Monday, January 16, 2012

Jan. 16-

Partly sunny and breezy today. The day started off with some brief showers across the region but not much accumulation in areas to the east and south. The NWS Ridge2 precipitation product below shows none fell over the Paso del Norte but a few locations to the extreme west received rain in the range from 0.10 to 0.25 inches.  There were a few reports of snow in the higher elevations.
Grant county received the most rain based on the CoCoRaHS observations with one station receiving 0.36 inches 13 miles WSW of Silver City. I am hoping that this will add a little soil moisture and keep the dust down in that area.
Below are this morning's observations at a couple NWS Cooperative weather stations.

                 Yesterday            Today
Station       High(F) Normal    Low(F)  Normal  Record Low Precip
NMSU            63      59       34      27       13 (1964) 0.00"
Antelope Wells  67      61       37      26        9 (2007) 0.00"

The AQI forecast for the region shows an area of moderate air quality today in El Paso county and parts of Otero county due to wind blown dust.
As of 1 pm, wind is picking up and a few erodible areas are showing dust in Las Cruces. I started the trailer back up after a planned power outage at the end of last week.

After this low pressure system moves out of the area by Tuesday, we should see a warming trend. Looking at the long term forecast for the next 10 days using the GFS run from this morning, I see another storm coming in next Monday. See this forecast for the SPCY station below.
I've decided not to take filter samples at the SPCY site today. We have collected 11 out of 20 sample days total and we will probably have more low wind days to cover before we need to order more filters. However I will run the Dusttrak along side the particle sizer now that I have the batteries charged and ready.

Driving to the SPCY station the visibility worsened south of Anthony. From my vantage point on the road I saw a few spots where dust emissions were much higher around undeveloped lots, unpaved roads, and some fields. Winds were from the west this afternoon. Below is a view looking south toward Juarez at 3:52 pm on I-10.
At the SPCY site I noticed that the NMED Wedding PM10 sampler was collecting data today. The concentrations should be high but I don't expect an exceedance. While at the SPCY stite from 4 to 5 pm there was not a lot of local source emission activity but dust looked to be transported from regions west of the area. The Dusttrak PM2.5 measurements were in the 15 to 20 µg/m3 ballpark at that time and matches with the TEOM PM2.5. I set the Dusttrak to collect 2-minute samples. The only problem with the Dusttrak is that the zero will drift by tomorrow morning.

By the time I was done at the site and returning to Las Cruces, the wind had died down and visibility increased.

Tomorrow I'll be on the road to the Southwest Beef Symposium and on a weather station maintenance run to Artesia and Clovis. I hope to carve out an hour to update the blog while I'm out.

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