January Met Central

The cold end of 2015 carried over into the start of 2016. The Sevilleta started 2016 with a 2-week stretch of cold - high temperatures never reached average until the 14th. High temperatures then spent much of the rest of January above average with 2 of the last 3 days of the month breaking daytime records. Ultimately, mean daytime highs averaged over 1 degree C below average while night time lows came in almost exactly average. Daily means were about a half a degree C cooler than average.

    January Record Temperatures - High 23.4 (74.1 F), Low -20.7 (-5.4 F)
    January '16 Record Temperatures - High 22.1 (71.8 F), Low -13.3 (8.1 F)

Precipitation in January got off to a quick start with a succession of storms from the 4th to the 6th that dropped both rain and some snow as well. Though there was not a lot of snow during these early January storms, temperatures stayed low so it still hung around in shady places for quite some time. Most of the rest of the month things were generally dry. In the end the Sevilleta got almost exactly its long term average.

January Meteorological Summary

                       January       January '16       January '16
Variable             Long-term* Mean    Mean           Mean Range
Mean Max Temp (C)         10.37           9.3           6.7 - 10.2
Mean Min Temp (C)         -5.08          -5.0          -8.0 - -2.9
Mean Average Temp (C)      2.65           2.2           1.1 - 3.1
Mean R.H. (%)             51.1           55.0          51.2 - 60.6
Mean Vap Press. (mb)       3.60           3.55         3.29 - 3.67
Mean Max Wind (m/sec)      8.5            9.0           8.4 - 10.1
Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2)   3.46           3.51         3.28 - 3.81
Precip.(mm)                8.0            8.2           5.8 - 12.7
*Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2015

Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison

First time since 2007 that Albuquerqure's calendar year total precipitation ran above average - missed by 3.3 mm in 2013. The Sevilleta also just slipped by the long-term normal... first time for the Sev since 2006.

               Loc         Precip          Normal         % of Normal
January      	ABQ         9.4 mm          9.7 mm            97 %
                SEV         8.2 mm          8.0 mm           103 %

Year to Date    ABQ         9.4 mm          9.7 mm            97 %
                SEV         8.2 mm          8.0 mm           103 %
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Water-year Precipitation

Sevilleta water year to date continues to keep pace as one of the best - 160% of average. The 90.7 mm average to date is almost exactly the same as in 2007 but drier than other water years such as 2005 (106.6 mm), 1991-92 (122.8 mm) and 2000-01 (125. mm).

     Water Year Precipitation (mm)

Month           Mean            2015-2016    
Oct             23.2              53.5       
Nov             11.1               9.0
Dec		14.1		  20.0
Jan		 8.0		   8.2
                56.4		  90.7      


The drought situation in NM is very good. We merely have the tip of the tail that is the continuing drought in California. El Nino has made little head-way against that drought monster. Actually look at the darkest portion of the drought in western U.S. and what do you see?

A very important thing for NM right now is the state of the snow pack in the mountains which will determine the amount of water reaching NM reservoirs later this spring. Currently all of the NM SNOTEL sites are showing snow packs that are near or above average. El Nino Super El Nino is certainly still with us. The Ocean Nino Index (ONI) for the Nov-Dec-Jan was 2.31 which is actually the highest that it has ever been. During the 1997-98 El Nino the ONI peaked out at 2.26.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) also took a big jump in the El Nino direction in January with value of -2.2.

Notables from on and off the Sev

Road work is being done out on the refuge.on the McKenzie North road. In some areas up near McKenzie Well the soil was very loose on Feb 2. Could be a problem with 2-wheel drive. Presumably it already has or will soon be packed back down.

Big Blizzard hit mid-Atlantic coast area over 2 feet of snow in DC and NYC.- this came on a weekend so not quite as big a hassle. Also coastal flooding due to storm surges.

On west coast homes are falling into the Pacific due to shore erosion associated with El Nino - replay of 1998

Globally this was the hottest January on record.


First Hurricane of 2016 or last of 2015 season? Subtropical storm in northeastern Atlantic roared through the Azore Islands and was named Alex. January tropical storms are extremely rare Only 2 others have been recorded.

February Forecast

Started February with a little bit of moisture on the 1st. Long term average precipitation for February for the Sevilleta is 7.8 mm - driest of any month. Wettest Feb in 1989-present record was 37.1 mm in 2005 - El Nino. 1998 was next wettest with 22.1 mm. The last above average February on the Sev was 14.5 mm in 2010 (El Nino of course).

NOAA is predicting a wetter than normal and cooler than normal February for all of New Mexico.

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