Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Flash Flood Alert: This is the 'Semi' Part!


In the past few days very wet air coming up from the Gulf has precipitated very good Monsoon conditions along the east side of the Central Mountain Chain.

Here, afternoon thunderstorms build over the Sandia Mountain Front.

Last night, the heavens opened.

We received 0.49 inches of rain in about 30 minutes.

The white flecks you see are raindrops illuminated by the flash. The larger streaks and ghosts are from streams of water falling over the eaves.

This morning we surveyed the results of last night's gullywasher.

Rarely, does one see standing water in our desert mountains. Here, we see the borrow ditch along the extension of Los Pecos doing its job.

But there was trouble in the large culvert on Los Pecos Loop. Much standing water, and washout below meant that the contractor has to remodel how the drainage will work there.

Yesterday, they had dug out the rock bed downstream of the road. Now, there is more water and more work.

Although the rock dams did slow down the water last night, the intensity of the rainfall and the ground saturation created downstream rilling that could eventually undercut the rocks.

Upper level disturbances over the
San Pedro Valley at dawn
is a good indicator that the
flash flood warnings for this
afternoon are accurate.

Bruce and I are driving to Santa Fe this afternoon. He is taking one of the two evening reading classes I am teaching at Santa Fe Community College-UNM Continuing Education extension. I hope there is no serious water on the road at Madrid and Cerillos.

I remember my first Monsoon* season in New Mexico in 1982. I arrived at an Advanced Geomorphology class soaked from the knees down from wading across Lomas Blvd. (Albuquerque proper has no serious storm drains). As I stood in the doorway, water running off my umbrella, I announced to my classmates: "I thought that I was moving to a semi-arid climate!"

The professor responded: "This is the 'semi' part."

*In New Mexico the Monsoon is always capitalized. It it almost spoken in italics. It is that important.

1 comment:

denise said...

Haaa hahahaha. Great response. :)

We have gotten significantly above average rains and snows for almost a year now. Super whacky. I do remember loving the smell of the air during the Monsoon season in NM. Nothing like it!