MetCentral - January 2017 - Continuing Wet Winter

January continued the near record winter moisture regime that started
back in November. A mid-month storm delivered the big punch but a
storm at the beginning of the month a few smaller storms toward the
end of the month supplemented this major input. This resulted in almost a
near record wet January. Ultimately the Sevilleta saw an average of
33.9 mm across the refuge which is over 4 times the monthly expected
average (8.0 mm). This pushed Jan, 2017 into 2nd place in wet
January's... just ever so slightly behind the 34.3 mm of 2005.
See more about the January moisture below.

January temperatures
pushed both ends of the spectrum during January.
After a near-normal start of the month the temperatures climbed up
near and even above previous record highs. The mid-month storm
brought temperatures back down to a more seasonable level and then
some quite cold air got stuck over NM for quite a few days.
Temperatures ended the month on the milder side. Overall the daily
high temperature average was quite close to normal while the lows
continued the recent trend of running well above average.

    January Record Temperatures - High 24.1 (74.1 F), Low -20.7 (-5.4 F)
    January '17 Record Temperatures - High 20.9 (68.6 F), Low -15.0 (10.2 F)

January Meteorological Summary

                       January       January '17       January '17
Variable             Long-term* Mean    Mean           Mean Range
Mean Max Temp (C)         10.33           10.6          7.8 - 11.5
Mean Min Temp (C)         -5.07           -2.4         -4.6 - 1.1
Mean Average Temp (C)      2.63            4.1          2.7 - 5.0
Mean R.H. (%)              51.3           56.4         52.9 - 59.4
Mean Vap Press. (mb)       3.60            4.48        4.06 - 4.56
Mean Max Wind (m/sec)      8.6             9.6          8.7 - 10.2
Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2)   3.46            3.26       2.96  - 3.55
Precip.(mm)                8.0            33.9         26.0 - 41.1
*Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2016

Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison

Albuquerque's 26.4 mm January precipitation total was similar to that
on the east side of the refuge. My house near the Fair Grounds got
37.6 mm - more like the Sevilleta average. This still made it the 8th
wettest January in Albuquerque's 1893-present record.

               Loc         Precip          Normal         % of Normal
January      	ABQ       26.4 mm          9.7 mm           272 %
                SEV       33.9 mm          8.0 mm           423 %

Year to Date    ABQ        26.4 mm         9.7 mm           272 %
                SEV        33.8 mm         8.0 mm           423 %
Remember to check National Weather Service Monthly highlights at:

Water-year Precipitation

Between the record November and the wetter than normal December the
water-year total is now running at about 2 times normal. This is
unusual for a La Nina winter. The only wetter water-year starts were
2000-01 (125.4 mm) and 1991-92 (122.8 mm). This years Oct-Jan total
is actually just a little above the average total for the entire
Oct-May non-monsoon portion of the water year.- 102 mm

     Water Year Precipitation (mm)

Month           Mean            2016-2017    
Oct             22.2               5.1       
Nov             11.2              45.1
Dec		14.1		  23.1
Jan              8.0		  33.9
                55.5		  107.2   


The drought situation in NM has continued to improve. According to the
U.S. Drought Monitor,
there is only about 2.5% of NM that is classified as being under
(moderate) drought status. Over 88% of the state is now considered free from any dryer
than normal designation (including all of the Sev) which is up from 66% at the end of

The Palmer Drought Index shows none of New Mexico being under drought
status and the west and northwest running wetter than normal.

Snotel sites in northern NM are mostly at or above normal for snow
pack depths to date but virtually all sites in southern NM are showing
snow packs well below normal.


La Nina indicators have slid back into the neutral range. The Sea
Surface Temperature anomaly for the key 3.4 Nino zone was -0.3 at the
end of the month. The Ocean Nino Index (ONI) rose from -0.08 -0.7;
this actually is the 5th 3-month period with ONI less than 0.05 which
makes this an official La Nina.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) moved more slightly toward
neutral from +0.3 in December to +0.2 in January. The 5-month
running mean also edged toward neutral at +0.26.

Notables from on and off the Sev

Just as a reminder
this figure
shows how wet the mid-month storm was. The daily total
on Jan 15th was the first time that any of the Sevilleta gauges has
recorded more that 20 mm for any day in January. All 4 of the met
stations on the west side of the refuge achieved this level. Record
daily totals for both the 14th and the 16th were easily surpassed as

It should be noted that this was the
second wettest January for NM
in the 123 year official record.

Also it should be noted that the average temperature for the past 12
months (Feb '16 - Jan '17) was the
hottest on record
in the past 122 years.

February Forecast

We started February with a little bit of moisture on the 1st and 2nd. Long term
average precipitation for February for the Sevilleta is only 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

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


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