LAS CRUCES – Mostly blue skies returned Thursday to Las Cruces and they will stick around for at least a few more days.
The effects of Hurricane Newton, from Tuesday and Wednesday, substantially improved Las Cruces annual rainfall totals. At Las Cruces International Airport, where the National Weather Service has automated equipment to measure and record rain, wind, and other weather data, rainfall so far this year has reached 3.27 inches.
Rain has particularly improved in the past month. From Aug. 1 through Thursday 2.24 inches has fallen at the airport. That noticeably improved Tuesday and Wednesday as .53 inch of rain fell at the airport.
“We needed it, boy did we need it,” said Las Crucen Mando Porras. “I thought this was going to be the year of heat. It’s been a hot, really hot summer.’
Hurricane Newton, more precisely what was left of it, passed through New Mexico on Thursday. Rain still lingered in areas mostly north and northwest of Doña Ana County but it wasn’t nearly the kind of rain Las Crucens experienced Tuesday — and especially Wednesday.
“Tuesday was nice,” said Las Crucen Gloria Suarez. “It wasn’t the big gully-washer we had Wednesday.”
Rain was light but steady Tuesday, and Las Cruces averaged .21 inches that day. But as Newton’s force moved across southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico on Wednesday, Las Cruces experienced two brief, but fairly intense, downpours. About 3:55 p.m. Wednesday the first of the two storms dumped rain that measured between a quarter of an inch to as much as an inch in about 20 minutes.
Then, about 5 p.m., another strong-but-brief shower arrived and produced about another .10 of an inch. Numerous reports of minor street flooding, and runoff from rains nearby caused a rush of water that had many Las Cruces arroyos running at near capacity.
By sundown Wednesday, the Rio Grande, near Las Cruces was flowing at near capacity, and adjacent levees were full of water.
Rains Tuesday and Wednesday from Newton produced a two-day average total of .91 inch for Las Cruces, according to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network. At the Las Cruces Sun-News, a CoCoRaHS member, .22 inch was recorded Tuesday and .61 fell Wednesday.
As remnants of Newton were expected to move east Friday, a brief drying trend for Las Cruces was anticipated. No rain is in Las Cruces’ forecast for Friday and Saturday, but a back-door cold front, from the east, is expected arrive Saturday. The cold front could drop daytime temperatures in Las Cruces into the mid to lower 80s Saturday.
The chance for rain will gradually creep back into Las Cruces’ forecast on Sunday. From Monday through Wednesday, there will be a 30 percent chance for rain.
Outdoor activities this weekend in Las Cruces, particularly the Lobos vs. Aggies college football game, at 6 p.m. Saturday at Aggie Memorial Stadium, and Sunday’s 5 p.m. Patriot Day Ceremony at Plaza de Las Cruces, aren’t supposed to be affected by inclement weather. Saturday’s football game should be partly cloudy, with temperatures in the low 80s to upper 70s. There will be a 10 percent chance for rain for Sunday’s Patriot Day ceremony — the first public event to be conducted at the new plaza, with a light breeze and temperatures in the mid 80s.
* Friday: A 10 percent chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms before 7 a.m. Then, sunny with light-and-variable winds in the afternoon, and a high near 93. Mostly clear Friday night, with a low near 65.
* Saturday: A back-door cold front moves in from the east. Las Cruces will be sunny, with a high near 84. Early, winds will be from the north, 7 to 15 mph, and will shift to an easterly direction in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 23 mph. A 10-percent chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms Saturday night. Winds will be from the southeast, 6 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.
* Sunday: A 10 percent chance for isolated showers and thunderstorms. Otherwise, mostly sunny, light and variable breezes, and a high near 86. The chance for isolated showers and thunderstorms increase to 20 percent Sunday night, with a low near 65.
Source: National Weather Service (as of 7:30 p.m. Thursday)
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