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New Mexico Science

Science, climate, weather and water from a New Mexico perspective

Monsoon watch

Drought Monitor, 7/3/2012
Drought Monitor, 7/3/2012
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It feels good to start watching the monsoon after nearly a month spent anxiously anticipating its arrival. Wednesday stayed above a dewpoint of 47 in Albuquerque for the third day in a row, and it rained again, so we’ve now met our formal criteria for monsoon onset.

So how much help will it be?

The new Drought Monitor, out today, is just as ugly as last week. But is it possible things have changed a bit in the two days between the Tuesday cutoff for Drought Monitor data and its Thursday release? Maybe just a bit, according to Ed Polasko, the National Weather Service hydrologist who is one of the primary New Mexico points-of-contact for the federal team that makes the weekly map of drought conditions around the country. But not much.

The problem, Polasko said, is the deep precipitation deficit since January, combined with the hot temperatures that have dried out the soil and plant systems around the state: “Did I say it was hot and dry? It was hot and dry.” As if you needed Ed’s reminder.

Monsoon rains help, but it the deficit is big. “It’s going to take a while,” Polasko said.

The good news is the forecast. At all time scales – the 5-day, 6-10 and overlapping 8-14 all show increased chances for wet weather.

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