EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — In 2021, the Borderland saw a number of storms that brought record rainfall to the area. June, July and August had plenty of moisture, with one July day seeing the 24th highest-ranked rainfall event in El Paso history.
According to KTSM 9 News Meteorologist Robert Bettes, “It has been an exceptionally wet year (so far) with 10.52 inches of rain at the airport since Jan. 1. Normal is only 5.42 inches so far. The vast majority of that rain has fallen after June 15, which is why the desert is so green.”
With the rains has come a renewed sense of appreciation for the natural beauty in and around the Borderland. Just a few weeks ago, small waterfalls were visible in the mountains of El Paso and Las Cruces. And while most are familiar with showy wildflower blooms in Central Texas, this year, El Paso’s Eastside is covered in showy wildflower blooms of its own.
“Plants that have been basically living as seeds waiting for good conditions to grow. It’s a pretty common strategy, especially in deserts, where plants have to deal with droughts for an extended time period,” says Kevin Floyd, Botanical Curator at UTEP’s Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.
Floyd says the rains are much needed. He gives bird tours near Hueco Tanks and says the desert plants, which are adapted to desert conditions like extreme droughts, were struggling.
“Plants that have really been waiting for ideal conditions, and we’re finally seeing it,” he adds.
From lush greenery on the mountains to flooded-out salt flats just a 1.5-hour drive away, Borderland residents have been capturing the beauty of the high desert that surrounds them. Check out the slideshow below to see the natural side of El Paso, Las Cruces and everywhere around: