Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 9, 2015

Despite above average precipitation in 2015 through most of New Mexico including the southwest part of the state, the soils are becoming dry west of Lordsburg at the playa. Over the winter most of the playa has been covered in water but over time it has been evaporating. During the spring we have seen dust from synoptic storms as well as from convective dry microbursts. On May 4th most of the dust at the playa was from dry microbursts that generated high winds. These winds were short lived but intense based on the traffic cams installed near the highway. A few days later on May 8th winds were elevated from a passing cold front at the same location. I've captured a few screen shots of the NM DOT cameras installed at mile marker 11 to show how the dust looks from the overpass at that location. I have similar animations from the cam at mile marker 12 but I'll show just the ones at mile marker 11 here.

May 4th dust events from mile marker 11. This camera looks west along I-10. Each frame of the animation is about 1 or 2 minutes apart. Notice the complete brown-out later in the animation.
May 8th dust events from the mile marker 11 camera.
When driving through scenes like these, please be very cautious and observe the rules of Pull aside, turn off lights, foot off the brake, and wait it out. The Arizona DOT has a very informative website for this.

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