Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dec. 18 - More rain and snow to come

We're in for some significant precipitation for much of the border region on Monday. So far by late Sunday night we've seen some isolated spots of rain but not widespread. Radar estimates show most of the highest rates in Dona Ana count. A few reports of hail west of La Mesa through twitter this afternoon. At my CoCoRaHS in Las Cruces there is at least 0.2" by 10 pm Sunday. There's enough dynamics in this storm to produce thunderstorms and I've seen lightning strikes this evening. The NWS QPF maps are showing 0.2 to 0.5 inches in central Dona Ana county by the end of this storm. Significant accumulations of snow in the Gila and Sacramento Mountains as well. Both El Paso and Albuquerque NWS forecast offices are providing a weather briefing for this storm on their websites.
Most of the state is running above average for the month of December even before this storm hits. Below is the percent of average for the month from the WRCC. Note that all colors green, blue and purple are more than 100 percent of average. Only area in western McKinley and in southern Lea county haven't seen much precipitation this month.
With this storm system we could see some improvements in the drought lines in the drought monitor. We'll make an assessment after the precipitation totals come in on Monday. Based on a quick look at the Midland radar this evening there looked to be some precipitation that fell in southeastern NM. This would be particularly good news for folks in southern Lea county although they would have liked to see it earlier in the year.
With these wet storm systems the air quality will remain in the good range. Winds are forecasted to be gusty during the storm system but I'm not expecting much or any dust.  I haven't heard of much in the way of harvesting pecans in the Mesilla Valley due to the moisture on the ground. We have been in the waiting stages for a particulate emissions study but it may have to wait for another week.

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