This year in New Mexico, even the slow weather days can boast the occasional bursts of drama.
Santa Fe experienced two rounds of hail, heavy rain, a flash-flood warning and some street flooding Wednesday, and that was supposed to be the down day in a week of very active, very wet weather in New Mexico.
“It still is a down day,” Deirdre Kann, science officer of the National Weather Service’s Albuquerque office, said Wednesday. “Storms are isolated to scattered. They are forming in the higher altitudes, and they are just bumping along over the western and northern mountains and moving to the east. I am still expecting storms to ramp up on Thursday and Friday.”
Clayton, in the northeastern corner of New Mexico, got 1.11 inches of rain Wednesday, but as of 11 p.m., Albuquerque had not received any measurable rain. That is a break in the pattern of the past several days.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, heavy rains at Ghost Ranch in Rio Arriba County sent high waters rushing down an arroyo, destroying several buildings and damaging another.
And the 1.82 inches of rain measured at the Albuquerque airport on Tuesday shattered the previous record of 0.56 inch set for that date in 1986 and boosted the city’s official rain total for the year to 6.8 inches, less than 3 inches shy of the city’s annual average rainfall of 9.5 inches. Official numbers reflect rainfall measured at the airport only, even though parts of Albuquerque got enough rain Tuesday night to push the year-to-date total higher than 6.8. Much of the Tuesday rain came in the late evening and followed a record-breaking 24-hour rainfall the day before.
“When you consider we’re only halfway through the year, that’s pretty impressive,” Kann said.
And at the rate the city has been getting rain recently, it’s not all that far-fetched to think we might eclipse the annual average before August.
Forecasts called for a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms today, increasing to 50 percent tonight, and a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms Friday through Saturday afternoon. High temperatures are expected to remain lower than normal, falling short of 90 degrees, through Saturday.
“We don’t really see a warm-up until Sunday,” Kann said. “And Monday will be a little warmer.”
A drying trend is predicted for Sunday through Tuesday, with only slight chances of thunderstorms and high temperatures ranging from the low to mid-90s.
Catherine Lopez, of Bernalillo County’s Communications Department, said heavy rains this week caused some ponding and puddling but no serious flooding. The worst, she said, was a half-foot-deep puddle at the end of a cul-de-sac in the South Valley.
Even so, the county is urging residents to be prepared and reminding them that sandbags, available at all Bernalillo County fire stations, can help stop water from rushing into yards and onto property when flash flooding occurs. The bags are free, but residents need to fill them with the free sand and transport them.
The county is also cautioning residents to stay away from ditches and arroyos because rainfall in the foothills and mountains can send high levels of water rushing through those channels.