Remember El Paso’s Weather Forecasting Blue Flame? The Housing Authority Wants to Reactivate It
When the flame is BLUE, no change is due.
When the flame is RED, warmer weather's ahead.
When the flame is GOLD, cooler weather foretold.
A FLICKERING flame means wind, snow or rain.
El Pasoans of a certain age and time may remember that short poem from back in the day, and if the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso completes its purchase of the Blue Flame building a whole new generation of El Pasoans may learn it too.
El Paso Inc reports that if the state approves the tax credits the Housing Authority is seeking, HACEP and its development partner plan to purchase the vacant El Paso Natural Gas Company building downtown and renovate it.
Long time El Pasoans know that building on North Stanton as the Blue Flame building, nicknamed so because of the teardrop shaped structure at the very top.
The structure represented the gas company's flame logo and also served as a weather beacon. For decades, El Pasoans could get a general idea of what the weather the next day would be like depending on the color it illuminated at night.
The gas company came up with the rhyme at the top of the page as a memory technique to help people remember what each color represented. Because our weather is relatively steady year-round, it mostly shined blue -- hence the building's unofficial moniker.
The Housing Authority's plan, the article states, is to gut the inside, leave the exterior as is, and restore and reactivate the "flame" at the top of the building.
HACEP will find out if it can proceed with the purchase sometime in July. If the state gives the tax credits the okay, the Blue Flame building could be back in the weather forecasting business as early as late-2018
NORTH STREET STREET, LOOKING SOUTH FROM MAIN STREET, 1959
Photographed by Markus Freitag.
Four Things You Didn't Know about the Blue Flame
• The flame is 21-feet tall, made of Plexiglas and stainless steel, and sits atop a 23-foot steel tower
• The entire structure weighs more than 5 tons.
• It has sat atop of the El Paso Natural Gas Company building since 1955
• It does not have magical weather forecasting powers. An operator would call the National Weather Service each evening to determine what color to light the flame
[Factoids culled from 1999 El Paso Times 'Tales from the Morgue' article]