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Old 05-19-2019, 11:43 PM   #207
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The Mojave Desert receives less than 2 inches (51 mm) of rain a year and is generally between 2,000 and 5,000 feet (610 and 1,520 m) in elevation. The Mojave Desert also contains the Mojave National Preserve, as well as the lowest and hottest place in North America: Death Valley at 282 ft (86 m) below sea level, where the temperature often surpasses 120 F (49 C) from late June to early August. Zion National Park in Utah lies at the junction of the Mojave, the Great Basin Desert, and the Colorado Plateau. Despite its aridity, the Mojave (and particularly the Antelope Valley in its southwest) has long been a center of alfalfa production, fed by irrigation coming from groundwater and from the California Aqueduct.
The Mojave is a desert of temperature extremes and two distinct seasons. Winter months bring comfortable daytime temperatures, which occasionally drop to around 25 F (−4 C) on valley floors, and below 0 F (−18 C) at the highest elevations. Storms moving from the Pacific Northwest can bring rain and in some places even snow. More often, the rain shadow created by the Sierra Nevada as well as mountain ranges within the desert such as the Spring Mountains, bring only clouds and wind. In longer periods between storm systems, winter temperatures in valleys can approach 80 F (27 C).
Spring weather continues to be influenced by Pacific storms, but rainfall is more widespread and occurs less often after April. By early June, it is rare for another Pacific storm to have a significant impact on the region's weather; and temperatures after the middle of May are normally above 90 F (32 C) and frequently above 100 F (38 C).
Summer weather is dominated by heat. Temperatures on valley floors can soar above 120 F (49 C) and above 130 F (54 C) at the lowest elevations. Low humidity, high temperatures, and low pressure, draw in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico creating thunderstorms across the desert southwest known as the North American monsoon.
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