Santa Fe, New Mexico New All-time Heat Record?
The great ‘Southwest heat wave of June 2013’ is cranking up and perhaps the first all-time heat record has already fallen. This would be for Santa Fe, New Mexico where the airport location reached 102°F on Thursday June 27th. However, Santa Fe has a complex weather site history.
On Thursday, June 27th, extreme heat baked much of New Mexico with the most anomalous temperatures being observed accross the northern half of the state. The airport at Santa Fe (elev. 6,348’) recorded 102°, the highest ever measured at that location (previous record 100° in July 2010). However, the airport is some 15 miles southwest of and 700-800’ feet lower than the town of Santa Fe itself. Weather observations go back in Santa Fe town since 1867 at the original COOP site located at 7,000’ (until 1972) and from 1972-current at another site in town located at 6,720’. NWS-Albuquerque, which oversees the data for Santa Fe, also lists a COOP site it refers to as “Santa Fe Seaton”. It is unclear if this refers to the most recent downtown COOP site.
In any case, the Santa Fe Seaton site registered just 98°F yesterday (June 27). The all-time record highs for the two downtown COOP sites are 98°F for the 1867-1972 location (on June 21, 1954 and July 12, 1947) and 99° at the more recent COOP location (on June 26, 1994 and July 28, 1995). So although we can say June 27, 2013 was the hottest measured at any official location in Santa Fe, the 98° downtown appears to fall just short of the city’s official record of 99°. A Davis Vantage Pro 2 unit measured 100° in Marcy Park which is on the north side of town and situated at 7,500'. If that temperature verified, it would be the highest elevation 100° has ever been measured in the U.S.A map of the Santa Fe area. The ‘A’ marks the location of the Santa Fe Airport some 15 miles southwest and 700-800’ feet lower than the city. Marcy Park (which is indicated by the little green spot above the 'Santa Fe' on the map above and located at 7,500'), measured 100° on June 27th. If that was a valid observation it would be the highest elevation in the U.S. to ever register 100°F
Meanwhile, it was 105° in Albuquerque on June 27th, tying for the 2nd hottest temperature ever measured in the city but short of the all-time record of 107° set on June 26, 1994.
It is interesting to note that the June 1994 heat wave was the most intense on record for the Southwest so far as all-time maximum temperatures are concerned. It was during the 1994 event that official state heat records were set for New Mexico (122° at Waste ISO Plant, a suspicious figure), Arizona (128° Lake Havasu City), Texas (120° at Monahans, a tie with older records), and Nevada (125° at Laughlin). Death Valley, California reached 128° on June 29, 1994, their hottest June temperature on record. Yesterday (June 27th) it hit 122° (121.8°) in Death Valley and 125° on June 28th. All eyes are on DV this weekend when the ever elusive 130°F mark has a chance of being attained.
It would appear that the current heat wave might develop into the hottest such since the June 1994 event. Here is an interesting discussion posted on the NWS-Las Vegas web site page Thursday (June 27th) night:
I’ll post an update on Sunday on the latest heat wave statistics/records.
Christopher C. Burt