May, 2012 - Sev still seems to be stuck in La Nina
June 5, 2012
May started the month with continued warmer than normal temperatures for almost the first week but then saw a drop into cooler than normal temperatures for an extended period and even though rain was not abundant humidities were way up. Drier and warmer conditions returned for the second half of the month. The average daytime highs, nighttime lows and daily averages all ran at least 1 degree F above normal. There were 3 new low daily low temperature records set. These were late in the month. South Gate set a new low temperature reading for so late in the spring with a -3.3 C (26 F) on the 28th.
- May Record Temperatures - High 39.2 (102.6 F), Low -7.5 (18.5 F)
- May '12 Record Temperatures - High 36.0 (96.8 F), Low -3.3 (26.1 F)
It looked like May might be at least reasonably wet. There was a real active period from the 9th to 14th with high humidities and monsoon-like storms wandering around but much of the refuge ended up with not too much to show for it. The flats on the east side of the refuge in particular saw the least. The field station ended up being the wettest with 8.0 mm (0.31") from 2 storms.
Wind certainly seemed to be bad. Actually, the average daily maximum was 26.3 mph which is a little lower than the long-term average of 27.2 mph. The daily average of 11.0 mph was stronger than the 8.05 mph
May Meteorological Summary
May May '12 May '12 Variable Long-term* Mean Mean Mean Range ------------------------------------------------------------------- Mean Max Temp (C) 27.69 28.5 25.3 - 29.7 Mean Min Temp (C) 10.12 10.8 7.8 - 12.4 Mean Average Temp (C) 18.91 19.6 17.7 - 20.8 Mean R.H. (%) 26.8 26.1 25.1 - 31.3 Mean Vap Press. (mb) 5.42 5.10 4.48 - 5.29 Mean Max Wind (m/sec) 12.2 12.0 10.0 - 12.8 Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2) 7.90 8.36 8.30 - 9.22 Precip.(mm) 13.2 4.3 0.5 - 8.0 --------------------------------------------------------------------- *Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2009
Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison
It also seemed like May in Albuquerque might get wetter than actually turned out to be. Ugly convective storms developed around ABQ on the 11th, 12th and 13th but only the storm on the 11th did anything - 0.19" at airport, about 0.5" in other parts of the city and some of it was hail. The average daily temperature tied for the 10th warmest in Albuquerque's 1895-present record.
Loc Precip Normal % of Normal ===================================================================== May ABQ 4.8 mm 12.7 mm 38 % SEV 4.3 mm 13.2 mm 33 % Year to Date ABQ 47.3 mm 64.5 mm 73 % SEV 36.3 mm 56.9 mm 64 % ==================================================================== Remember to check National Weather Service Monthly highlights at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abq/climate/Monthlyreports/May/2012/index.php
The Sev ended the non-monsoon portion of the water-year at least close to normal which has to be considered good for a La Nina year. The situation going into the summer is certainly much better than this time last 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 ======================================================== Total 106.3 102.8 30.5
Gov. Martinez declared NM is officially in a drought.
Actually, May precipitation generally improved or maintained drought conditions. Conditions on the eastern and SE part of the state slipped toward less severe drought conditions.
On the hydrologic side, Elephant Butte had been recently running lower than last year but came it at 102% of last year for May. This is presumably because the dam was almost closed for about 3 weeks during the past month. It has now been reopened.
ENSO has definitely return to neutral. The Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomaly in the Nino 3.4 zone has gone positive for the first time in well over a year. The Ocean Nino Index has gone from -0.5 to -0.3 for the March, April May period. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) actually went up -0.3 to 0.0 but the 5-month running mean dropped from +0.9 to +0.4. which is also in the neutral zone. This is also the lowest that it has been since Jun of 2010. ENSO has minimal effect on Sev meteorology from now till the fall but half the models are predicting a move into El Nino conditions by late summer.
Notables from on and off the Sev
Vegetation is still looking fairly good for the small amount of May rain.
Smoky skies tell us there is a fire in the vicinity. Despite being the largest in New Mexico's history the Whitewater Baldy complex fire down in the Gila has not been as newsworthy as last years big fires since it has not threatened a lot of buildings. At almost 230,000 acres it is still only 20% contained. The scary part is that all of last years big fires came after Jun 29th
Tornado on the ground... near the Sev. I don't get to report that very often. on May 13 a tornado (actually now they are calling it a land spout) was photographed on the ground near Magdalena. Ultimately it was rated an EF1 on the Enhanced Fujita scale with peak winds estimated at 90 mph
May has been a month with the some of the greatest warming in the past several decades. The three hottest Mays on record for Albuquerque were 1996, 2000, 2006. There are 3 more of the top hottest May's in ABQ during the Sev tenure... 4 counting this May.
2012 was predicted to be a weaker than average to average hurricane season but it has certainly been eager to get started. There had been 2 named storms in both the Atlantic and eastern Pacific before the Hurricane season even officially began on June 1. Actually tropical Storm Beryl which came ashore at almost hurricane strength proceeded to provide badly needed precipitation to some of the driest parts of the U.S.as it circled through northern FL, GA and SC and NC.
NOAA is predicting warmer than normal conditions for June but is giving equal chances of above, below or normal precipitation
For the summer the prediction is for much higher chances of warmer than normal temperatures but equal chances of above below or normal precipitation.