Portales has returned to high temperatures and no rain in the last week with temperatures ranging from 96 to 103 degrees.
According to National Weather Service forecasters, the usual temperature for the area this time of year is about 90 degrees, placing Portales several degrees above normal each day since July 20.
“We’ve seen an area of high atmospheric pressure that’s been building up in the central U.S. and the south central U.S., which is the cause of a lot of this heat,” said meteorologist Todd Shoemake at the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. “The monsoon season is under way but that tends to affect the western half of New Mexico more than the eastern half.”
Shoemake said New Mexico has started coming out of its period of La Nina in the last two months but has yet to go into the El Nino pattern.
“Right now, we’re in what we call a neutral pattern,” Shoemake said. “We are now just kind of in between La Nina and El Nino. I think it will generally last for the next two to three months at least.”
Shoemake said what this neutral pattern means is a lot of heat and very little moisture.
Portales residents have been finding ways to cope with the high temperatures the last week by alternating their lifestyles in various ways.
Shelly Evans said she and her two children, Hunter and Erin, have been visiting the Portales City Pool three to four times a week the entire summer.
“We stay indoors a lot and if we do have to be out, we drink lots of water,” Evans said. “If we want to get out for air, we wait until after 8 p.m. or leave at 6:30 in the morning because in between is too miserable.”
Jody Paden said her family has been visiting the city pool about twice a week throughout the summer along with other heat-coping activities.
“The kids have been playing in the sprinkler a lot,” Paden said. “We’ve really been trying to stay indoors. We wait until evening to go out. We ride bikes and walk the dogs in the evening.”
Shoemake said it will be at least three months before local areas will see the full blown rain season but it will be even longer before eastern New Mexico’s drought conditions improve.
“We are still seeing extensive drought in eastern New Mexico, including in Clovis and Portales,” Shoemake said. “The eastern half of the state has seen some rain but not enough. Even if we do see some exceptional moisture in the next few weeks, it would still take us a while to get back to normal.”