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Monsoon moisture plume is setting up

A elderly driver is stuck on a flooded Lomas Blvd near Tulane late Saturday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

A elderly driver is stuck on a flooded Lomas Blvd near Tulane late Saturday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A monsoon season that suddenly decided to show a little moxie lashed Albuquerque with significant rainfall Friday and Saturday and is apparently hunkering down to give the metro area more evening dousings through Friday.

“This looks to be a pretty strong signal for a monsoon pattern, which we were beginning to worry about, even getting ready to give up on,” said Mark Fettig, a meteorologist with the Albuquerque office of the National Weather Service.

Official city rainfall totals, recorded at the Albuquerque airport, went from 1.61 inches for the year Friday morning to 2.50 inches Monday morning. That was enough to move Albuquerque from its third-driest year ever, its rank Friday morning, to 18th driest, its rank Sunday night.

“It was so dreadful through that third week in July. Even beyond that,” said Kerry Jones, also a meteorologist with the Albuquerque office of the weather service. “We have certainly changed course for a lot of the area. It shows you can make up a lot in a few days.”

The heaviest rain on Friday appeared to be on Albuquerque's West Side, where 0.89 of an inch was recorded at Paradise and Unser. On Saturday, 1.5 inches of rain was measured at San Mateo and Central and 1.44 inches at Candelaria and Carlisle. There was lots of rain east of Albuquerque as well. Sandia Park got .99 of an inch on Friday and 1.54 inches pummeled Tijeras on Saturday.

Albuquerque's official year-to-date rainfall total is still considerably short of the 4.70 that is normal for this point in the year. But Jones said we can expect plenty more rain in the coming days.

“This week, a sustained monsoon moisture plume is going to get established,” Jones said. “We are looking at 1- to 2-inch totals in western and central New Mexico. It's impressive and widespread.”

Numerous showers and thunderstorms are expected each afternoon and evening. As a consequence, a flash-flood watch is in effect for the state today and tonight due to the combination of intense, slow-moving rain and soil already soaked by rain in recent days.

Fettig said rainfall chances will taper off in the weekend.

“We can have some locally heavy rainfalls on Saturday and Sunday, but the coverage (area) will not be as great,” he said.

Cloud cover and rainfall will keep temperatures down during the week. Highs will range from the mid-80s to the low 90s. But while temperatures will be down, humidity will be up. That's what happens when it rains.

“The humidity values are coming way up,” Jones said. “That's good for managing forest fires, but not so good for people with swamp coolers. But everyone should get in on a one- to two-day favorable stretch (of rain). I think that's kind of exciting.”

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