City's dry spell broken
August 17, 2003
Danny Acosta, 10, rollerblades as he enjoys the rain Sunday outside his home in the 600 block of Gidding Street in Clovis. This was the first measurable rainfall Clovis has received in more than a month. Photo by Eric Kluth.
Clovis officially ended an historic dry spell on Sunday, recording its first measurable precipitation in 48 days, but most of the region was only teased by rain.
“There was one cell that was so small it looked like a pinhead on the radar, but it was right over you guys,” said Kerry Jones, a meteorologist with National Weather Service in Albuquerque.
NWS weather observer Nancy McPherson said Clovis’ official rainfall total on Sunday was 0.18 inches.
The late-afternoon downpour left puddles on downtown streets and some Colonial Park residents in north Clovis reported showers lasted up to 40 minutes.
A resident in the 2400 block of Gidding Street reported a tenth of an inch of rain. But some areas of town barely received a drizzle.
A weather watcher in the 600 block of Yucca Street received about 1/16th of an inch, while the 1400 block of Reid Street received a trace.
Jones said Clovis’ airport northeast of town reported a trace. Cannon Air Force Base reported no moisture.
Before Sunday, Clovis’ last measurable rainfall came June 28-29 when about a quarter of an inch fell overnight, according to National Weather Service records.
July and August are traditionally the city’s two best months for rainfall, averaging 5.61 inches between them. But this July, Clovis recorded no measurable precipitation for the first time in almost a century of record keeping.
August is traditionally the city’s wettest month and saw 5.08 inches of rain last year.
Before Sunday’s rain, Clovis had received 7.93 inches of rain for the year, all but 2 inches of it in June. Clovis recorded 5.97 inches of rain in June, the most in that month since 1963.
The dry July caused serious problems for area farmers and New Mexico-American Water Company officials have asked city residents to limit outdoor watering through August.
Water company officials said earlier this month that volunteer conservation measures were allowing their storage tanks to fill, but many farmers probably lost crops to hot, dry weather.
“We are getting almost wiped out,” said Stan Jones, Curry County’s agriculture extension agent. “I’d say the majority of the milo right now is burnt up. It won’t be harvestable.”
Irrigated farms also are suffering from the lack of rain.
“You can’t run pumps 24 hours a day to keep (crops) wet,” Jones said. “Some irrigated corn didn’t get nearly as tall as it usually does,” he said. “It needs a little help and in July we normally have a lot more.”
NWS officials said the region has a slight chance of rain the next few days, but chances improve late this week.