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The Natural Scene

CLIMATE. Summer at Bandelier is the shower season. From the first of July until well into September, there is an impressive display of lofty cumulus clouds and thunderheads almost every afternoon. Fortunately for your comfort, these cloud displays do not always result in showers on the monument every day. As is the habit of southwestern thunderstorms, the rains usually cling to the higher peaks, leaving the midelevations cooled but not drenched. The spring and fall are relatively dry seasons, when the skies may remain entirely cloudless for weeks at a time.

In the fall, the great range of temperature from night to day is particularly noticeable; at monument headquarters a difference of 50° between afternoon high and night low is not unusual. This condition is still evident even in midwinter, when the sun may send the thermometer up far above freezing even after a below-zero night. Partly for this reason, the snows of winter at Bandelier are not long-lasting. The usual snowfall of a few inches will quite commonly melt away in a day or so after the sun has returned. Even the snows of blizzard proportions do not interfere for long with access to monument headquarters, for the typical snow of New Mexico is light and dry, easily cleared from the highways.

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Last Modified: Sat, Jan 6 2001 10:00:00 am PDT

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