Thunderheads over the Sandias taken from Hwy 528 just south of Hwy 550.

Thunderheads appear, change and disappear very quickly in the desert southwest. They can produce sudden and heavy rains, high winds, intense lighting storms and hailstorms. But often they form and put on a show, changing into all kinds of shapes, and then evaporate without a sound or drop of precipitation.

The first four photos were taken over a timespan of 10 minutes while driving on Highway 550 to Highway 528 and on to Corrales Road. The Weather Service interrupted the radio to announce the there was heavy rain and flooding on the other side of the Sandias from these thunderheads.

The last photo was taken from our deck where we sit and watch the clouds form and change over the Sandias through the bamboo and cottonwood trees.

Thunderheads over the Sandias from Corrales Rd. just east of Hwy 528.
Wider view of thunderheads over the Sandias and stretching down the Rio Grande Valley taken from Hwy 528 just south of Hwy 550.
Thunderheads over the Sandias from Hwy 550 west of Hwy 528.
Thunderheads as seen from our deck.

26 thoughts on “Thunderheads

    • Thanks, John! Any moisture getting up your way from NM would come off the Gulf Coast. Storms from Baja would come through CA and AZ on route to NV. We get the most precipitation from storms that come up the Rio Grande Valley from the Gulf of Mexico or down the valley from the north. Storms the blow in from the west get weakened while passing over the Continental Divide and then Mount Taylor, and storms coming in from the east have a hard time getting over the Sandias (we live in the rain shadow of the Sandias) Isn’t there a song about being followed by a rain shadow or something like that?

      • It’s my impression the storms and rain in our valley come from Baja. The Gulf Coast seems much too far east to send moisture this far west. Guess I need to research this! Followed by a rain shadow? Never heard that but a moon shadow, yes! I’m beein’ followed by a moon doggy, mooooon doggy moon doggy!!

      • The storms that will most likely result in precipitation in the Las Vegas area will come up from Baja. All those mountain ranges west of Las Vegas will weaken storms coming off the Pacific. A moon shadow huh? Well I think everyone in the west is being followed by rain shadows given the dry conditions.

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