drought

Droughts are such uncertain things that it is folly to be too precise when saying when one starts or ends. But I will entertain the folly by being extremely precise. The southwest’s first great drought of the 21st century began Sept. 1, 1999.

I know because that is the day I put up a rain gauge in my backyard. I was doing a story for the newspaper about an extraordinarily wet August that year when I made the acquaintence of Robert DeBlassie, who lives in Albuquerque’s south valley and keeps rainfall stats as a volunteer for the National Weather Service. In the course of the conversation, DeBlassie asked where I lived. When I told him, he pointed out that the weather service didn’t have a volunteer observer in that neighborhood, and asked if I’d be interested. When I said yes, he didn’t hesitate, driving out that afternoon to the newspaper with a rain gauge.

I mounted it out in the backyard, got my booklet of official U.S. Department of Commerce form WS B-91′s, and waited.

I got rain the first three days, but September 1999 was a little below average. October was a lot below average. During November, not a drop fell.

In the nearly four years since I started keeping track, we’ve had seven months with significantly above-average precipitation and 24 months with significantly below-average precipitation.

So for my money, the drought starts there.

2 Comments

  1. John,
    I am happy to know you are still taking rain data. I will have my annual report about the middle of January and I will take one to you. I am also doing a daily comparison of temperature. I have completed Oct-Mar daily comparison of Max and Min temperatures. I will also take you a copy of the comparisons.
    Robert DeBlassie

  2. John,
    I am happy to know you are still taking rain data. I will have my annual report about the middle of January and I will take one to you. I am also doing a daily comparison of temperature. I have completed Oct-Mar daily comparison of Max and Min temperatures. I will also take you a copy of the comparisons.
    Robert DeBlassie

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