Water drains from a field at Guy Leeder Softball Complex in April. (Staff file photo)
By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer
Local farmers are holding out hope that the rain will stay away in the coming weeks so they can continue to harvest cotton. But the National Weather Service is predicting wetter than normal weather in the near future and possibly for the next two months.
That’s why Mark Williams was in his field harvesting his cotton crop long after the sun went down Sunday evening.
“We’re running every spare moment we have to try to get this crop in,” said Williams, who farms about 2,500 acres of cotton near Farwell.
The wet weather has hampered attempts to get the crop in by making it too muddy to drive machinery into the fields. However, Williams believes things will turn out OK if he can get his crop in by Christmas.
“We started back harvesting on Friday,” Williams said. “We’ll be all right as long as it will quit raining.”
Statistics compiled by the NWS show Clovis has experienced its wettest November in recorded history and the fourth-wettest year overall.
Through Saturday, 3.31 inches of precipitation had fallen on Clovis, smashing the previous record of 2.72 inches recorded in 1986.
The yearly total stands at 28.21 inches. This is the wettest year since 1960, when Clovis recorded 32.29 inches of moisture. Only 1941 (46.91) and 1923 (36.06) have been wetter since the NWS began keeping statistics in 1910.
The weather service in Albuquerque issued a winter storm watch for Curry County until Tuesday morning, a result of a strong cold front plunging into the eastern plains early this morning and abundant moisture in the atmosphere.
Today’s high temperature is not expected to get above 32 degrees, and the overnight low is predicted at 17. The NWS is reporting a chance of scattered snow storms in the area today.
National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Jones said the wet weather is a result of large, slow-moving storm systems coming from the northwest feeding off of sub-tropical moisture over the Pacific Ocean. He said those storms turn east and move across New Mexico, resulting in a very moist atmosphere at the low, mid and high level.
“It’s just been an active fall pattern,” he said.
He said moisture over the next two months will probably be higher than usual. He said an El Niño has developed in the Pacific Ocean, and in the late winter and early spring that may contribute moisture to storms systems moving across the state.
November averages .59 inches of moisture, NWS statistics show.