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Storms drench holiday weekend across NM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — You shouldn’t curse the rain in the desert – a drought-stricken desert, at that.

But bummed are New Mexico’s campers, hikers, barbecue hosts and baseball fans. As of Sunday, Memorial Day weekend in much of New Mexico was a wash.

And officials said the storm won’t be enough to reverse the severe to exceptional drought that plagues most of the state.

Two baseball fans leave Isotopes Stadium after the game was called due to rain Sunday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Two baseball fans leave Isotopes Stadium after the game was called due to rain Sunday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

The last time the Albuquerque area had a similar storm bring multiple days of rainfall was in September, and the last storm to bring consecutive days of any precipitation was in November, when rain and snow fell in the city, said Tim Shy, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. In April and May, Albuquerque had a couple of small showers that dropped mere hundredths of an inch, he said.

Although the Roswell area got the most rain statewide, 5 inches, it was hit or miss in the Albuquerque area from Thursday through Sunday morning, with the West Side reporting nearly an inch of rain and the South Valley getting a little more than a tenth of an inch.

The East Mountains got about an inch, while a half an inch of rain fell at the Albuquerque International Sunport, Shy said. It rained enough Sunday night to postpone the Albuquerque Isotopes game.

The reason for the disparity, said Jennifer Palucki, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, was because the storm is slow-moving and spotty.

“We have storms in the forecast, at least for (Monday), before it starts to taper off on Tuesday,” she said.

The Albuquerque area can expect a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms today, dropping to 10 percent tonight.

In Rio Rancho and on the West Side, rainfall totals from the storm ranged from a third of an inch to an inch, while Santa Fe – depending on location – had about 0.8 to 1.8 inches of rain.

Roswell and the eastern plains were soaked.

Nearly 5 inches of rain fell north of Roswell, the highest concentration of rainfall in the state and the most it rained there since 1946.

State Highway 409, the road that takes people to Bottomless Lake State Park in southeastern New Mexico, flooded and will be closed for the foreseeable future, according to the state Parks Division website.

In the eastern plains, between 2 and 3 inches fell at many of the recording stations, Palucki said.

The unfortunate exception was the Gila Wilderness, which is already in the throes of a possibly active fire season. It rained just 0.02 of an inch at one location, and no rain was reported at four recording stations in or near the wilderness area, Palucki said.

Data on rainfall totals throughout the state on Sunday won’t be available until this morning, she said.

New Mexico State Police Sgt. Damyon Brown said storms weren’t factors in any serious crashes in the state, and no rescues or other emergencies stemmed from the rainfall as of Sunday evening.

Palucki said to expect more rain as the storm continues to creep east across the state today. She said to plan for scattered showers, especially in the northern and eastern portions of the state. Most of the storms will be in the late afternoon or early evening.

New Mexico is entering its fourth consecutive year of drought, which adversely affects the state’s water supplies, wildfire risk and crop yields.

“It certainly helps,” Palucki said of the storm. “But it will not reverse the drought. The deficit is far too great for just two or three or four days of rain.”

And Palucki said nothing that would have an effect on the drought is in the forecast.

Warm weather and sunny, clear skies are predicted throughout the state starting Tuesday, just in time for the workweek.

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