Multiple heat records were set in New Mexico as temperatures climbed well above the 100-degree mark, including in southeast New Mexico.
The National Weather Service’s Albuquerque office reported Roswell set a record-high temperature at 109 degrees, with the previous record for that date reported at 108 in 2019.
Albuquerque also had a record of 102 degrees for July 19, with the previous record 100 degrees in 2019.
Tucumcari and Las Vegas also set records for that date, the National Weather Service reported, rising to 109 and 95 degrees, respectively.
But in the sweltering desert region to the southeast, temperatures approaching 110 degrees are typical in the middle of summer.
Carlsbad reached 106 degrees Tuesday, per records from the National Weather Service, while the record was 109 degrees for July 19, set in 1965.
Thursday’s record-high was 106 set in 2019, records show, while this year that date’s forecast was at a high of 103 degrees.
A heat advisory was in effect through Wednesday when forecasters warned the higher temperatures could increased the danger for heat exhaustion and illness.
Residents were advised to stay in doors as much as possible, where air conditioning and drinking water can be accessed.
Meteorologist Jim Deberry with the National Weather Service’s Midland-Odessa Office said a high-pressure ridge gathered over southeast New Mexico, gradually heating the region for days.
“It’s a really strong ridge of high pressure,” Deberry said. “Something that also adds to it is if it hangs around for a while. It has a cumulative effect. You start already in a kind of spring.”
He said he expected the ridge to shift to the southeast U.S., giving some relief to New Mexico and the Carlsbad area.
Friday and Saturday were predicted to cool down to 98 degrees, sunny in the mornings and partially cloudy at night, per the Weather Service, with similar conditions Sunday and Monday.
“The ridge is going to shift to the southeastern region (of the U.S.),” Deberry said. “We’ll have a few days of relief.”
He said dry conditions can also help boost temperatures perilously high, as soil moisture can often keep the heat at bay.
“The drought really does not help,” Deberry said. “Soil temperatures will keep temperatures from climbing too high. This is a pretty bad heat wave.”
Drought conditions continued to impact southeast New Mexico, although a few sporadic rain events early in the summer offered some respite, per the latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor for July 12.
The northern half of Eddy County was in extreme drought, Drought Monitor’s third of four classes of drought, with the worst class, exceptional drought, reported along the counties northern border with Chaves County.
Eddy County’s southern half was listed at severe drought, down a class from extreme drought which almost completely covered neighboring Lea County to the east and Chaves County to the north.
Three months ago of April 12, the monitor reported all of Eddy County was in extreme drought conditions.
Extreme drought also declined statewide, as the monitor showed 32 percent of New Mexico was in that category as of July 12, compared with 52 percent April 12.
Extreme drought means increased danger of wildfires, vegetation dying and threats to local agriculture.
At the Carlsbad Irrigation District, the water allotment provided to its customers – mostly farmers and ranchers in southern Eddy County, was 1.7 acre feet (AF).
An acre foot is the amount of water needed to cover an acre of land one foot deep, allotted based on the size of a customer’s land.
This year’s allotment was about the same as last year – the lowest since 2012’s allotment of 0.08 acre feet, CID records show.
The hot, dry conditions led to 94 heat-related visits to New Mexico emergency rooms between July 1 and 18, per a report from the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH).
The Department said it expected dangerous temperatures to remain throughout the state until Friday.
Symptoms of heat illness, per the DOH, included muscle cramping accompanies by heavy sweating, or cold-clammy skin, a fast or weak pulse, nausea, vomiting or fainting.
Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, when the body loses the ability to sweat, and requires medical attention.
“These are exactly the weather conditions where heat-related illnesses are possible, and can get serious, even deadly, very quickly if not recognized,” read a DOH statement. “The DOH urges New Mexicans to never leave children, pets, or anyone in a parked car, even for a few minutes. Not only is it law in many cases, but the health risks rapidly become highly dangerous.”
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, [email protected] or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.