By Steve Hansen
QCS Staff writer
Just in case you were wondering whether this mid-summer has been hot, it has been.
The National Weather Service said July’s oven-like conditions pushed the county into Stage 1 drought, a non-severe drought condition.
Daily high temperatures averaged 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the month, according to a report from the New Mexico State University Agricultural Research Station at Tucumcari. That’s seven degrees higher than the normal monthly daily average, the research station reported.
New record highs were recorded on July 11, July 18 and July 23, with readings of 108 degrees, 106 degrees and 105 degrees, respectively. Record highs were tied on July 12 and July 22 with 104-degree readings, according to the research center report.
July was also a dry month. The agricultural research station recorded total rainfall of 1.11 inches for the month, compared with a normal of 2.75 inches. For the year, the research station had recorded 7.39 inches at the end of July, more than two inches less than a normal year’s 9.47 inches, by July’s end.
The weather service recorded the severe weather that struck Logan and Ute Lake on July 3, bringing one-inch diameter hail and a windy thunderstorm that flipped over a pop-up camper at Ute Lake State Park.
Statewide, July 2016 was drier and warmer than normal, except in the state’s northwest corner, which was close to normal, according to the weather service.
July’s readings were warm enough to nudge the county into Stage 1 drought conditions, according to Randall Hergert, a meteorologist for the weather service in Albuquerque.
A stubborn high pressure system kept most of the state, including Quay County, warm and dry, Hergert said, but in the past week or so, that system has plodded east, allowing monsoon moisture to move into New Mexico from the south.