Thunder Over the Sangres

thunderstorm over Taos Mountain

Looking east from Taos Valley Overlook

I took this yesterday, the same day I fell down. You could imagine the photographer standing there with a throbbing bloody knee, perhaps. Once more I am in awe of how far and how well one can see when the air’s not fouled by smoke from burning forests. There’s a little fire haze in this shot, actually.

That one just grew and grew, then ambled off southeast. That’s what most thunderstorms are like here. Not the scary dark monsters we had on the Eastern Shore that roared out of nowhere on white humid days and blew down the trees. High desert storms are gigantic evolving convection machines you can sit back and watch. Much of the rain never reaches the ground, but at higher elevations especially, I’ve seen it unload straight down like crazy and leave the ground covered with hail.

When it does rain or even threatens to, we get this amazing refrigerated wind. Rapid evaporation chills the air aloft and it plunges to the ground. (In some circles they call this a “virga bomb.”) A storm came through Taos late this afternoon; it rained like hell in town but we hardly got a drop. What we did get was a ferocious cold dust storm with thunder and lightning, this just after driving by a house for sale one might enjoy if driven to and from there blindfolded.

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