Share

The Most Extreme Weather State of 2013

By Jon Erdman
Published: September 27, 2013

An Exceptional Drought

mouseover-code Home Page

Above: High-resolution satellite imagery showing Elephant Butte Reservoir, near Truth or Consequences, N.M. on July 8, 2013. Move your cursor over the image above to see the reservoir when it was about 89 percent capacity on June 2, 1994. (Images: NASA Earth Observatory)

New Mexico Drought Status

Status of New Mexico drought on Jun. 25, 2013. Progressively darker shading corresponds to worse drought. Darkest brown indicates exceptional drought, the worst category. (Image: NOAA/USDA/NDMC)

In late spring and early summer, the outlook was dire in New Mexico.

By late May, Albuquerque had set its record driest two-year period dating to the 1890s. 

In late June, almost 45 percent of the state had slipped into exceptional drought, the worst drought category in the weekly Drought Monitor analysis. This was the most exceptional drought coverage of any state at the time.

Concern grew over low water levels in the Rio Grande, which roughly splits New Mexico in half, due to the lack of spring snowmelt. Reservoirs were running low, opening up the possibility of water coming solely from wells, instead of the river, in the Albuquerque metro area.

Elephant Butte Reservoir, shown in the images above, had shrunk to only 3 percent capacity by late July, the lowest levels there since 1972, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This reservoir supplies drinking water for nearly half of the population of El Paso, Texas.

Then, the rain arrived.

NEXT > Destructive Flooding


Featured Blogs

Little Change to 93L

By Dr. Jeff Masters
July 30, 2014

An area of disturbed weather located near 9°N, 45°W at 8 am EDT Wednesday, about 1150 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands (93L), has the potential to develop into a tropical depression by Thursday, but is struggling with high wind shear today. Visible satellite loops on Wednesday morning showed 93L had a well-defined surface circulation and some low-level spiral bands. However, infrared satellite images showed heavy thunderstorm activity was very limited, and the storm is fighting high wind shear of about 20 knots.

Rare Coastal California Lightning Storm Kills One and Injures 12

By Christopher C. Burt
July 29, 2014

A freak thunderstorm quickly developed off the Pacific coastline near Los Angeles Sunday afternoon and moved onshore at popular Venice Beach in Los Angeles County. Frequent lightning strikes killed one man and injured a dozen others. This may be the only time that a summertime beach lightning fatality has occurred in California history.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.