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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Moisture from a tropical storm brewing south of Baja California is expected to cause a New Mexican deluge this weekend, which meteorologists say could be closely followed by the first rains of the monsoon season.
Thunderstorm clouds form over the Sandia in this 2009 file photo. A meteorologist with the National Weather Service believes the onset of this year’s monsoon season may happen next week. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)
National Weather Service meteorologist Kerry Jones said on Wednesday precipitation on Friday and Saturday could dump as much as 2 inches of rain over parts of central and west New Mexico.
That rain could cause flash flooding, especially along burn scars, Jones said.
“Complex terrain, hydrophobic (water-repelling) soil,” he said. “It’s just a recipe for disaster and that’s what we’re going to be facing.”
Tropical Storm Bud was nearing the west coast of Mexico as of Wednesday evening.
Jones said remnants of the storm will travel into New Mexico from the Atlantic, causing heavy rains throughout much of the state this weekend and likely dissipating before Sunday.
Albuquerque can expect a quarter-inch to a half-inch of rain over the weekend.
Jones warned that conditions could become hazardous on and near burn scars, denuded areas where fires have stripped the landscape of trees, plants and detritus, some of which are located near major highways.
The Buzzard, Ute Park and Soldier Canyon burn scars are of particular concern.
Things will likely dry out on Sunday and Monday, Jones said, but things will get wet again mid-week during storms he described as having a “monsoon pattern.”
“We’ve kind of been looking forward to what could be considered an early start to the monsoon season and this could be it,” Jones said.
While the monsoon season is designated as June 15 through Sept. 30, Jones said on average, the season starts near the beginning of July.
The season will still probably last through the end of September.
That could be good news for the drought-stricken state.
As of Wednesday, Albuquerque’s rainfall was 1.3 inches below the normal year-to-date levels of 2.71 inches.
“A longer season is usually good news in terms of coming up to or over the average rainfall,” Jones said.
Exceptionally dry conditions have prompted the closure of public lands and irrigation restrictions throughout the state, 88 percent of which remains in severe to exceptional drought.
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