Eastern New Mexico in for long hot summer

Thomas Garcia

Roosevelt and Curry county residents can expect higher than normal temperatures through August, according to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

The high in Clovis and Portales reached 102 degrees Monday, according to the weather service, and is expected to hover around triple digits through Wednesday.

This on top of hotter than normal April and May, when the average high temperature in Portales was about seven degrees higher than in 2007, according to Chuck Jones, meteorologist with the NWS of Albuquerque.

“The dry winter is one reason for the increased temperatures in East Central Plains (Curry/Roosevelt),” Jones said. “The lack of moisture in the ground means the sun does not have to work as hard to increase temperatures.”

With the extra heat, utility bills are likely to go up this summer as residents try to beat the heat.

Xcel Energy, which supplies electricity to Portales and Clovis and parts of West Texas, noted a 19.4 percent increase in power usage for the month of May, according to Xcel Energy spokesman Wes Reeves.

“There has rarely been a day this spring that there has not been an increase in power usage,” Reeves said. “On May 31, the daily power load was 32 percent higher than that used one year ago.”

Water usage has also increased in the area due to the temperatures.

The city of Portales billed the usage of 32 million gallons of water in May, up 3 million gallons from April, according to Portales City Manager Debi Lee.

The average amount of water used in Clovis increased from 7 million gallons a day to 10 million gallons a day over the weekend, according to Kathy Wright, general manager of New Mexico American Water Co. in Clovis.

“With the rising temperatures we saw an immediate rise in water usage,” Wright said.

Sales, services and installation of air conditioning units is also on the rise.

Sales of evaporative and refrigerated air conditioners began to increase around mid-May, according to Alan Roberts of Trader Horn’s True Value hardware in Portales.

The technicians at Claiborne Refrigeration Co. in Clovis, have been working service calls and installing new units as late as 10 p.m., co-owner, Phyllis Bryant said.

“We are busier than ever,” Bryant said. “We started receiving calls in mid-May. It seems as soon as the temperature hits in the 90s, the calls start rolling in.”

The potential for an increase in grass fires is also a byproduct of higher summer temperatures.

“We are coming to the start of the prime fire season,” Jones said. “With the increased temperatures across the state, the danger for fires is high.”

Fast Facts

Average temperature in degrees for April/May 2007/2008
April 2007

Roosevelt County
71.6
Curry County
65.9
April 2008
Roosevelt County
78.6
Curry County
72.4
May 2007
Roosevelt County
77.6
Curry County
NA
May 2008
Roosevelt County
85.4
Curry County
NA
Curry county average temperatures in May were unavailable due to incomplete data.
Source National Weather Service in Albuquerque

Temperatures in degrees recorded at 3 p.m. May 31-June 2
Monday
Clovis 102
Portales 102
Sunday
Clovis 95
Portales 95
Saturday
Clovis 93
Portales 93

Highs and lows forecast for Portales
Tuesday 101/62
Wednesday 100/60
Thursday 95/58
Friday 92/62
Saturday 96/63
Sunday 97/63
Monday 94

Highs and lows forecast for Clovis
Tuesday 98/61
Wednesday 98/60
Thursday 92/59
Friday 89/61
Saturday 95/62
Sunday 94/62
Monday 94
Source National Weather Service in Albuquerque

There is a 33 percent chance for tempratures to be above normal high June-August

Roosevelt County normal daytime high average 2007
April 71.6
May 78.6
June 87.5
July 88.8
August 92.6

Curry County normal daytime high average 2007
April 67.5
May 75.9
June 85.5
July 88.9
August 92.6