Despite all the evidence to the contrary, this year's monsoon has not officially begun... at least not on the Sevilleta... at least not according to my criteria. Lots of moisture has been reported throughout the rest of NM but the Sev seems to be living under a dome. Granted there has been some rain somewhere on the Sev on every day but 3 this month but the maximum daily total for any one station is still only 13.0 mm. I have seen reports from other stations around NM of well over 50 mm events. This disparity is exemplified by the difference between Albuquerque and the Sevilleta.
A fair description of June would be... fair... not too hot and not too dry. Temperatures during June generally tracked quite close to normal. The exception was a 3-day (20th-22nd) excursion of temperatures into the +100 degree range. Temperatures then dropped back to near or below normal through the end of the month when we normal expect the hottest temperatures. Average daily high, average daily lows, and average daily means all ran slightly above normal for the month.
Below are this years entries for the Monsoon Prediction Contest. Predictions were submitted by 44 people. If you really think that you submitted a guess and it is not on the list, please contact me immediately - it could have gotten lost. There was an 11.3 mm event at Cerro Montoso on the 26th and more moisture is promised for the remaining days of June. July 3rd was the most popular choice this year with 6 selections. July 7th was second with 5 picks.
Okay folks, time's awasting. Predictions for this years monsoon
contest have slowed to a trickle... actually to nothing. You may
remember that I predicted that we would probably have to go thru at
least some period of hot and dry before the arrival of the true
monsoons. Well, I think this past week or so should have met those
conditions. Therefore, I might suggest that those still consulting their
favorite seer, crystal ball, or Ouija board get those predictions
sent in soon, before either the monsoon does start or my entry
If you read all the way to the end of the May Met Central report you will be aware of the reason for the delay to the start of the Monsoon Prediction Contest. An atmospheric circulation pattern, combined with tropical storms off the west coast of Mexico, was predicted to pump a monsoon-quantity of moisture into New Mexico during early June which might have resulted in a "false" start to the monsoon. While this did not happen but may still happen I am going to officially open the contest but with the proviso that no predictions before June 14 will be allowed.
Well that was a May for the record books... no not with respect to precipitation but rather with regards to temperature. The average daily temperatures for May ran more than 4.5o F cooler than normal which was about 1o F cooler than the next coolest May (1992). The average daily high temperatures were almost 6o F cooler than normal which actually tied with 1992 for average daily high.
Finally some moisture, but still not enough. The Sevilleta endured a a 34-day (Mar 21 - Apr 23) stretch with virtually no precipitation. Finally, on April 24th the refuge got appreciable precipitation some of which came in the form of hail and also accompanied by some strong winds. A second, bigger, storm followed on the 26th and a little more moisture was added on the 27th. When all was said and done, the refuge-wide average of 10.9 mm came in slightly below the long-term average of 11.9.
We should be doing better. That's we as in NM with regards to precipitation this year. Actually we are certainly doing much better than the last 2 years. However, as we are now officially in an El Nino we should expect at least a wetter than normal spring. Perhaps it is still coming but March was generally disappointing, at least for the Albuquerque - Sevilleta area. Granted, moisture in storms that hit certain portions of the state, particularly the northern mountains, delivered much need snow to watersheds and ski resorts that were also desperately in need of a boost.
February ran backwards, warm and dry for the first 3 weeks and cold and threatening to be wet during the last week. Despite Puxatawney Phil's prediction of 6 more weeks of winter, New Mexico seemed to ignore that prediction and cruised right into spring. The first 10 days of the month were particularly warm with 4 new daily high records set. With a couple of minor dips, daily high temperatures stayed at or above average through the 21st.
With all due respect to old George W. on this Presidents Day I will not be telling a lie when I say that February has been a little warm so far. In fact with half the month gone, we are on track for one of the warmests Februarys on record. Through the first 15 days of the month, the average daily high temperature average across the Sevilleta has been 63.7 degrees F. The long-term average daily high for the entire month of February is 56.5.
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