Sierra Blanca is a census-designated place (CDP) in and the county seat of Hudspeth County, Texas, United States. The town is part of the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas. The town is located northeast from the Mexican border and is located within the Mountain Time Zone. As of the 2010 census, the population was 553.
The town was founded in 1881 at the completion point of a long-sought southern transcontinental railway. Sierra Blanca has served as the junction of the Southern Pacific and Missouri Pacific railroads. Hudspeth was formed in 1917 from El Paso. Sierra Blanca was named the county seat, and has the only adobe courthouse in the state of Texas.
The town continues to accommodate travelers along interstate 10 between Van Horn and El Paso which is the main route that connects Texas from west to east. The town was named for the nearby Sierra Blanca Mountains, which was named for the white poppies which grew on it (sierra blanca is Spanish for white range).
|Coordinates: 31°10′55″N 105°20′27″W|
Sierra Blanca is found in "Far West Texas", a subdivision of West Texas located at (31.182009, -105.340843) 4,520 feet above sea level. The city is part of the Trans-Pecos region within the most mountainous and arid portion of Texas. The town is located in Hudspeth County which is large and sparsely populated. Sierra Blanca (White Mountain) at an elevation over 7,000 feet above sea level towers over the town and is the most prominent mountain peak of the surrounding mountainous terrain. According the Environmental Protection Agency, Sierra Blanca has 99% clean air and 100% clean water.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 4.1 square miles (11 km2), of which 4.1 square miles (11 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.73%) is water. Soil in the surrounding area is mostly non-arable and cannot sustain large scale farming. Due to the high altitude of the city, it has a cooler climate than other areas of the Chihuahuan Desert.
Summer days are hot with cool summer nights. The city occasionally experiences high winds and dust storms. June is regularly the warmest month with he highest recorded temperature in town was 109°F in 1994. During the winter the jet stream will periodically dip far south and bring extremely low temperatures. December is usually the coolest month and the lowest temperature recorded was -10°F in 1985.
Normally, the city receives less than one inch of snow annually. During the hurricane season large tropical storms can sometimes bring large amounts of precipitation to the arid mountainous region and can cause flash flooding. The city on average has 293 sunny days and 43 days of precipitation. Rainfall is low; the town and vicinity receive an average of 11.27 inches (286 mm) of rainfall annually.
Sierra Blanca is served by the Sierra Blanca Independent School District; it spends an annual average of $6,343 per student. On average there are 10.9 students per teacher. For the demographic group older than 25 years: 68.6% have a high school degree; 3.2% have a Bachelor’s; 2.6% have a Graduate degree.
The cost of living in Sierra Blanca is about 20% less than the US average. Sierra Blanca has high home ownership rate of 49.5%. The median home is valued at $54,600 with a 1.94 annual percent appreciation. As of December 2013, the unemployment rate was 5.4%.
The outskirts of Sierra Blanca was the location of a sludge dump that received 250 tons of treated sewage each day from New York City. The practice was discontinued in 2001.
Press reports indicated that in 2013, the town supported three restaurants and a motel. There is no grocery store in the community.