March Can Be A Wild Month Weatherwise In New Mexico.

Meteorologically speaking spring sprung itself upon us last Friday. Trust me it will feel like spring today and tomorrow with our forecast high temps today expected to be in the low 80's for the Roswell, Artesia, Carlsbad, and Hobbs areas. Monday's temps are forecast to be even warmer, jumping up a few more degrees into the upper 70's to the upper 80's.

Our afternoon highs today and tomorrow will be averaging some 15 to 20 degrees above normal. A few new daily record high temp records may be set across the local area today and again tomorrow.

Strong westerly winds are forecast to rake the area today and tomorrow as well. Of course they will, it is after all March. West winds are forecast to gust up to around 45 mph today, and around 50 mph tomorrow. There may be areas of localized blowing dust as well, especially tomorrow over our more dust prone locations.

Even stronger winds are forecast across the Guadalupe's with southwesterly to westerly winds increasing to 40 - 50 mph with gusts over 65 mph.

Roswell, NM Today.

Roswell, NM Monday.

Artesia, NM Today.

Artesia, NM Monday.

Carlsbad, NM Climate Co-Op Station Today.

Carlsbad, NM Climate Co-Op Station Monday.

Carlsbad, NM Airport Today.

Carlsbad, NM Airport Monday.

Hobbs, NM Today.

Hobbs, NM Monday.

 GFS 500 MB Analysis At 5 AM MST This Morning.

GFS 500 MB Forecast At 5 AM MDT Next Saturday.

 GFS 6-Hourly Accumulated Snowfall Forecast.
Valid At 5 AM MDT Monday, March 11, 2013.

Our next significant late winter, early spring storm, is forecast by the models to affect the Desert Southwest by late next week, and on into the following weekend. Just what exactly this storms impacts will be on the state and nearby areas is a little unclear yet. But given the history of recent storms that have taken a similar track, this one needs to be watched closely.

March usually is a pretty wild month for New Mexico. As we try and roll out of winter and into spring, the atmosphere is fully engaged in a battle between these two seasons. Strong upper-level storms are still riding the jet stream southeastward out of the Gulf of Alaska, while encountering a progressively warmer atmosphere in time the further south they come. 

Powerful winter storms can, and often do, buffet our state during March. Heavy snows often hammer the mountains while high winds and blowing dust batter the lower elevations. Its not unusual to see our temps here in the southeastern part of the state climb up into the 90's. Nor is it unusual for us to see snow and some pretty cold temps.

Occasionally severe thunderstorms develop across the eastern side of the state. Sometimes the dryline lights up across the eastern third of the state as it did on March 23, 2007. Golfball to lime sized hail and two tornadoes were noted in Eddy County. 

March 3 - 9 is National Severe Weather Preparedness Week across the nation. Now would be a good time to review your safety plans for your home, work, churches, and other public gathering places, just in case severe weather strikes your area this year.

Clovis, New Mexico suffered an EF2 tornado which killed two people, injured 35, and caused some 16.5 million dollars in damages. The tornado's average width was 200 yards and damaged some 500 homes and other buildings.

Episode Narrative An unusually early and intense outbreak of severe storms with large hail and tornadoes occurred across east central and southeast New Mexico during the afternoon and evening of the 23rd. The average date for isolated first reports of damaging hail over the past 20 years has been March 24th with the location typically confined to far southeast New Mexico. The March 23rd 2007 episode produced a number of large hail events from Roswell to Tucumcari and peaked with multiple tornadoes from near Tatum north to Clovis and northeast of Tucumcari. A tornado at Clovis resulted in the death of two elderly citizens, the first tornado fatalities in New Mexico since October of 1974. The episode was characterized by a slow moving upper level low that produced strong speed shear but nearly uniform southerly directional flow aloft across the eastern and southeastern sections of the state. Storms with large hail developed first during early and mid afternoon from near Roswell north to Tucumcari. Towards late afternoon and early evening as storms migrated north northeast they encountered an increasing but shallow easterly surface flow that enhanced low level shear resulting in brief but shallow tornadoes. Multiple small but elevated vortices were observed circulating around well defined wall clouds with occasional spin downs into brief tornadoes.
Event Narrative A tornado that developed in Roosevelt County continued north northwest into Curry County for about 3.5 miles then tracked north northeast an additional 4.6 miles into southern and east central sections of Clovis. Intensity of the tornado appeared to wane from EF2 120 mph in Roosevelt County to EF1 100 mph as it moved north into Curry County along Highway 70 where damage was limited to power lines and farm irrigation equipment. Intensity increased again to EF2 level 125 mph for a segment extending from about 4 miles south of Clovis northward into southeast Clovis which sustained the heaviest and most consistent damage as indicated by structural damage and downed power poles. The tornado appeared to wane again as it move north over Highway 60/84 just east of the intersection with Highway 70. The tornado track became intermittent north of Highway 60/84 with winds likely less than 85 mph before a final one half mile track of heavier damage and EF2 level winds of 120-125 mph. Average width was estimated at 200 yards. About 500 homes and other facilities sustained at least some damage ranging from complete destruction of mobile homes in southeast Clovis and wall collapse at several businesses along Highway 60/84 to the loss of roof shingles and roof top air conditioning units. Thirty five people suffered treatment injuries including five that required hospitalization. Two elderly citizens died later from injuries sustained during the event making these the first tornado fatalities in New Mexico since October of 1974.
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  1. Enjoy the warming! Glad March is usually more benign or mild over in the RG Valley, except the dust storms.

    Used to go to Carlsbad Caverns many late Marches, and 2 times it was either chilly or cold and you had ice or snow the morning we got there, yet it was the usual 65-70+/- in Abq both times.

    And both of those times, it was 85F down there the next day, then a cold front and a dust storm the day we left. Back in Abq behind the cold front, it was 55F (a 10-15F drop), but SE NM drops / goes up by 40F+!


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