By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
It wasn’t much more than a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things, but Wednesday morning’s rain was a welcome sight for agriculture producers.
Measuring at a quarter inch at Cannon Air Force Base, it was the first measurable rain in Clovis in nearly five weeks , according to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. The last recorded rain was on March 6, when .03 inches was reported, according to Raymond Jojola, a hydrometeorological technician for the NWS. There was also a trace amount measured on March 23.
Portales also received about a 1/4 inch.
Joe Whitehead, an area resource conservationist in Curry County, said he’d love to see a quarter inch of rain daily for the next few weeks, but isn’t optimistic on it helping farmers.
“It’s significant in light that we haven’t had a drop,” Whitehead said. “It’s certainly welcome, but it’s not enough for a wheat crop.”
Whitehead said long-standing rain could help with sorghum, but April is generally one of eastern New Mexico’s driest months.
Another item that hurt the wheat crop, Whitehead said, was the lack of precipitation from winter 2007.
“The wheat’s the big thing, and that affected everybody’s grazing,” said Whitehead, who noted wheat prices are up. “There’s very little grazeable wheat.”
Today’s weather forecast has areas south of Interstate 40 in what the weather service calls a “red flag” area due to fire danger. Jojola said winds will start at the west from 25-35 mph, and could increase to as much as 55 mph.
Jojola said there is a 10 percent chance of rain.