Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS

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HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EL PASO TX/SANTA TERESA NM
605 PM MST THU MAR 3 2016

...SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK...

...FLOOD RISK IS BELOW AVERAGE FOR SOUTHWEST AND SOUTH-CENTRAL
NEW MEXICO AND FAR WEST TEXAS...

PRECIPITATION AND SNOWPACK...
PRECIPITATION OVER THE PAST 90 DAYS HAS BEEN NEAR TO ABOVE NORMAL
ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN NEW MEXICO...BUT MORE VARIABLE
OVER THE WESTERN THIRD OF NEW MEXICO. IN ADDITION...PRECIPITATION
OVER THE PAST 30 TO 60 DAYS HAS DROPPED BELOW NORMAL OVER MOST OF
THE AREA. SNOWPACK HEADING INTO FEBRUARY WAS WELL ABOVE MEDIAN
ACROSS THE RIO GRANDE HEADWATERS...UPPER GILA...AND UPPER MIMBRES
BASINS. HOWEVER...BASIN AVERAGE WATER EQUIVALENTS HAVE DIPPED BELOW
MEDIAN VALUES OVER MUCH OF THE UPPER RIO GRANDE BASIN...WHILE
SNOW PACK HAS RAPIDLY MELTED OFF IN THE GILA AND MIMBRES BASINS.

RESERVOIR CONSIDERATIONS...
STORAGE REMAINS WELL BELOW CAPACITY AND WELL BELOW NORMAL AT ALL
LAKES AND RESERVOIRS IN NEW MEXICO. THIS WILL GREATLY LIMIT FLOOD
POTENTIAL ON THE RIO GRANDE BELOW CABALLO UNLESS HEAVY RAINFALL
AND FLASH FLOODING CAN DEVELOP IN DRAINAGES BELOW CABALLO DURING
IRRIGATION SEASON. SUCH A SCENARIO WOULD BE EXCEEDINGLY RARE
ESPECIALLY OUTSIDE OF THE SUMMER MONSOON SEASON.

STREAMFLOW...
RECENT WARM/DRY WEATHER HAS LED TO SNOWMELT IN THE GILA AND
MIMBRES BASINS. STREAMFLOW HAS ALREADY PEAKED ON BOTH RIVERS.
STREAMFLOW IS PRESENTLY BELOW NORMAL ALONG THE GILA RIVER...BUT
REMAINS SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL ON THE MIMBRES FOR THE TIME BEING.
HOWEVER...SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT VALUES RANGE FROM 40 PERCENT OF
MEDIAN IN THE UPPER GILA BASIN TO JUST 3 PERCENT IN THE MIMBRES...
SUGGESTING STREAMFLOW SHOULD RAPIDLY DROP OFF IN THE MIMBRES IN
THE COMING DAYS WITHOUT ANY ADDITIONAL PRECIPITATION.

DROUGHT...
NO SHORT TERM DROUGHT CONDITIONS CURRENTLY EXIST ACROSS NEW
MEXICO...BUT SOME ABNORMALLY DRY AREAS HAVE DEVELOPED AND
EXPANDED RECENTLY WEST OF THE RIO GRANDE.

SHORT-TERM OUTLOOK...
THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FOR MARCH
CONTINUES TO FAVOR ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR THE ENTIRE AREA.
A PATTERN SHIFT APPEARS TO BE IN THE WORKS WITH THE THREAT OF
PRECIPITATION RETURNING TO THE AREA EARLY NEXT WEEK.

LONG-TERM OUTLOOK...
THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FOR MATCH...
APRIL...AND MAY 2016 STRONGLY FAVOR ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR
THE AREA.

SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK...
BASED ON NUMEROUS FACTORS...THERE IS A BELOW AVERAGE FLOOD RISK
FOR NORTHERN AND CENTRAL NEW MEXICO...DESPITE THE POTENTIAL FOR
NEAR TO ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION THIS SPRING.

FLOOD RISK ON THE RIO GRANDE BELOW THE DAMS IS ESPECIALLY LOW
GIVEN THE LOW RESERVOIR LEVELS.

THERE IS STILL A NARROW WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY FOR SNOWPACK TO
RECOVER IN THE GILA AND MIMBRES BASINS. SHOULD SNOWPACK
RECOVER...THE RISK OF FLOODING WOULD INCREASE ESPECIALLY IN THE
EVENT OF A HEAVY PRECIPITATION EVENT DURING THE SUBSEQUENT MELT-
OFF.

$$



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