August 2012: Met central Report - Remained Hot But Got Even Drier
Despite NOAA's prediction of increased chances of a wetter than normal August the moisture did not ever come. The monsoon moisture flow got pushed over into Arizona during almost the entire month. Back door cold fronts provided most of the moisture and showers during August. While some of these storms produced severe weather events in parts of NM, on the whole storms were rather hit and miss.. with miss being the key word. The average precipitation for the Sevilleta was only 17.4 mm making it the driest August in Sevilleta's 1989-present record.
August temperatures ran consistently high early in the month but dropped back near normal around the middle of the month and even took a brief excursion below normal for 3 days before ramping back up for the remainder of the month. There were two +100 days with one of these setting a new daily high temperature record. There were only 4 days with daily high temperatures below normal. This resulted in the 4th warmest August in Sevilleta's 1989-present record. One new night-time low temperature was set as well.
For New Mexico August ranked 109 hottest out of the past 118 years with 118 being the hottest. It also ranked 33rd driest with 118 being the wettest. For the June-August period it ranked 116 out of the past 118 and 8th driest.
- August Record Temperatures - High 39.4 (109.4 F), Low 5.0 (41.7 F)
- August '12 Record Temperatures - High 38.1 (100.6 F), Low 9.5 (49.1 F)
August Meteorological Summary
August August '12 August '12 Variable Long-term* Mean Mean Mean Range ------------------------------------------------------------------- Mean Max Temp (C) 31.73 33.1 30.9 - 34.1 Mean Min Temp (C) 16.56 17.0 15.4 - 18.1 Mean Average Temp (C) 24.15 25.1 23.1 - 26.1 Mean R.H. (%) 47.0 38.2 37.1 - 40.1 Mean Vap Press. (mb) 12.72 11.04 10.31 - 11.43 Mean Max Wind (m/sec) 9.9 10.6 8.6 - 11.3 Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2) 6.66 7.01 6.48 - 7.36 Precip.(mm) 43.6 17.4 5.7 - 44.9 --------------------------------------------------------------------- *Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2011
Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison
As on the Sevilleta, there was moisture around Albuquerque during the month but many areas did not benefit from much of it hitting the ground. This time the Albuquerque airport gauge was one of the places that at least got its fair share. This is only the 3rd month in 2012 that ABQ has gotten above average precipitation.
LocPrecip Normal % of Normal ===================================================================== August ABQ 41.1 mm 40.1 mm 103 % SEV 17.4 mm 43.6 mm 40 % Year to Date ABQ 121.7 mm 159.5 mm 76 % SEV 87.5 mm 160.4 mm 55 % ===================================================================== Remember to check National Weather Service Monthly highlights at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abq/climate/Monthlyreports/August/2012/index.php
Despite a drier August than even last year the 2011-12 water year is still almost double last water-year. At the same time this water year is lagging further and further behind normal. We will neeed a near-record September to get back to normal by the end of the water year.
1989-2010 Month Mean 2011-2012 2010-2011 ====================================================== Oct 11 24.2 20.4 20.2 Nov 11 12.2 3.6 0.4 Dec 11 13.0 42.5 5.0 Jan 12 8.0 8.0 0.1 Feb 12 8.6 1.2 0.8 Mar 12 15.1 1.8 0.6 Apr 12 12.0 21.0 0.2 May 12 13.2 4.3 0.2 Jul 12 44.0 30.8 32.9 Aug 12 43.6 17.4 20.0 ======================================================== Total 209.8 154.0 86.8
According to U.S. Drought Monitor all of state is still in drought but less of the state is classified as severe through exceptional. The Palmer Drought Index still has the middle Rio Grande Valley (and the Southwestern Mountains) classified as in a non-drought status
From a hydrologic standpoint front things are getting worse and worse. Elephant Butte is now at only 5% of capacity which is only 56% of what it was last year at this time.
El Nino indicators did not strengthen a lot but all seem to be headed in that direction. Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomaly in the Nino 3.4 zone is now +0.9 level and the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) is at +0.1 - the first time that it has been positive since June of 2010. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) went from 0.0 to -0.2. The 5-month running mean is negative (-0.18) for the first time since June of 2010.
Notables from on and off the Sev
The August moisture merely kept most vegetation weakly green on the McKenzie Flats area. Creosote bushes and Snakeweed still look pretty happy.
8.5 tons of steel, rain-out shelter, material for the EDGE project arrived on the refuge on Aug 29th.
Only rarely do monsoon storms kick the Rio Grande flow up very much. One such event was very noticeable up near Santa Domingo Pueblo where the Road Runner saw its tracks submerged under water from a storm on August 16th that doppler radar said dropped up to 4" of rain in a very short time around Pena Blanca. This created a surge of water that flooded over the Roadrunner trakes near Santa Domingo causing suspension of rail service to and from Santa Fe for the rest of the day and the next. The flow showed a peak at over 5000 cfs at the San Felipe gauging station - pre spike flow was about 800 cfs. This spike continued to work its way down river, next showing at the Alameda bridge gauge early on the 17th. It peaked at about 4500 cfs there. By the Central Bridge it had dropped to about 2500 cfs and by Bosque Farms 24 hours after the event it was down to about 1200 cfs.
After a totally quiet July, August decided to make up for it. Hurricane Ernesto started the month and was followed by Tropical Storm (T.S) Florence, T.S. Helene, Hurricane Gordon, Hurricane Isaac, T.S. Joyce, Hurricane Kirk and T.S. Leslie.
Hurricane Issac was the only real news maker for several reasons. - First it had the Republican National Convention in Tampa in its sights early on but then shifted to deja vu of 2005. It made landfall through New Orleans 7 years to the day after Katrina. It was only category 1 instead of Katrina's category 3 but with its slow movement, the area was exposed to wind, rain and storm surge for a much longer period. NOLA was spared flooding but other surrounding areas did not escape. It will be a while before final comparisons are possible. The most important difference was that there was only 1 hurricane related death.
After 2 months of NOAA predicting above normal chances of above normal precipitation (both wrong) they have backed off and said that there are equal chances of above, below or normal precipitation during September... safer bet. Above normal temperatures are still forecasted for September and that would seem to be a safe bet as well