July rain: what a difference a month makes

I got what may be my all time favorite reader comment a couple of weeks back when I tried to explain that the summer rains New Mexico has been getting do not mean our drought is over:

This article is miserablism at its absolute worst. How about looking at important progress in reservoirs like Conchas where water levels are up 6 feet – during the summer months? It’s pretty obvious you don’t reverse a ten year drought in a month, but looking at Elephant Butte and concluding nothing beneficial has occurred, when the rainwater hasn’t even made it that far yet, is just Fleck being his usual dismal self. If you don’t like living in a desert, why don’t you move??

I must admit I was a little worried when it started raining the first week in July. But once I realized I could write about storms ruining alfalfa and flooding neighborhoods and twist the knife with the “but the drought’s not over!” taunt, I knew I was golden. This is a once-in-a lifetime journalistic opportunity. Fleck the Miserablist, at your service.*

I loved the comment so much, I wrote the same story a week later, but my trolling failed.**

We got 3.09 inches (7.8 cm) of rain at our Albuquerque house in July. That’s our wettest month since August 2008. Still just 63 percent of average for the water year, but much better than it was.

2012-13 water year, Heineman-Fleck house

2012-13 water year, Heineman-Fleck house

* This paragraph is a joke. Its purpose is to poke fun at me and my profession, incentivized, as Danah Boyd argues, by fear and the attention economy.

** This paragraph also is a joke. I wrote the second story because the drought really is serious, and all available evidence suggests the rains have helped little, and public understanding seems an important thing. Plus fear economy.