Bad news for already overheated New Mexicans: The next few days could bring record or near-record high temperatures across the state, according to the National Weather Service.
“Usually, Santa Fe would be getting rain every day or every other day at this time of year,” said Clay Anderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. “But it’s not a normal year, and this heat wave is likely to be in New Mexico’s top five on record.”
Temperatures could remain abnormally high through the middle of next week, lingering in the 90s in Santa Fe and low 100s in Albuquerque. The National Weather Service forecast in Santa Fe for Friday calls for a high of 94 and Saturday a high of 95.
The region saw some rainfall last weekend, but it did little to improve steadily increasing drought conditions across most of the state — particularly extreme in Northern New Mexico. This weekend’s heat wave is likely to make those conditions worse, Anderson said.
He recommended taking a trip into the mountains to catch a break from the heat.
Santa Feans Tom Patton and Andrea Martinez both said they plan to stay inside.
Patton said he has been ventilating his home to keep it cool.
“I open all the windows and doors at night to get the cool air in and then close everything during the day,” he said. “It’s kind of working.”
Martinez has an air conditioner, but also routinely carries around her own moisture.
“Keep a spray bottle around and just mist yourself,” she said.
Martinez said “there’s no way” she’s going outside this weekend — because even a spray bottle won’t stand up to extreme heat for long.
Inside or out, keeping a water bottle on hand is a good idea. Anderson said staying hydrated is key to avoiding heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
But hope for rain is not lost. Anderson said he is reasonably confident Santa Fe will get some moisture at the end of next week as the heat wave breaks. Though temperatures may continue to be higher than normal, he said, storms in the forecast next weekend may be the start of a more consistent monsoon.
The monsoon, associated with heavy afternoon downpours, has long been a hallmark of a Southwestern summertime but is becoming increasingly unpredictable due to changing weather patterns and rising global temperatures associated with climate change, Anderson said.
With winter’s snowpack nearly gone, the monsoon is desperately needed to counter worsening drought conditions, he added.
“There’s no telling how much rain we would need to significantly reduce the extreme drought conditions in parts of the state,” Anderson said. “If the monsoon could just stop the drought from getting worse, now that would be a win.”