SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico’s summer monsoon season began with promise, but has now ended with disappointing amounts of rainfall across much of the state.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Frazier told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the ingredients needed to bring normal summer rains to the state’s mountains and plains just never developed this year. Instead, the main moisture plume stayed to the west in Arizona and California.
The upper elevations in the central and northern mountains had some of the best rains, but the moisture rarely dropped down into the valleys around Santa Fe or Albuquerque. The far western portions of the state fared best, with near-normal precipitation.
Most of the state received from 40 percent to 80 percent of the 30-year rolling average, with the statewide average at 60 percent of normal.
Through August, the state has endured its fifth-driest year on record.
Saturday marked the autumn equinox, when the hours of daylight and darkness are equal, and also signals a continued dry spell at least into October, Frazier said.
“In Northern New Mexico, the average winter starts in late October,” Frazier said.
Weather watchers hope for a quick shift to winter, which holds the promise of snow. It is too soon to predict with any certainty how conditions are setting up for winter, yet.
Early modeling showed the potential for normal to above-normal mountain snow, but the most recent model shows more neutral conditions. That means a 50-50 chance at this point of a slightly drier or slightly wetter winter, Frazier said.