December began with a continuation of warm dry conditions that had prevailed for most of the fall. Wintery weather finally arrived on Dec 9th. Temperatures plunged from a daily record high on the 7th to a record daily low on the 10th. There was some moisture in NM with this storm but not in the Albuquerque, Sevilleta area.
November is a month when temperatures can still run in the 80's during the day but on average the lows can be expected to be right around freezing. With the way temperatures have been running this year it was not too surprising when temperatures ran at near or above record high levels early in November. This all came to an abrupt end during the second week of the month when a strong storm swept through from the 9th-11th bringing wind, some moisture but certainly very cold temperatures.
Despite my wife's prediction to the contrary, I believe we will see some winter weather this year... or at least this water-year. While it can be argued that we have been having very nice weather this fall, the lack of any significant moisture passing through this area has become increasingly noticeable, even alarming, even on top of 2 full years of well below normal precipitation. Of course, this late fall period is not a time that we should expect to see a lot of precipitation.
October seems to often be feast or famine. With an El Nino predicted for this fall, winter, spring it was expected that we would see normal or above normal precipitation during the month. This certainly did not happen. Long-term, refuge-wide, average precipitation for the Sevilleta is 24.0 mm for October. Instead the Sev basically got a goose-egg. There was one 0.1 mm tip at Cerro Montoso. This does not really qualify as measurable precipitation. This is the driest October in Sev's LTER history; the previous lowest was 0.9 mm in 1995.
The refuge-wide precipitation average of 32.7 mm (1.29") makes it the wettest month on the Sevilleta this calendar year. However, This still fell below the normal expected, September precipitation of 34.2 mm. The localized monster storm on Sep 6th that dropped 44 mm (1.73") at the Cerro Montoso met station certainly skews that average to the high side. This means that other areas of the Sevilleta saw much less than the 32.7 mm. A wider ranging and longer lasting rainfall on the 13th was much more beneficial for the vegetation across the refuge.
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 6, 2012
Despite the relatively early start to the monsoon, July ultimately turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for much of New Mexico. Some areas of the state did fairly well while many areas, not so much. Likewise, some portions of the Sevilleta got above normal precipitation while the majority did not. Most of the Sevilleta rain came in the first 10 days of the month with only the 18th and and 22nd having much precipitation during the rest of the month.
July 3, 2012
No relief - June started hot... and stayed hot and ended with the hottest day of the year so far. There have been hotter Junes but not many. Actually this was the hottest coolest June that has been recorded on the Sevilleta in the 1989-2012 Sev LTER tenure.
Below are this years entries for the Monsoon Prediction Contest. Predictions were submitted by 61 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 in my SPAM. People's dates and times should be correct as I just copied and pasted them - hence the variety of formats. July 7 was the most popular choice this year with 6 selections. June 29 and July 1, had 4 picks each. Monsoon type moisture appears to be bubbling up into S.E. Arizona and S.W.
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.