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New Mexico Severe Weather Awareness Week 2013

on March 26, 2013 - 9:39am

Los Alamos National Laboratory during a morning rain and hail storm. Courtesy/LANL

NOAA News:

Monday marked the beginning of New Mexico Severe Weather Awareness Week 2013, which runs through Friday, March 29.

To bring awareness to the community, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service released the following information:

What Types of Severe Weather Can I Expect in New Mexico?

  • All 33 counties in New Mexico experience severe thunderstorms producing high winds, large hail, deadly lightning, and heavy rains at some time during the year.
  • During the spring, from April through June, severe storms are at a peak mainly in the eastern areas of the state. Storms become more numerous statewide from July through August.
  • Tornadoes have been verified in most New Mexico counties. The highest risk of tornadoes is in the east during April through July.  However, tornadoes have been documented during every month EXCEPT November, January and February.  
  • New Mexico has averaged about 10 tornadoes per year since 1980.
  • New Mexico experiences mostly weak, short-lived tornadoes. Strong tornadoes, while rare, are possible and occur about once every 10 years.
  • New Mexico's complex terrain favors the formation of numerous small landspouts, a weak and short-lived variation of the tornado similar to a dust devil. Landspout tornadoes may form without the presence of a strong thunderstorm.

Here are some more tornado and hail facts for New Mexico...

  • Seventy-five percent of severe storms with tornadoes occur in eastern New Mexico and are most likely to occur between April and July. However, the latest tornado fatalities in New Mexico occurred on March 23, 2007 when two people died (and 33 were injured) around Clovis. Another fatality occurred west of Albuquerque in October 1974 and a rare winter tornado was reported southwest of Roswell in December 1997. Thus, tornadoes can be deadly at anytime and nearly anywhere within the state, even at both low and high elevations.
  • The Cimarron tornado on July 25, 1996 caused nearly $2 million in damage, but fortunately only six injuries.
  • Other tornadoes that caused multiple injuries include: Carlsbad 1992 (6 injured), Maxwell 1964 (1 dead, 8 injured), Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron 1960 (34 injured), Wagon Mound 1930 (3 dead, 19 injured) and Logan 2007 (12 injured.)
  • Most counties across the eastern half of the state will see large hail ranging from golf ball to softball at least 6 to 8 times during the spring and also during the summer thunderstorm season.
  • Sixty-six percent of all hail reports are 1” diameter (quarter-sized) or less. Small hail is much more frequent and common in all counties, especially across the east.
  • Counties in the central and western areas will see damaging hail at least twice each year. Hail the size of baseballs or softballs has been reported near Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces within the past 3 to 6 years. The Socorro hail storm in October 2004 caused nearly $40 million in damage from baseball sized hail and, more recently, a devastating hail storm resulted in nearly $10 million damage from Santo Domingo Pueblo to Cedar Crest and the Albuquerque East Mountains on Oct. 2, 2010.
     
  • Knowing the hazardous weather safety rules, developing or reviewing preseason action plans and conducting severe weather safety drills are vital preparation activities throughout your community, at school, at work, in the hospital or health care facility or in your home or private residence.
  • Staying informed during hazardous weather is critical. Media partners, including your local TV or commercial radio station relay vital severe weather messages and warnings. NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) offers a direct link to National Weather Service forecasts and alert messages.
  • The National Weather Service offers a variety of messages and warnings to alert the public or local community to hazardous weather. Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches provide advanced notice of potential hazardous weather and when you should make special efforts to monitor your radio, TV or other information sources for alert messages. Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warnings are alerts to imminent severe weather in your community. You may have to take immediate action to move to shelter if storms are close, or else stay on high alert if distant storms threaten your location within the next 30 to 60 minutes.

Review of 2012 Severe Weather

{Severe weather is defined as hail greater than or equal to ¾ of an inch, thunderstorm wind gusts greater than or equal to 58 mph, a flash flood or a tornado.}

  • The National Weather Service received 125 severe weather reports in 2011, compared to 313 in 2010. These totals do not include wind gusts greater than or equal to 58 mph that occurred from non-thunderstorm wind events – of which there were several, and some more damaging than thunderstorm wind gusts.

The tables below show the breakdown of reports received in 2011 and 2010.

2012 Severe Weather Reports

Event

ABQ CWA

Statewide

Tornado

6

6

Hail

93

156

Tstm Wind Gust

34

41

Flash Flood

28

37

Total

161

240

2011 Severe Weather Reports

Event

ABQ CWA

Statewide

Tornado

1

2

Hail

36

52

Tstm Wind Gust

34

43

Flash Flood

22

28

Total

93

125

 

 

HAIL

  • The largest hailstone reported in the state in 2012 was near softball-sized (~4.50”.) This was reported near Dora, Roosevelt County on June 12, 2012. 

THUNDERSTORM WIND:

  • The highest measured thunderstorm wind gust was 87 mph which was reported at White Sands Missile Range at Phillips Hills, southwest of Carrizozo. This occurred during the evening of August 18, 2012.

TORNADOES:

  • Six tornadoes were reported in 2012 across New Mexico.Four of them were rated EF-0 and two of them were rated EF-1. The same supercell that resulted in extremely large hail, also produced two short lived tornadoes in Roosevelt County. The first, approximately 3 miles east-northeast of Floyd, produced EF-1 damage, though the hail damage was far more extensive.
  • The other EF-1 tornado occurred near Magdalena. This was a rare tornado that not only occurred west of the central mountain chain, but also occurred in a relatively mountainous area itself. 
  • At least one tornado has been reported each year since 1953, and before that it is likely that most tornadoes went unreported.The highest number of tornadoes ever reported was in 1991, when 31 tornadoes devastated parts of the state, especially Eddy and Lea counties.
     

For severe weather preparedness and safety information, visit http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abq/?n=prepawareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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