My Current Weather

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Subtle Changes In The Making.

August 12, 2023.
West Mountain Forest Fire.
Northeast Of Capitan, New Mexico.

Valid At 6 AM MDT.
Sunday, August 13, 2023.

Water Vapor Satellite Image.

Valid At 2:21 PM MDT.
 Sunday, August 13, 2023.

Valid At 6 AM MDT.
Monday, August 14, 2023.

Subtle changes are underway which point to the eventual ending of our brutal 2023 summer. These changes will combine to bring about our annual seasonal drop in temperatures as we progress into the fall.

First the meteorological beginning of fall starts on Friday, September 1st. That is only 18 days away. Slowly but surely our days are getting shorter. On August 1st the sun rose here in Carlsbad at 6:11 AM MDT and set at 7:54 PM MDT. Looking ahead to Thursday, August 31st it will rise at 6:31 AM MDT and set at 7:22 PM MDT. Meaning that the last day of the month will have 1 hour and 53 minutes less daylight. And the sun angle in the sky is slowly sinking. The solar noon in Carlsbad on the 1st occured with the sun angle at 75.5º. On the 31st the sun angle will only be at 66.1º.

So as we progress to the end of the meteorological summer, and the beginning of the meteorological fall, we will have shorter days, and less sun angle in the sky. This plays a huge roll in our daily temperatures slowly dropping with time. Of course this drop in temperature on average accelerates during the fall and winter. 

Roswell's long term average highlow temperatures for August 1st are 96/70. Artesia's 95/66, Carlsbad's 96/71, and Hobb's 94/69. Ruidoso 80/52 and Cloudcroft 71/48. These averages drop by the 31st to: Roswell 92/66, Artesia 91/62, Carlsbad 92/66, and Hobbs 89/65. Ruidoso 77/48 and Cloudcroft 70/46.

We are not done with 100º temperatures here in the southeastern plains just yet. But overall we will see a gradual drop in our daily high temps as the days grow shorter in time. And as more cold fronts enter the area in time, and hopefully the "wetter" effects of El Niño kick in.

Best Chances For Rain In A While Tonight Into Monday!

Looking at the mid-upper level (500 millibar or 18,000' MSL) forecasts maps we also note changes. This Sunday morning a closed low was located southwest of San Diego. With the center of the stubborn unrelenting death ridge of high pressure over Louisiana and the northern Gulf Coast. Between these two features a fetch of monsoonal moisture is surging northward from out of Mexico into New Mexico. 

A strong short wave trough of low pressure with a closed mid-level low was centered over North Dakota and will swing southeast into northern Indiana by Tuesday. This feature will "kick" a surface cold front to the south. Which will work its way southward down the eastern plains of the state today into Monday morning.

The long and short of the story is this. Overall we will see an increase in scattered thunderstorm activity over the local area this afternoon into Monday night. The Sacramento and Capitan mountains will have a decent shot at daily rounds of scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms into next weekend. 

Locally heavy rainfall along with localized flash flooding, lightning, and gusty winds associated with any thunderstorm will be possible. The burn scar areas in the mountains will be venerable to localized flash flooding all week.

Thunderstorms may be ongoing from late tonight into Monday morning for the eastern and southeastern plains of the state.

High temperatures on Monday behind the cold front will range from the mid 60's in the Ruidoso area to the low-mid 60's in the Cloudcroft area. 

Believe it or not but our high temps here across the southeastern plains of New Mexico may not make it out of the 80's on Monday. Roswell is only looking at a high of 81º So far this summer Roswell has had 52 days with daily high temperatures of 100º or higher. Carlsbad 49 days. So Monday's much cooler temps will be a very welcome change. 

El Niño conditions continue to evolve across the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean. Hopefully this will bring a pattern change into New Mexico this fall and winter with lots of rain and snow. How strong it is and how wet our fall and winter will be is unknown yet. 

I shot this time-lapse video of the West Forest fire Saturday afternoon from State Highway 246, northeast of Capitan, New Mexico. Lightning ignited this fire on August 3rd. This is just one of a number of fires currently burning across New Mexico. Our area remains exceptionally dry (severe to extreme drought conditions) after three years in a row with La Niña conditions. The good news is that El Niño has kicked in so here’s hoping we have a wet ending to the summer that leads into a wet beginning of the fall before the first freeze occurs.

UPDATE: Lincoln National Forest West Mountain Fire

Release Date: Aug 11, 2023

Contact(s): Amanda Fry

Incident Start Date: August 3
Cause:  Lightning
Size: 212
Incident Type: Wildfire
Vegetation Type:  Pinyon/Juniper
Fire Strategy: Confine/Contain

Fire Update: Crews from the Smokey Bear Ranger District continue working at the West Mountain Fire, a lightning-caused wildfire that began on August 3. The fire is currently being managed for forest health.

As of August 10, 2023, the fire was reported at 212 acres in size, and moving slowly across the landscape. It is staying within containment lines, and crews continue to establish dozer lines as well as utilize natural landscape for containment barriers. There are no structures or values at risk at this time.

Responders are allowing the fire to move naturally across the landscape, utilizing the event in a confine/contain strategy that will help clear overgrown fuels and debris in the area. In the long-term, it will help improve grazing conditions as well as mitigate the risk of a large-scale wildfire in the area in the future.

Management of naturally-ignited wildfires can protect critical infrastructure, improve watersheds and wildlife habitat, as well as help protect culturally-sensitive areas from future high-severity wildfires.

Smoke Conditions: Smoke will be visible from Ruidoso, Capitan, and along HWY 246.

Closures and Restrictions: None at this time.

There Are None So Blind As Those Who "Will - Not" To See...107.

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