Climate and monthly weather forecast
New Mexico, USA

Flag of New Mexico, USA
Flag of New Mexico, USA

The climate of New Mexico

New Mexico mainly has a semi-arid to arid climate (Köppen climate classification BS/BW) with small areas of continental (Köppen Dfb) and alpine (Köppen Dfc) types. It lies in the Southwestern part of the United States of America. Oklahoma in the northeast, Texas in the east and southeast, Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora in the south, Arizona in the west, Utah in the northwest, and Colorado in the north, share borders with the state. The climate is arid in the west and south, while northern and eastern parts of New Mexico have alpine climates at high altitudes.

New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, has an average elevation of 1741 meters above sea level. Wheeler's Peak has the highest elevation of 4013 meters in the state, while Red Bluff Reservoir is at the lowest elevation of 868 meters. The topography consists of vast deserts, high plateaus of rosy mesas, canyons, valleys, forests, and snow-capped peaks. The north has pastures and dense mountain wilderness, along with a section of the southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains. Mountain ranges and highlands, oriented north-south, divide the state longitudinally into three major areas. New Mexico is one of the Mountain States that forms the Four Corners region with Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

Summers are hot in the majority of New Mexico with low relative humidity. Daytime temperatures often exceed 100°F (37.8°C) at low altitudes below 1500 meters, even though the average high temperatures peak at 97°F (36.1°C) in July. Summer nights are usually comfortable due to rapid cooling after sunset and low humidity. Winter nights drop below freezing in many places, with a few even dropping below 0°F (-17.8°C). The days are warm and sunny, even at the peak of the cold season. Temperatures vary significantly across seasons and between day and night. The elevation is a more important factor than latitude to determine the temperature. Spring and autumn have warm temperatures and generally comfortable conditions.

New Mexico has scanty rainfall that averages 14" (356mm) in the year, with a peak during the summer. Southern desert receives less than 10" (254mm) of rain, while higher elevations in the state register above 20" (508mm). The sunshine is abundant, and the state averages 270 sunny days annually. Snowfall is heavy in the mountains and ranges from 60" (1524mm) to 160" (4064mm) in the winter. Northern and Central New Mexico register 20" (508mm) to 40" (1016mm) of snow, while the southern part is warmer and rarely records above 5" (127mm). The average relative humidity is low in the 30% to 50% range and seldom crosses 60%.

Loving recorded the highest temperature of 122°F (50°C) on June 27, 1994, in New Mexico, while Gavilan recorded the coldest temperature of -50°F (-45.6°C) on February 1, 1951.

The best time to visit New Mexico

The best time to visit New Mexico is in the fall season from September to November when the temperatures are in the comfortable 65°F (18.3°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) range. The heat is bearable during the day, while the nights have pleasant weather. Low humidity and dry weather ensure that fall nights are great for stargazing. Spring has similar temperatures, but fall is less susceptible to storms and has many festivals. Summer is hot in New Mexico with intense sunshine, and temperatures often cross 100°F (37.8°C). Additionally, June to August is the peak tourist season with costly flights and accommodations.

The worst time to visit New Mexico

The worst time to visit New Mexico is during the winter from December to February when the temperatures drop below freezing in many places. Snowfall is heavy at high altitudes, but even at low-lying plateaus, frost comes in to play. Winter days need sunscreen in many areas of New Mexico. Temperature varies vastly between day and night and drops rapidly after sunset. Mountain slopes often witness snowstorms in the winter. Skiing enthusiasts find excellent conditions for the sport in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Weather hazards

New Mexico is prone to thunderstorms, floods, and tornadoes in spring and summer, and snowstorms in the winter. Thunderstorms are frequent in late spring and summer and bring most of the rainfall. Flash floods occur after storms as the sparse vegetation, and uneven terrain in many areas is unable to hold even a moderate amount of water. Dry arroyos overflow banks and halt traffic for several hours. The melting of snow from April to June and occasionally heavy rainfall may cause flooding of large rivers. Tornadoes sporadically hit New Mexico from May to August but rarely cause damage to life and property due to the sparse population of the state. New Mexico has an average of nine tornadoes in a year.

Weather in January

January is the coldest month of the year in New Mexico as the night temperatures remain in the freezing zone. The bottom may hit extremes below 0°F (-17.8°C) in the upper mountain ranges but generally keeps above it in the rest of the state. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is cold in New Mexico with freezing nights in the north and cold but above freezing temperatures in the south. Temperatures vary widely from a warm 63°F (17.2°C) in the day in the plains to a freezing 6°F (-14.4°C) during the night at high altitudes. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March sees the arrival of the spring season in New Mexico with warm and pleasant days. Temperatures often remain in the comfortable 50°F (10°C) to 70°F (21.1°C) range during the day. The temperatures at the southern end of the Rockies in New Mexico vary considerably with altitude and cross into the alpine zone at a height above 1500 meters. The combination of snowfall, cold nights, and warm sunshine is a boon for activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, and camping. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April is a beautiful spring month in New Mexico with brilliant sunshine and clear skies. The state records an average of 23 sunny days that rapidly melt any remaining snow on the ground. The rivers, lakes, and creeks are full of freshwater from the melted snow, rather than from the light rainfall. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is sunny in New Mexico with long daylight hours and mild, comfortable nights. The average high temperatures reach up to 88°F (31.1°C) in the south in places like Hobbs, Carlsbad, and Roswell. Albuquerque, the largest city in Central New Mexico, records average temperatures between 53°F (11.7°C) to 79°F (26.1°C). Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is the beginning of the hot summer season in New Mexico with bright sunshine and moderate rainfall. The average high temperatures hit the high range of 80°F (26.7°C) to 96°F (35.6°C) range, while average low temperatures are between a comfortable 40°F (4.4°C) to 62°F (16.7°C). Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is usually the hottest month of the year in New Mexico as the average high temperatures climb in the hot zone of 84°F (28.9°C) to 96°F (35.6°C), while the average low temperatures remain in the comfortable 50°F (10°C) to 64°F (17.8°C) range. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is a hot summer month in New Mexico with average high temperatures in the 80°F (26.7°C) to 94°F (34.4°C). Gila Hot Springs in the south averages between 54°F (12.2°C) to 85°F (29.4°C), while Farmington in the north is between 60°F (15.6°C) to 87°F (30.6°C). Weather in August »

Weather in September

September sees the arrival of the wonderful autumn season with comfortable conditions in New Mexico. The intensity of the sun drops from the peak with the passing of the summer. Breezy evenings are great to drive through the scenic byways with the wind in the face. The skies remain bright as the month records an average of twenty-three sunny days. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is one of the best times to visit New Mexico at the peak of the fall season. The sunshine is optimum, and the conditions are pleasant. The average high temperatures are in the comfortable 61°F (16.1°C) to 78°F (25.6°C) range, while average low temperatures are in the range of 30°F (-1.1°C) to 48°F (8.9°C). Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is the end of the autumn season in New Mexico with temperatures in the average range of 25°F (-3.9°C) to 65°F (18.3°C) in the state. Places like Hobbs, Roswell, and Ruidoso in the north average between 28°F (-2.2°C) to 66°F (18.9°C), while Raton, Taos, and Clayton in the north are between 22°F (-5.6°C) to 57°F (13.9°C). Rainfall is scanty and seldom exceeds 1" (25mm) to 1.5" (38mm) in most of the regions. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is the beginning of the cold winter season in New Mexico with little precipitation amid regular sunshine. Extreme variations are common in temperatures between day and night. High deserts in the Colorado Plateau in the northwest corner experience a drop of 25°F (-3.9°C) to 30°F (-1.1°C) during the night. Weather in December »


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