According to the Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari which is part of the New Mexico State University System, temperatures were creeping near the normal average level and precipitation is above the normal level.
Patricia Cooksey of the Agricultural Science Center said the temperature and precipitation were a welcome change from past years.
The daily average for February was 39 degrees while the normal for February is 42 degrees. Quay county received .59 inches of precipitation for February which is .12 over the normal average for February of .47 inches.
In fact. February saw 8.1 inches of snowfall over the month. Cooksey said the snowfall did not all come at the same time. She said there was one fall of three inches, another of two and one of three that made the total of just over eight. The snowfall brought the total for the year to 10.1 and 13.6 for the snowfall for the winter. Leonard Laurialt, director of the center said even with the increased precipitation and snow, there is no indication that the increased moisture is sufficient to end the current water problem.
“It is really hard to tell,’ said Laurialt about the February precipitation, “but I would not forecast it being a drought breaker. Still, it’s certainly encouraging”
Laurialt said the moisture is very good news for area wheat farmers but the water table or those who irrigate is more dependent on the moisture received in the areas further north.
“In the mountains up above Las Vegas,” said Laurialt, “That’s where it’s key to receive the moisture.”
Laurialt said it is not unusual for the Quay county are to have an increase in the moisture during February.
“Since I’ve been here,” said Laurialt, “It’s been averaging about every other year, but to be sure, I hope this would continue.”
The wettest February on record was 1912 when the county received 2.4 inches of moisture while the most recent dry year was 2000 when Quay County received no moisture for February. However, it had happened a number of other times also.
Temperaturewise the hottest day ever recorded in February was in 2002 when the temperature hit 83 degrees. The coldest day fell in 1933 when the thermometer fell to 16 degrees below zero.