El Niño spring outlook for New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Even though Punxsutawney Phil says we’ll have an early spring, KOB 4 double-checked his predictions with another weather expert to find out what we can expect.
“Everyone likes to see statistics, and I get it, but every year is slightly different,” said Richard Naden, a fire weather meteorologist for several Southwest land management agencies.
He says, even though it’s his job to forecast the weather, it’s never really set in stone.
“This El Niño so far has been an interesting one, all of them are different,” said Naden.
Naden says an El Niño weather pattern usually brings warmer, drier weather, like the warm and dry fall we saw this year. But he says weather patterns are shifting heading into spring. That could mean wetter and colder weather, like all the snow we’ve already seen in recent weeks.
Naden says not every cold season turns out to be a winter wonderland.
“Two years ago, we had an absolutely dry wintertime. In spring, we had the wind, that’s when we had the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon deal up in northern New Mexico, which was awful,” Naden said.
He says most of New Mexico seems to be in good shape for a wet spring. He also says the snow pack in many parts of the state will be a huge benefit later during the hotter months.
“All this stuff is hugely important in how it shapes the fire season. So you know, we’re constantly monitoring the weather patterns, precipitation, temperature anomalies. And as you get in the winter months, snow pack,” said Naden.
Naden says these types of long predictions help fire crews determine if they can do prescribed burns. It’s also a big indicator of how fire season will play out.