paso from
Ciudad Juárez to the south and west
until the river turns north of the border with Mexico, separating El
Doña Ana County, New Mexico.
Mt. Cristo Rey, a volcanic peak (an
example of a
pluton) rises within the
Rio Grande Rift just to the west of
El Paso on the
New Mexico side of the
Rio Grande. Other volcanic features
Kilbourne Hole and
Hunt's Hole, which are
Maar volcanic craters 30 miles
(50 km) west of the
El Paso is surrounded by the
Chihuahuan Desert, the easternmost
section of the
Basin and Range Region.
Being in the westernmost tip of Texas, and due
to the huge size of the state, El Paso is closer to four other state
capitals (US and Mexican) than it is to its own capital of
Austin, Texas (the other capitals
Santa Fe (New Mexico), neighboring
El Paso has a hot
desert climate (Koppen
BWh) with very hot summers, usually with little or no
humidity, and mild, dry winters. Rainfall averages 9.4 inches
(240 mm) per year, much of which occurs during the summer from July
through September and is predominantly caused by the monsoon. During
this period, southerly and southeasterly winds carry moisture from
Gulf of California, and the
Gulf of Mexico into the region.
When this moisture moves into the El Paso area and places to the
southwest, orographic lift from the mountains, combined with strong
daytime heating, causes
thunderstorms, some severe enough
to produce flash flooding and hail, across the region.
The sun shines 302 days per year on average in El
Paso, 83 percent of daylight hours, according to the
El Paso Weather Bureau. It is from
this that the city is nicknamed "The
Due to its dry climate, El Paso often
experiences wind and dust storms during the spring, usually starting
in March and lasting to early May. With an average wind speed of up
to 30 miles per hour (50 km/h) with gusts that have
been measured at over 75 miles per hour (120 km/h), these
wind storms kick up large amounts of sand causing loss of
El Paso, at 3,800 feet (1,200 m) elevation, is
also capable of receiving snow; weather systems have produced over a
foot of snow on several occasions. In 1980, three major snowstorms
produced over a foot of snow; one in February, another in April and
the last one in December, producing a white Christmas for the city.
A major snowstorm in December 1987 dumped over two feet (65 cm) of
One example of El Paso's varying climate was
the winter storm of early February 2011, which caused closures of
schools, businesses, and City Hall. The snow stopped after about a
day, but then because of below freezing temperatures El Paso
utilities went into a crisis. Electric wires were broken, causing
area blackouts; many water utility pipes froze, causing areas of the
city to be without water for several days. When the pipes thawed,
water was unsafe to drink due to filtration systems not working,
therefore schools were closed again.
Monthly means range from
(7.3 °C) in January to
(28.5 °C) in July, but the
warmest highs are typically in June. There are 60 nights below
freezing, 109 days at or above 90
°F (32 °C) and 20
days above 100 °F
(38 °C) each year.
The city's record high is
(46 °C), and its record low
is −14 °F
(−26 °C), with weather
records for the area maintained by the National Weather Service
Although the average annual rainfall is only
about 9 inches (225 mm), many parts of El Paso are subject to
occasional flooding during intense summer monsoonal thunderstorms.
In late July and early August 2006, over 15 inches (380 mm) of rain
fell in a week, overflowing all the flood-control reservoirs and
causing major flooding city-wide. The city staff has estimated
damage to public infrastructure as $21 million, and to private
property (residential & commercial) as $77 million.
Much of the damage was associated with
development in recent decades in
arroyos protected by flood-control
dams and reservoirs, and the absence of any storm drain utility in
the city to handle the flow of rain water.
El Paso has historically been predominantly Hispanic. In the 1870s,
a population of 23 Non-Hispanic whites and 150 Hispanics was
In 1916, the Census Bureau reported El Paso's
population as 53% Hispanic and 44% non-Hispanic white.
The median income for a household in the city was
$32,124, and the median income for a family was $35,432. Males had a
median income of $28,989 versus $21,540 for females. The
per capita income for the city was
$14,388. About 19.0% of families and 22.2% of the population were
poverty line, including 29.8% of
those under age 18 and 17.7% of those age 65 or over.
According to the 2006
United States Census Bureau
population estimates, the El Paso metropolitan area had a population
In 2010 CQ Press ranked El Paso safest city
in the U.S. with a population over 500,000.
In 2010, many Mexicans fleeing drug violence
Ciudad Juarez settled in El Paso.
Benjamin Sáenz, a novelist and a literature professor at the
University of Texas at El Paso,
said during that year that El Paso was "becoming a lot more Mexican
and a lot less
The Tigua Indians of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo
Located between the cities of El Paso and
Socorro lies the sovereign
Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Nation, with
its own governing body. It is one of the three Federally-recognized
Indian tribes in Texas.
Tigua Indians have been at their
present location since a successful
Pueblo Revolt of 1680 that forced
the Spaniards and New Spaniards (future Mexicans) to retreat south
to present day
Chihuahua and El Paso.
The tribe is led by a governor and a tribal
council. Elections for tribal governor and tribal council are held
once annually. As of January 2011, the governor is Frank Paiz.
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