Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS

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HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EL PASO TX/SANTA TERESA NM
346 PM MST THU MAR 5 2015

...SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK...
...LOW FLOOD RISK FOR SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO AND FAR WEST TEXAS...
...BELOW NORMAL FLOOD RISK FOR THE UPPER GILA RIVER BASIN...

EXISTING CONDITIONS...

...PRECIPITATION...
PRECIPITATION OVER THE LAST 90 DAYS HAS GENERALLY BEEN WELL ABOVE
NORMAL ACROSS A WIDE SWATH OF CENTRAL NEW MEXICO...INCLUDING THE
RIO GRANDE BASIN. PRECIPITATION HAS BEEN AT OR SLIGHTLY ABOVE
NORMAL IN FAR WEST TEXAS...AND GENERALLY 70-80% OF NORMAL ACROSS
THE GILA BASIN.

...SNOWPACK...
SNOWPACK AS OF MARCH 5TH FOR THE UPPER RIO GRANDE BASIN RANGES
FROM 86 PERCENT OF NORMAL IN COLORADO...TO 92 PERCENT OF NORMAL
IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO.

DESPITE PRECIPITATION BEING SLIGHTLY BELOW NORMAL IN THE GILA
BASIN...WARM TEMPERATURES HAVE ALLOWED FOR STEADY SNOW MELT
THROUGH THE SEASON. AS A RESULT...SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT VALUES AS
OF MARCH 5TH ARE AROUND 40 PERCENT OF NORMAL IN THE GILA
BASIN...AND JUST 23 PERCENT OF NORMAL IN THE MIMBRES BASIN.

...RESERVOIR CONDITIONS...
DUE TO THE ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION IN THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY
ABOVE ELEPHANT BUTTE...RUNOFF AND LIMITED SNOW MELT HAVE CAUSED
RESERVOIR LEVELS TO SLOWLY INCREASE. ELEPHANT BUTTE`S ELEVATION
WAS 4,310 FEET IN EARLY NOVEMBER...AND HAS RISEN 16 FEET TO 4,326
FEET IN EARLY MARCH. THIS IS STILL AROUND 27 FEET BELOW THE
AVERAGE MARCH ELEVATION OF 4,353 FEET (BASED ON 1920-2014 DATA) AND
81 FEET BELOW CONSERVATION POOL ELEVATION OF 4,407 FEET. STORAGE
VOLUME IS AT 333,205 ACRE-FEET WHICH IS 17 PERCENT OF CAPACITY AND
WELL BELOW NORMAL.

CABALLO RESERVOIR HAS ONLY RISEN 2 FEET SINCE NOVEMBER 1ST AND
IS CURRENTLY AT 4,142 FEET. THIS IS 10 FEET BELOW THE AVERAGE
MARCH ELEVATION OF 4,152 FEET (BASED ON 1940-2014 DATA)...OR 40
FEET BELOW THE CONSERVATION POOL ELEVATION OF 4,182 FEET.

OUTLOOKS...

...SHORT-TERM METEOROLOGICAL OUTLOOK...
THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FOR MARCH 2015
FAVORS ABOVE-NORMAL PRECIPITATION ACROSS MOST OF NEW MEXICO AND
FAR WEST TEXAS...ALONG WITH THE WESTERN HALF OF COLORADO. WITH THE
HIGHEST CHANCE FOR ABOVE-NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOCUSED NEAR THE
CONTINENTAL DIVIDE. THE TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK CALLS FOR ABOVE NORMAL
TEMPERATURES IN FAR WESTERN NEW MEXICO...WITH EQUAL CHANCES FOR
ABOVE NORMAL...NORMAL...OR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR THE
REMAINDER OF NEW MEXICO AND FAR WEST TEXAS.

...LONG TERM METEOROLOGICAL OUTLOOK...
THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FOR MARCH
THROUGH MAY 2015 INDICATES ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION ACROSS NEW
MEXICO AND FAR WEST TEXAS...WITH EQUAL CHANCES OF TEMPERATURES
ABOVE...AT OR BELOW NORMAL.

...SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK...
BASED ON THE ABOVE CONSIDERATIONS...THE RISK OF SPRING FLOODING IS
LOW ACROSS THE REGION. SPRING FLOODING ON THE RIO GRANDE IS NEARLY
A NON-ISSUE BELOW ELEPHANT BUTTE LAKE ESPECIALLY WITH THE LAKE
ELEVATION REMAINING 26 FEET BELOW NORMAL AND 81 FEET BELOW THE DAM
SPILLWAY. RAINFALL AT A SUFFICIENT RATE AND VOLUME REQUIRED FOR
RIVER FLOODING BELOW ELEPHANT BUTTE AND CABALLO DAMS IS HIGHLY
UNLIKELY IN THE SPRING MONTHS...AND IS RARE EVEN DURING THE SUMMER
MONSOON.

SNOWPACK LEVELS ARE TOO LOW TO ELEVATE THE FLOOD RISK IN THE GILA
AND MIMBRES BASINS...EVEN WITH PRECIPITATION EXPECTED TO BE ABOVE
NORMAL IN THE COMING MONTHS.

$$

HARDIMAN






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