New Mexico hit by ‘flash drought’ weather phenomenon
New Mexico hit by ‘flash drought’ weather phenomenon.
ALBUQUERQUE – Across New Mexico, unusually warm March weather and virtually no rain for a month prompted dust storms that closed highways, warnings for some to stay inside and rapid mountain snow melting that could threaten drinking water supplies and farmers’ irrigation needs.
This weather phenomenon – driven by a quick increase in temperatures and a lack of precipitation resulting in bone-dry soil – is called a flash drought.
In New Mexico, the flash drought is ending as quickly as it began because of the recent arrival of rain.
That left a swath of New Mexico’s eastern plains and parts of the Rio Grande Valley in central and southern New Mexico with no moisture in the soil’s top lawyers.
“Things went dry and went dry very fast,” Fontenot said.
Flash droughts typically aren’t severe, but Fontenot said the level of damage that ensues depends on when the phenomenon strikes.
The dry, windy conditions also fueled devastating wildfires in the Texas Panhandle, charring hundreds of square miles and killing four people.
The warm weather prompted faster-than-normal snowmelt atop New Mexico mountains that supply key drinking water supplies and irrigation resources for farmers.
It’s also expected to persist in southwestern Arizona and in parts of southern California as well as parts of Colorado and Oklahoma.