April, 2016 Met Central - More like an El Nino Month

After 2 full months plus one week the Sevilleta finally got some real
moisture. A storm on April 8th brought a significant amount of
moisture to all of the Sevilleta rain gauges. Rainfall amounts varied
from 14.3 mm (0.55") at Bronco Well to 4.5 mm (0.18") at Blue Grama.
A second storm four days later delivered greater or equal amounts.
These 2 storms combined to surpass the refuge's usual April quota. An
extendqed series of storms later in the month were predicted to provide
even more moisture but all slid north of the Sevilleta but did provide
some late-season snow and rain in the northern mountains. Somewhat
unusually the west side of the refuge got about twice the moistures of
the east side. average for the month. The west side average just less
than an inch (23.5 mm) while the east side got 11.7 mm which is almost
exactly the normal April average.

April temperatures
started with a couple of quite cool days that saw a
nighttime low on the 2nd just missing the long-term April record low.
Temperatures then popped back up above normal for a few days until the
moisture bearing storms knocked them back down near or below normal.
There was another stretch of above normal temperatures before some
colder storms pushed them back down below normal to end the month. In
the end average daily highs daily lows and daily means all ran below normal.

    April Record Temperatures - High 34.0 (93.2 F), Low -10.2 (13.6 F)
    April '16 Record Temperatures - High 28.9 (84 F), Low -9.6 (14.7 F)

April is on-average the windiest month of the year on the Sev. While it may have
seemed that the winds were always roaring, the average daily maximum
wind speed for this April was a mere 24 mph as opposed to the long term average
for the Sevilleta of 28 mph. The maximum wind speed on
the refuge this year was 56 mph - at the Albuquerque airport it was 52

April Meteorological Summary

                       April       April '16       April '16
Variable             Long-term* Mean    Mean           Mean Range
Mean Max Temp (C)         22.35          21.1          18.1 - 22.2
Mean Min Temp (C)          4.85           4.7           1.3 - 6.3
Mean Average Temp (C)     13.60          12.9          11.1 - 14.2
Mean R.H. (%)             28.0           36.1          34.9 - 39.3
Mean Vap Press. (mb)       3.95           4.95         4.64 - 5.12
Mean Max Wind (m/sec)     12.2           10.7           9.7 - 11.5
Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2)   7.23           6.95         6.03 - 7.13
Precip.(mm)               11.6           19.6          11.2 - 29.5
*Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2015

Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison

There were actually quite a few days with moisture in Albuquerque during
April. However many of them added little or nothing to the final
total. Actually the 8th with 8.9 mm (0.35) accounted for over half
of the final total

               Loc         Precip          Normal         % of Normal
April      	ABQ        16.8 mm         15.5 mm            84 %
                SEV        19.6 mm         11.6 mm           170 %

Year to Date    ABQ        27.5 mm         51.8 mm            53 %
                SEV        29.8 mm         40.8 mm            73 %
Remember to check National Weather Service Monthly highlights at:

Water-year Precipitation

The return of moisture pushed the water year past the 101 mm mark
which is the long term average for the non-monsoon (Oct-May) portion
of the water year. Of course 151 mm is what the Sev has seen on
average for El Nino years so we need a pretty good May to get to that
by the end of this month. Average precipitation for May is only 13.0
mm. FYI, the biggest May that the Sev has seen was 53.2 mm in 1992.
Last May was the 3rd wettest with 36 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
Feb		 7.8		   2.0
Mar		13.4		   0.0
Apr		11.6		  19.6
                89.2		 112.3  


April moisture did little to stop the slide back toward droughtier
conditions. 43 % of the state (including the Sevilleta area) is now
classified as being under moderate drought conditions according to the
The U.S. Drought Monitor

El Nino

El Nino continues to wane fairly rapidly.

El Nino indicators remain positive. The Sea Surface Temperature
anomaly for the key 3.4 Nino zone has dropped from + 1.4 to +0.8. The
Ocean Nino Index (ONI) for Feb/Mar/Apr was down to +1.6 from +2.0 from
the previous month.

NOAA has issued a La Nina Watch which predicts amove to La Nina conditions
by later in the year.

Notables from on and off the Sev

The Sevilleta has bloomed during the past month and even the grasses
have shown some real activity

NM seemed to miss the major effects of the the April storms that
passed through the state, the energy from these storms got expressed
more destructively in the central part of the country with extreme
fires in Oklahoma and drenching rain and deadly flooding in Texas.


The April forecast from the team at CSU predicts an almost
normal hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.

April Forecast

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center finally got April correct and are
sticking with the same wetter and cooler than normal for May.


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