Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal
December begins today, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.
Last month was Albuquerque’s warmest November on record.
And 2017, so far, is tied with 2012 as the warmest year since record keeping began 125 years ago.
“We will end the month of November in Albuquerque, and many other sites in New Mexico, as the warmest November on record,” said Andrew Church, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.
November continued a yearlong trend in Albuquerque and across the state for record-breaking warm weather.
Both this year and in 2012, Albuquerque had an average temperature of 62 degrees through Nov. 19, according to NOAA data.
New Mexico isn’t sweltering alone.
Dozens of cities, mostly in the western U.S., experienced record high temperatures this week, from Texas and Arizona north to Minnesota and Montana.
Tucson was the nation’s hot spot Monday, with a high of 92, beating the previous high of 85 for that date, set in 1998.
Denver had a record high of 81 on Monday, breaking a record set last year.
“Much of the western U.S. has had a very mild fall,” Church said.
Albuquerque today is expected to have a high of 61 and a low of 38, with partly cloudy skies. Highs in the mid-60s are expected through the weekend, well above normal highs in the low 50s.
New Mexico is also in the grips of an extended dry spell.
Through Thursday, Albuquerque had gone 55 days without measurable precipitation, according to National Weather Service data. The city recorded its longest dry spell, of 109 days, in 1909.
The short-term cause of the warm, dry weather is a high-pressure system over California and Arizona that remained in place most of November, keeping Pacific moisture out of much of the western U.S., Church said.
Longer term, many of Albuquerque’s warmest years have occurred in the 21st century.
And 10 of the years since 2000 have set or tied records for the city’s highest average temperatures, according to NOAA records.
“In New Mexico, it was in 1976-77 that average temperatures started to rise pretty substantially,” Church said. “That’s pretty much the case in every state.”