Hansen: Heat gone, but damage is done

As we indicate elsewhere in this newspaper, cooler weather has returned this month to Quay County.

That means we see temperatures below 90 before 10 a.m. once in a while and clouds are appearing daily, sometimes bringing rain — sometimes even thunder, lightning and wind.

Randall Hergert, a friendly voice of the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said July was a miserable string of hot, dry days because a high-pressure system settled over the state like an overbearing, unwanted house guest with a fever.

hansen mugFortunately, like a buzz-killing house guest, the high pressure system got bored with the inactivity it unwittingly caused and moved east, according to Hergert.

In August, weather watching has become fun again. Clouds that had been wanting to experience New Mexico True are again sailing over the state’s five climate zones and occasionally showing appreciation by wetting our parched soil and showing off with some booming fireworks.

I can pull out my cell phone and enjoy the suspense as green, yellow, red and purple storm blobs approach Tucumcari on the weather radar.

Unfortunately, July’s oppressive heat has already withered and shriveled my tomato and pepper crops. The tomato plant gave up after yielding four small red globes, and my Big Jim green chiles became prematurely red Little Jamies.

My bell peppers started quite a few globes, but most of them developed big, discolored patches and stopped growing.

But some wild basil plants have turned up in random corners and their leaves harmonize well with the oregano and rosemary plants that pulled through July like troopers, so it’s been a great summer for Italian food.

Just when it started getting interesting again, however, summer is over.

School and the county fair start this week, and Tucumcari’s municipal swimming pool has shut down.

Autumn doesn’t start officially for another month, but with school buses on the road and 15-mph speed limits in place around school buildings again, fall has arrived.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:


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