The climate of New Mexico is generally mild, sunny, and dry. Most of the state has between 250 and 500 mm (10 and 20 in) of rainfall annually. Winters are drier than summers. Temperatures and precipitation vary widely from night to day and from winter to summer. In addition, climate varies greatly within each natural region. Higher mountain areas have a much cooler and wetter climate than lower areas nearby.
Average annual precipitation ranges from about 200 mm (about 8 in) in the Río Grande and San Juan river valleys to more than 760 mm (30 in) in the northern mountains. The overall average for the state is 330 mm (13 in) per year.
July and August are the wettest months. Nearly half the year’s precipitation occurs during the summer, mostly in the form of brief but often heavy thunderstorms. Winter precipitation falls as snow in the mountains and as either rain or snow at lower elevations. At times during the winter, cold air masses moving southward from Canada invade the state and produce blizzards and cold waves, especially in the northern parts. Annual mean temperatures vary from about 16° C (about 60° F) in the south to about 10° C (about 50° F) in the north. The southern areas, however, have many days of summer temperatures in the upper 30°s C (lower 100°s F). Temperatures in the lower -20°s C (below 0° F) can occur in all areas during the winter. © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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