Tuesday, December 01, 2009

An uncommon snowfall

Organ Mountains near Baylor Canyon Road,
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Over the past weekend, a storm moved in and delivered two days of rain—not a deluge, but steady. Our Chihuahua Desert climate typically sees scattered rain, if any at all, between July and September, so our most recent storm was a surprise. As a transplanted New Englander, I listened with excitement as the El Paso weatherman predicted that the clouds would deliver one to three inches of snow in the region before disappearing.

I'm happy to write that the snow fell in the relative lowlands of Las Cruces, lasted long enough to titillate us, then promptly melted. Even the Robledos and Doña Ana Mountains were bare. But the Organ Mountains dominate our city's skyline, and they looked as though they wore a coating of confectioners' sugar. It might not happen again for years.

A view from Baylor Canyon Road

So Nancy and I set out for an afternoon drive up Route 70 to the San Augustin Pass (elevation 5719 feet), which leads to the White Sands Missile Range. From there we doubled back to the city side of the mountains and followed Baylor Canyon Road.

It probably won't last on the mountains but another couple of days. Snowmelt is already trickling in rivulets and will soon rush in sheets, watering the cactus, the creosote, and the grama grass. It will find its way into the arroyos and into the Rio Grande, and whatever people don't take out will either evaporate or flow to the Gulf.

Baylor Canyon Road parallels the Organ Mountains.
The White Sands Missile Range is on the other side.


Sharon said...

Beautiful pictures and a beautiful description. We had our first snowfall of this winter here in North Texas yesterday morning. None of it stuck (except for a short while on the car) and my grandson was so disappointed when he woke up and discovered he had missed the snow. We're going to have to figure out a way to get him to the snow this winter if the snow doesn't come to us.

Ruth D~ said...

Ahhh, see? You do miss New England!

ENIAC 4-eva said...

Beautiful Dad! Makes me want to visit again. Glad you didn't have to shovel any of it though.

arlee bird said...

Sure looks pretty. Stayed overnight in Las Cruces back at the beginning of August and it was really hot. We went out long enough to walk next door to Uno Pizza-- had never eaten in one of those places before and it was great. After our meal we retreated back to our air-condioned room to relax after having driven all day with another full day to come. We were staying at a Marriott property-- Fairfield Inn perhaps-- and the scenery was beautiful. But too darn hot to be outside!

Carter said...

It's getting to Boston tonight. Why didn't you keep it out west?

Anonymous said...

Wow, you've got some incredible views there. Enjoy your frosting of snow! We got nearly a foot here in MN recently.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I enjoy seeing photos of snow, but I'm happy I don't have to deal with it anymore!

Connie Arnold said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures, Bob. I enjoyed seeing them. My sister in El Paso told me they'd had a couple of snows.

Bob Sanchez said...

Thanks for all the comments. There are traces still left in the upper reaches of the mountains. The last time, it disappeared more quickly.