Monsoon season is underway in San Juan County
Many people don't think about it until the time arrives, but knowing what to do if caught out on the road during these storms is important. Compiled by azcentral.com
Seasonal rainy season hasn't produced much so far, but potential for storms remains
FARMINGTON — Monsoon storms have brought about half an inch of moisture to Farmington this month, according to the National Weather Service.
That is a bit less than average for July. Meteorologist Todd Shoemaker of the National Weather Service in Albuquerque said July's average precipitation at the Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington is 0.77 inches. This year, it has received 0.51 inches.
Monsoon season is defined as lasting from the middle of June through September, but it does not usually start until July in New Mexico, according to Shoemaker. He said the last week of July and the first weeks of August have typically been the period when the state receives a lot of its precipitation.
While Farmington is lagging behind the average rainfall for July, there already has been some damage due to the monsoons.
San Juan County Fire Division Chief of Wildland Operations David Vega said there was flooding in eastern San Juan County that did cause some debris to get onto state and U.S. highways near Navajo Dam and Gobernador.
"It was all kind of mild flooding," he said.
The moisture did allow the San Juan County Fire Department to lift its fire restrictions and issue burn permits once again, Vega said.
"It has helped ease the fire danger," he said.
Vega said the county may see heavy rainfall through Friday night.
Shoemaker said while many parts of northern and central New Mexico are under flash flood warnings, Farmington is excluded from that, and the precipitation is expected to fall mainly south and east of Farmington.
Vega said if people are driving and come across a flooded portion of a road, they should not try to drive through it. He encouraged people to turn around and find a different route.
Flash flood warnings have also been issued a bit less frequently this season than in previous years, according to Shoemaker.
"We probably have issued fewer flash flood warnings this year," he said
The weeks ahead have the potential for more storms, including slow-moving storms that could bring heavy rainfall and possible flooding, Shoemaker said.
The NWS predicts that New Mexico will have a near-average monsoon season this year.
While the season has been slow so far, Shoemaker said storms in the upcoming weeks could create average monsoon rainfalls.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.