This January through October ranks as the second wettest for those months in New Mexico weather history, but the precipitation totals for Albuquerque during the same period don’t even make the city’s top 10 list.
It’s not difficult to figure out why.
“The south and the east was wetter than the west and the north in New Mexico,” said Andrew Church, meteorologist with the Albuquerque office of the National Weather Service.
Rainfall totals averaged statewide from January through October amounted to 17.36 inches, second only to the wringing-wet record of 32.45 inches for the same period in 1941. The normal statewide rainfall total for those months is 12.59 inches.
Albuquerque’s total for January through October this year was 9.93 inches. That tops the city’s normal total of 8.38 inches for the period but doesn’t come close to breaking any records.
Church said Albuquerque’s wettest January through October was the 15.28 inches recorded in – no surprise – 1941. Rounding out Albuquerque’s top five precipitation totals for the period are 13.56 inches in 1919, 12.86 inches in 1988, 11.91 inches in 1911 and 11.54 inches in 2006.
Albuquerque looked as if it were on track to set some records through the first part of summer. In July alone, the city got 3.28 inches of rain, Albuquerque’s seventh-wettest July on record. But Albuquerque recorded only 0.32 of an inch in August, the city’s 10th driest August.
“August was a disappointment,” Church said. “We got drier intrusions from the west, especially in the western and central parts of the state.”
Even so, Albuquerque’s total rainfall through Thursday is 10.07 inches, compared with 8.61 inches, which is the normal total for that period.
And the city had a better-than-normal monsoon season, which runs from July 1 through Sept. 30. Church said Albuquerque soaked up 4.79 inches during those months, more than an inch better than the city’s monsoon-season average of 3.58 inches.
The better-than-average precipitation in New Mexico this year has erased the severest categories of drought from the states’s map, leaving areas of only moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions – mostly in the west and northwest. Exceptionally warm sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean along and near Baja California and the western Mexican coast fueled the wet weather and El Niño conditions that Church expects to continue for some time to come.
“Things look good for above-average precipitation for the rest of this year and into the winter and even into the spring,” he said. “It’s kind of far out to call next summer, but it does look good for then, too.”
Church said we will get a good taste of what’s in store as early as next week when a strong cold front bringing temperatures in the teens and some snow is expected to move into New Mexico.