New Mexico Climate - The Weather New Mexico Experiences
New Mexico Weather Forecast Information
New Mexico climate conditions can accurately be describe as arid, high desert with moderate precipitation for most of the state. However, the weather New Mexico has varies greatly because that state has many different topographical regions; there are flat mesas, the Rocky Mountains, canyons and valleys and rivers that can run dry or overflowing.
Basically, the sate gets low rainfall because of its desert characteristics and because of this also has low humidity, has sunshine more than 300 days a year, and a great difference in daytime temperatures and nighttime temperatures.
New Mexico has a total land area of 121,412 square miles and is the 5th largest state in the U.S. Yearly precipitation is less than 10 inches across the south desert, but the San Juan Valley and Rio Grande have exceeded 20 inches due to their higher elevation. The state’s climate ranges from semi-arid to arid as evidenced by extremes of 2.95 and 33.94 inches of precipitation in Carlsbad (the southern extreme).
Rainfall during the summer is abrupt, but may be frequent during “monsoon season”. Monsoon season sees massive downpour for a limited amount of time, gorging the arroyos and providing essential moisture to plants, animals, and people. This is a distinct New Mexico weather trait that I love and have written about.
The storms come from the circulation of air from the Gulf of Mexico. The moisture from the gulf and the warm surface temperature of the land, coupled with the air taking these clouds into higher elevations causes sudden condensation. New Mexico weather forecast often points to July and August being the rainiest months, and 30-40% of the entire year’s moisture comes during that time.
Interestingly, the warmest months (May- October) is when New Mexico weather is the wettest, and the state gets about 60% of its moisture during that time. Late fall gets little precipitation and early spring, while some rain does fall, is dried out by the wind storms that occur during that time.
Still, it isn’t unusual to see a New Mexico weather forecast in the spring mention flooding. As the snow melts it overwhelms the normally dry arroyos and leads to localized flooding. New Mexico climate habits typically show winter as the driest season except for those areas with heavy snowfall.
The remaining precipitation comes during winter. New Mexico climate conditions often show winter precipitation as snowfall in the mountains, especially in the northern part of the state. These mountains may see winter New Mexico weather bring over 100 inches of snowfall. There are also some snow-covered mountains on the eastern side as well. The valleys, like Albuquerque (where I am from), can get winter precipitation as either snow or rainfall.
Lower areas, such as valleys, have lower humidity than the mountains (which is attributed to their lower temperatures and higher altitude). During sunrise through midday, relative humidity is around 65% and drops to 30% as the afternoon wears on. However, during the summer the valleys may be as low as 4% and mountains lower than 20%. It works out ok, though, because lower humidity lessens the heat and chill indexes. An accurate New Mexico climate description is “dry heat”.
New Mexico weather forecasts sometimes predict tornadoes (May-August), but they are relatively minor and occur in unpopulated areas and do little damage.
Tropical storms do not affect the New Mexico climate other than occasional heavy rains on the eastern, central, and southwestern parts of the state.
Hailstorms occur occasionally, and sometimes in the summer, usually August. This comes due to the heavier rains as mentioned earlier.
Wind is a fact of life in New Mexico, but it is not often severe. Most wind is moderate or light, except during the spring when it is 30-50 mph.
Whether you’re looking for mild winters (in the southern part of the state), no severe storms, good skiing in the winter (in the northern part of the state), or a place with lots of sunshine and all four seasons, this is the place to visit.
Of course, check the local New Mexico weather forecast before planning your activities, but this page should give you a good idea of when you want to visit. (Or maybe move?) New Mexico weather has a little something for everyone.
New Mexico Cities
New Mexico Attractions