ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A soggy weekend set rainfall records in Albuquerque and other New Mexico cities and added to a healthy snowpack shaping up in the state’s northern mountains.
High water content in the snowpack in New Mexico and Colorado bodes well for the spring runoff later this year.
“The snowpack is doing well,” National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Guyer said Monday. “So we’re going to have some runoff, finally.”
A good snowpack is welcome news, because New Mexico hasn’t had a good runoff since 2010. Last year was among the warmest on record, and a dry, windy spring robbed the state of much of its snowpack.
For the most part, high temperatures in the 40s in valley areas confined snowfall to the state’s highest elevations.
Parts of Albuquerque got some snow flurries Sunday night when temperatures dipped to near freezing. The foothills got up to half an inch of snow late Sunday.
The weekend storm delivered healthy rainfall totals across much of the state.
Albuquerque International Sunport received 0.66 inch of rain Sunday, beating the previous Jan. 15 record of 0.48 inch, set in 1895.
Roswell received 0.33 inch of rain Sunday, beating a 1924 record. And Clayton in far northwestern New Mexico got 0.65 inch, beating a 1980 record.
But snowpack remains the state’s best news.
High-elevation areas of northern and central New Mexico have normal or above-normal snowpack, but the southern mountains are lagging, Guyer said.
Snowpack in the San Juan Basin around Chama is 177 percent of normal, packing 15 inches of liquid water, he said.
New Mexico also will benefit from Colorado’s healthy snowpack, which should feed New Mexico streams and rivers this spring.
In the Cumbres Pass area of Colorado, north of Chama, the snowpack has 26 inches of liquid water, Guyer said.
“That’s a lot of water,” he said.
Snowpack in New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains is 150 percent of normal in some areas.
The weekend storm dumped snow on high-altitude areas across much of the state.
The heaviest snowfall was recorded at the 10,000-foot Magdalena Ridge Observatory west of Socorro, which racked up at least 18 inches.
Several of the state’s ski areas picked up a foot or more of snow, including 15 inches at Ski Santa Fe, 14 inches at Ski Apache in Lincoln County, 14 inches at Sandia Peak Ski Area, and 12 inches at Pajarito Ski Area in Los Alamos County.
At lower altitudes, snow isn’t likely to stick very long with warmer, drier weather expected to push into the state this week.
Highs in the upper 40s and low 50s are expected in Albuquerque by Wednesday and Thursday, before another storm system arrives Thursday night, bringing a chance for more rain and snow later in the week.