ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s the kind of wind that keeps you up at night.
Two storm systems swept through the state — bringing with it howling winds with gusts of more than 50 miles per hour, biting temperatures and a reported six inches of snow in the Northern mountains.
“The storm is weakening a little bit but there’s yet, another one behind that,” said National Weather Service Senior Meteorologist Chuck Jones.
Jones has spent more than 20 years tracking storms. He says tracking storm models is especially challenging in Albuquerque.
“You don’t often get a handle on them until they’re by us and out into the center part of the country,” Jones explained.
Jones says these tracks tend to shift as storms move in from the Pacific. It’s why what started as a promising winter season, ended in drought.
“That storm track shifted just a few hundred miles to the north and that makes all the difference in the world, obviously,” said Jones.
For the months of January, February and March, it meant states like Utah and Colorado enjoyed snowfall upon snowfall.
“With the storm track to the north, we lose out of the moisture and, instead, we get what we call a dry slot,” Jones said.
Not only did New Mexico miss out, but Jones says getting side-swiped by a storm can actually do the opposite — drawing in wind and dry air. So while skiers and snowboarders reveled in fresh powder to the north, New Mexico faced a moderate drought thanks to the added toll of warmer than normal temps.
“I know it’s been a while since we’ve seen a lot of precipitation, but the winter as a whole, and a little bit more, was above normal, which is what you would expect in an El Nino,” said Jones.
He says we got lucky in April. The storm track shifted to the south and brought enough precipitation to put New Mexico above normal for the month.