The last few days have felt more like mid-August than early June over the Land of Enchantment, as the North American monsoon makes an early arrival. Daily rounds of afternoon thunderstorms have been the rule, and the increased moisture in the atmosphere has made it quite uncomfortable. For those of you with swamp coolers, you've probably noticed that they're not cooling very well with the increased humidity. Thursday was definitely a monsoon day for the Albuquerque metro area. Thunderstorms initially developed over the East Mountains during the early and mid-afternoon
. Outflow boundaries from those cells raced into the Rio Grande Valley, causing new cells to form over the West Mesa around dinnertime. More outflow boundaries swept back toward the Sandia and Manzano Mountains, causing more storms to form over the Northeast Heights and southeast part of the city. With abundant moisture and light steering flow, widespread rainfall amounts of 1/2 to 1 inch were reported across Albuquerque. Doppler radar estimates indicated a couple of pockets of 2 to 3 inch rainfall amounts in the South Valley. The Albuquerque International Sunport recorded a daily record of 0.80 inches yesterday, while we recorded 0.94 inches here at PAGCORE Solutions home office in Albuquerque's Northeast Heights.
How do we know whether or not the monsoon pattern has set over New Mexico? Well, you could look at it from the calendar, or from the dew point. Climatologically, the North American Monsoon season for New Mexico runs from June 15th to September 30th. However, the general rule of thumb for Albuquerque marks the onset of the monsoon pattern when the surface dew point at that location surpasses 47 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the monsoon season, daily rounds of thunderstorms develop over mountainous regions of the Intermountain West in the early afternoon, and then move into the adjacent valleys depending on the steering flow. Some days are more active than others, depending on the strength and position of the subtropical high and other synoptic features nearby.
For the upcoming week, the threat of more storms is on tap for Tuesday before the subtropical high strengthens over New Mexico, causing a downtrend in thunderstorm activity and intensifying heat over central New Mexico for Wednesday through Friday. Widepsread 90-degree heat will prevail over the Land of Enchantment, and Albuquerque may hit 100 degrees Thursday and Friday before a trough currently off the California coast moves inland and brings slightly cooler temperatures and an increase in thunderstorm activity.