Snow blankets Arizona desert, creating otherworldly scenes

January 4, 2019, 2:10 p.m.
Arizona's Saguaro National Park was covered in snow
Photo: Leila Shehab

Arizona's deserts, with their golden sand and rust-hued canyons, already have an otherworldly quality to them. So when Mother Nature decides to change the decor, it can make things seem even more mystical.

Such was the case when multiple cites in the Copper State received a dusting of snow this week. Tuscon received 0.4 inches of snow on New Year's day, the combined total of snow that Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., have seen since Dec. 1. Albuquerque had to figure out what to do with 2 inches on New Year's, and it resulted in the city canceling school on Jan. 3.

Cacti in Saguaro National Park covered by snow It's not every day that you see a cactus topped with snow. (Photo: Leila Shehab)

The rare snowfall is the result of cold air located at a high altitude over the Southwest. The air has been parked over the region for the better part of the week, according to The Washington Post, but it should be easing up soon and returning the region to more normal 50-degree Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) days.

Tree in Saguaro National Park covered with snow Desert trees might lean under a bit of snow. (Photo: Leila Shehab)

Now that residents and tourists alike have enjoyed the snowy desert, they can look forward to watching the snow melt and have it re-reveal all the wonders of the desert anew.

Related on MNN: Why is it snowing in the Sahara?