Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Winds Wednesday

The southwestern resident knows spring has arrived, when the winds get worse and more common.

Weather fronts, or just intense heating of the ground when nearby mountains and the atmosphere are still relatively cold, can bring about wind. And in spring, the above often combine many days. This begins in Albuquerque, except in colder years, between late February and early March. Spring winds seem to be more common in the 3000'-6000' elevations of the desert, though few are safe some years.

Sunday 3/18 @ 12 noon:



Getting dusty, hazy, and the placid and mild spring morning is now a memory. The air now has some fine grit in it, and it smells dry and stale.

Most of this dust is of natural causes (contrary to a few desert phobes, central New Mexico is not prairie grassland - even remotely - having at most 25-50% live plant cover or another way, at least 50-75% bare soil between plants - desert grassland, like up by me. Sandy and/or drier areas can have under 10% live plant cover - desert or sand scrub, either side of the valley, usually below 5200' elevation. There are vast areas of either type of sparse desert vegetation surrounding Albuquerque and other towns in the RIo Grande Valley, into Arizona, and that area is larger than many states. Places like Albuquerque and El Paso are downwind of it all.

Then there is the cause by mass grading from development practices - sometimes necessary, but more than not, required by codes and symptomatic of a poor land ethic. It is already sparse enough out there without that adding to the issue.

Sunday 3/18 at 4 pm:

The visibility is now under 1 mile, and all that brown is sand, dust, and soil fines over 1000' deep, blowing from a 50+ mile area.



Sunday 3/18 at 5 pm:

Still not pretty, but I can see further already. After the unseasonably cold air moves in for a few days, it shall soon clear and return to average, then warmer, and then probably do it all over again. Seasons!

As it warms into spring in the Chihuahuan Desert. When the winds stop, it gets hot, and then it is summer.

And for those who still think Albuquerque is prairie, keep pretending!

As for me, I'll take the occasional dust storms, to gain the majority of pleasant desert spring days and evenings, while I can!

12 comments:

  1. Ironically, most of us hate the spring winds and dust, but complain vehemently during the dog days of summer when nary is there a breeze.

    We have eaten our share of dust already here in SE NM, and I doubt that we are done this spring. Come on monsoon and El Nino.

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    1. Yes, always best to appreciate the moderate temps and just keep our mouths shut (don't breathe into the wind!). I recall a late March wind storm returning home from Carlsbad...as bad as Abq, but still better than El Paso dust storms.

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  2. Been in 1 dust storm, Dallas, TX.

    Made the mistake of opening my mouth. Couldn't shut it until I got inside and washed teeth off with water.

    They closed the airport. A silly memory.

    College days.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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    Replies
    1. Am used to the dust / sand now, but the ears, hair and skin get coated, too. Arrgh! Moving to the foothills from the west mesa helped, too.

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  3. Well I hear about alot of hating of winds and spring dust storms, but maybe there'a a possitve take somewhere here.

    You're all alot closer to the Monsoon season and for me that is my favourite time of year. Unfortunately in my new part of the world, Scandinavia, I can only dream of monsoonal moisture coming up from Mexico and making everything fresh again.

    You guys don't know how fortunate you are, but I do agree about dust and wind. I hate it too.

    Have fun anyways.

    Cheers

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the positive is the last sentences of "pleasant evenings and days"...maybe "divine" is a beter word for the other 2/3 of the time?

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  4. Todos los lugares son especiales, me gusta ver sus fotografías para enterarme paso a paso lo que sucede en su latitud. Mi madre vive en un clima semidesértico quizá por eso me identifico un poco con su lugar y vegetación. Ahora que veo esto se que es muy distinto.

    Un abrazo.

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    Replies
    1. Sí, incluso los lugares en la misma región ecológica ... El Paso TX terribles tormentas de arena se pone, incluso peor que Albuquerque. Causada por las cosas mismas. Pero ahora está en calma y suave!

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  5. In the Palm Springs area, Spring is usually mild. Mt. San Jacinto & San Gorgonio pretty much block most of the pollution from the LA region leaving the air pretty clear. Usually the winter & spring storms are also blocked by the mts and dump their precipitation there, not the valley floor. It's the summer monsoon winds from the south that bring up the dust and sewage/sulfur smell from the Salton Sea.

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    Replies
    1. I remember Borrego, which is probably like Palm Springs, but even more cut off from Pacific moisture. Crystal clear, and warm enough that not many storms get in by then, though I recall some strong W winds, but not much dust. I also remember the Salton Sea smell..."eww".

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  6. I found this by accident. Check it if you may.

    http://www.oldlongisland.com/2010/02/black-point.html

    I accept there is beauty without question in the composition in many ways. But it seems sterile to yours truly. The sterility most people seem to perceive in desert conditions, ironic. Isn't it?

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    Replies
    1. Interesting blog post you sent...yes, a nice composition, but perhaps a bit "stale"! Our stale dust storm atmosphere is perhaps so hostile to humans out, but when it clears, so much comes alive in the calm?

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