Recent rains signal beginning of monsoon season

Freedom New Mexico

That water dropping out of the sky is called rain and weather forecasters are speculating it could mark the end of a months-long drought and the beginning of a much-needed monsoon season for eastern New Mexico.

A late evening thunderstorm Monday dropped .20 inches of rain near Clovis and between .37 to .43 inches near Portales, according to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

Officials said .17 inches fell four miles northwest of Tucumcari, with House receiving .41 inches of rain.

More rain was falling late Tuesday and the latest forecast is calling for a chance of rain each day through the week.

“We’re starting to see rain finally across New Mexico, so this is definitely the beginning of the monsoon season,” said Brian Guyer, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “We are behind schedule for the monsoon season, especially for eastern New Mexico. The rainfall that we’re seeing today and tomorrow will be beneficial to alleviating some of the drought conditions.”

Guyer said there will be a chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms every afternoon for at least the next two days then the weather will dry out again over the weekend.

“Essentially what we’ll have is intermittent periods of showers and thunderstorms over the next couple of months,” Guyer said. “We’ll have the potential for heavy showers during that period but beyond that, we’re not sure what the fall season will deliver us.”

Melrose Fire Chief Kenny Jacobs said fires started by lightning Monday kept his department busy through the night and into Tuesday morning.

“We’re ready for a rest,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said there were two fires on the Melrose Range, which is used by the Air Force for training, and another fire consumed about 45 acres in northern Curry County near House.

The fires were stopped and under control by about 6 a.m.

Melrose firefighters also supported De Baca County with a grass fire near Taiban, he said.

There have been 1,100 fires in the state this year with 700,000 acres burned, Jacobs said.

Equipment and personnel are feeling the impact of the volatile fire season.

“It’s just horrible,” Jacobs said.