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New Mexico Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes

 
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The chance of earthquake damage in New Mexico is lower than the national average. The risk of tornado damage in New Mexico is much lower than the national average.

Topics:Earthquake IndexVolcano IndexTornado IndexOther Weather Extremes EventsVolcanos NearbyHistorical Earthquake EventsHistorical Tornado Events

Earthquake Index, #23

New Mexico
0.39
U.S.
1.81

The earthquake index value is calculated based on historical earthquake events data using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the earthquake level in a region. A higher earthquake index value means a higher chance of an earthquake.

Volcano Index, #8

New Mexico
0.0071
U.S.
0.0023

The volcano index value is calculated based on the currently known volcanoes using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the possibility of a region being affected by a possible volcano eruption. A higher volcano index value means a higher chance of being affected.

Tornado Index, #43

New Mexico
15.39
U.S.
136.45

The tornado index value is calculated based on historical tornado events data using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the tornado level in a region. A higher tornado index value means a higher chance of tornado events.

Other Weather Extremes Events

A total of 6,212 other weather extremes events from 1950 to 2010 were recorded in New Mexico. The following is a break down of these events:

TypeCountTypeCountTypeCountTypeCountTypeCount
Avalanche:0Blizzard:9Cold:3Dense Fog:1Drought:65
Dust Storm:9Flood:741Hail:3,047Heat:8Heavy Snow:367
High Surf:0Hurricane:0Ice Storm:5Landslide:1Strong Wind:553
Thunderstorm Winds:1,057Tropical Storm:0Wildfire:27Winter Storm:63Winter Weather:19
Other:237 

Volcanos Nearby

A total of 3 volcanoes are found in or near New Mexico.

NameRegionLatitudeLongitudeElevation (foot)TypeStatusLast Eruption
CarrizozoUS-New Mexico, United States33.78-105.931731Cinder coneHoloceneUndated, but probable Holocene eruption
Valles CalderaUS-New Mexico, United States35.87-106.573430CalderaPleistocene-FumarolQuaternary eruption(s) with the only known Holocene activity being hydrothermal
Zuni-BanderaUS-New Mexico, United States34.8-1082550Volcanic fieldAnthropologyLast known eruption B.C. (Holocene)

Historical Earthquake Events

A total of 23 historical earthquake events that had recorded magnitudes of 3.5 or above found in New Mexico.

DateMagnitudeDepth (km)LatitudeLongitude
1938-09-175.5N/A33.25-108.75
1971-01-044.7935-106.7
1966-01-234.6N/A36.9-107
1977-03-054.62235.91-108.29
1976-01-054.62535.84-108.34
1973-03-174.5636.1-106.2
1966-01-234.5N/A35.9-107.1
1969-07-044.4N/A36.1-106.1
1983-03-024.3834.3-106.89
1973-12-244.11835.3-107.7
1985-08-164.1734.13-106.83
1966-09-244.1N/A36.5-105
1969-01-304.1N/A34.3-106.9
1966-01-254N/A36.8-107.1
1975-12-033.9N/A32.83-108.66
1970-11-283.8935-106.7
1966-09-243.8N/A36.4-105.1
1971-06-043.8535.8-105.6
1971-02-183.7536.2-105.7
1966-09-243.6N/A36.4-105
1976-06-243.5535.62-103.28
1982-09-203.51133.95-107.06
1970-01-123.53336.1-103.2

Historical Tornado Events

A total of 41 historical tornado events that had recorded magnitude of 2 or above found in New Mexico.

DateMagnitudeStart Lat/LogEnd Lat/LogLengthWidthFatalitiesInjuriesProperty DamageCrop DamageAffected County
1954-05-17332°58'N / 103°22'W000K0Lea
1957-10-12332°38'N / 108°10'W32°42'N / 108°03'W8.20 Miles50 Yards00250K0Grant
1964-05-29336°32'N / 104°35'W36°31'N / 104°32'W3.00 Miles33 Yards18250K0Colfax
1977-05-14335°51'N / 104°04'W0225K0Harding
1957-04-21233°54'N / 103°06'W0.30 Mile40 Yards0025K0Roosevelt
1957-05-10236°41'N / 108°13'W0.10 Mile33 Yards1025K0San Juan
1957-05-24234°26'N / 103°33'W34°46'N / 103°03'W36.50 Miles37 Yards00250K0Curry
1960-07-24232°58'N / 103°24'W0025K0Lea
1961-06-03235°12'N / 103°30'W35°09'N / 103°28'W4.30 Miles100 Yards0125K0Quay
1962-05-17235°58'N / 104°14'W36°06'N / 104°08'W10.80 Miles33 Yards0125K0Harding
1962-06-12233°24'N / 104°30'W0.10 Mile33 Yards003K0Chaves
1963-07-12235°18'N / 103°42'W0025K0Quay
1964-06-11235°11'N / 103°03'W003K0Quay
1964-06-11234°24'N / 103°08'W34°23'N / 103°03'W4.90 Miles67 Yards0025K0Curry
1965-06-25233°59'N / 103°14'W33°59'N / 103°03'W10.50 Miles33 Yards000K0Roosevelt
1965-09-18236°24'N / 103°02'W36°26'N / 103°07'W5.10 Miles100 Yards0025K0Union
1968-06-18234°21'N / 103°27'W0.50 Mile500 Yards03250K0San Juan
1970-04-17234°42'N / 103°54'W35°00'N / 103°18'W39.80 Miles50 Yards00250K0Quay
1972-05-07234°16'N / 103°20'W003K0Roosevelt
1972-05-10235°49'N / 103°04'W2.50 Miles660 Yards0025K0Union
1972-06-14233°06'N / 103°13'W000K0Lea
1974-08-11233°13'N / 104°32'W0025K0Chaves
1974-10-10235°07'N / 107°10'W2.00 Miles100 Yards18250K0Valencia
1975-05-27234°40'N / 106°48'W0025K0Valencia
1976-04-30232°34'N / 104°27'W0225K0Eddy
1978-06-04234°56'N / 104°54'W2.00 Miles33 Yards000K0Guadalupe
1982-05-27232°54'N / 105°58'W00250K0Otero
1982-05-27232°42'N / 103°08'W0025.0M0Lea
1991-05-31232°18'N / 104°13'W1.00 Mile283 Yards0212.5M0Eddy
1991-06-06232°36'N / 103°08'W32°36'N / 103°03'W4.50 Miles100 Yards00250K0Lea
1991-06-06232°42'N / 103°22'W32°38'N / 103°04'W17.50 Miles150 Yards00250K0Lea
1991-06-06232°38'N / 103°12'W32°38'N / 103°04'W10.00 Miles150 Yards05250K0Lea
1991-06-06232°38'N / 103°12'W32°38'N / 103°04'W10.00 Miles150 Yards00250K0Lea
1992-06-07232°25'N / 104°15'W0.50 Mile73 Yards06250K0Eddy
1992-06-27235°41'N / 104°24'W0.80 Mile73 Yards0025K0San Miguel
1996-07-25236°30'N / 104°55'W36°31'N / 104°54'W2.00 Miles50 Yards051.7M0Colfax
 Brief Description: A tornado destroyed 11 homes and 7 business in Cimarron. Another 43 structures were damaged. Among the building destroyed was the Post Office which was sliced by the air-borne frame of a mobile home. Of the 5 injuries, 2 were serious, requiring hospitalization. All injuries occurred in mobile homes or portable buildings without permanent foundations. A funnel cloud, which went unreported, was observed by deputies for about 20 minutes. The tornado developed as convection moved over a horizontal shear axis created by southeast surface winds and northwest winds aloft above the foothills located just northwest of Cimarron.
2007-03-23233°07'N / 103°27'W33°15'N / 103°25'W8.00 Miles880 Yards0028K0KLea
 Brief Description: EVENT NARRATIVE: At 4:50 pm MDT, spotters indicated the presence of two wall clouds. Primary indications are that the new wall cloud spawned a second tornado with the supercell thunderstorm 7 1/2 miles west of the community of McDonald, just south of Lea County Road 147. Survey of damage along county road 147 led to an estimation of tornado width of 50 yards at this point. The tornado continued to intensify as it moved northeast. Significant damage was seen 7 1/2 miles southwest of Tatum over ranchland. At this location, 13 wooden power poles were damaged, three snapped off at ground level and others snapped three to twelve feet above ground. A water trough weighing an estimated 300 pounds was thrown from the tornado for several hundred feet. The tornado was visually estimated to be a half mile in width and described as clean in appearance. Damage along this track supports this estimate. It is believed that this tornado lifted just south of N.M. Highway 380, six and a half miles west of Tatum. Spotters also confirmed that the tornado exhibited multiple vortex structure at times during its life cycle. EPISODE NARRATIVE: Around 12:30 pm MDT on Friday, March 23, thunderstorms began to develop over the Guadalupe Mountains of Eddy County. Thunderstorms continued to rapidly develop, becoming severe over portions of Eddy County at 1:45 pm MDT. Thunderstorms also were developing over eastern portions of Culberson County during this time and these thunderstorms would eventually affect Lea County later in the afternoon. At 3:39 pm MDT, a thunderstorm located in western portions of Lea County just northwest of the community of Halfway began to exhibit supercellular characteristics. This prompted the issuance of a Severe Thunderstorm Warning at 3:42 pm MDT for western portions of Lea county. As the supercell thunderstorm moved northeast at 30 mph, the storm continued to intensify. The presence on radar of an intensifying mesocyclone (storm rotation) and a bounded weak echo region, along with key spotter information relayed into our office through amateur radio Net Control Operations prompted an upgrade to a tornado warning. Spotters indicated a developing wall cloud over the area had become fully formed with increasing surface wind inflow. A tornado warning was issued for northern portions of Lea County at 4:28 pm MDT.
2007-03-23234°14'N / 103°10'W34°18'N / 103°09'W4.00 Miles350 Yards002.5M250KRoosevelt
 Brief Description: EVENT NARRATIVE: Tornado with estimated peak winds of near 120 mph severely damaged the Portales City water well facility on State Road 202 about 5 miles east of Highway 70. The tornado moved north northwest destroying a new dairy before continuing northwest into Curry County. No injuries reported but storm debris briefly trapped a dairy employee. About 190 dairy cows either killed by the event or else sent to immediate slaughter due to injuries. Average width approximately 200 yards. EPISODE NARRATIVE: An unusually early and intense outbreak of severe storms with large hail and tornadoes occurred across east central and southeast New Mexico during the afternoon and evening of the 23rd. The average date for isolated first reports of damaging hail over the past 20 years has been March 24th with the location typically confined to far southeast New Mexico. The March 23rd 2007 episode produced a number of large hail events from Roswell to Tucumcari and peaked with multiple tornadoes from near Tatum north to Clovis and northeast of Tucumcari. A tornado at Clovis resulted in the death of two elderly citizens, the first tornado fatalities in New Mexico since October of 1974. The episode was characterized by a slow moving upper level low that produced strong speed shear but nearly uniform southerly directional flow aloft across the eastern and southeastern sections of the state. Storms with large hail developed first during early and mid afternoon from near Roswell north to Tucumcari. Towards late afternoon and early evening as storms migrated north northeast they encountered an increasing but shallow easterly surface flow that enhanced low level shear resulting in brief but shallow tornadoes. Multiple small but elevated vortices were observed circulating around well defined wall clouds with occasional spin downs into brief tornadoes.
2007-03-23234°18'N / 103°10'W34°25'N / 103°11'W8.00 Miles350 Yards23316.5M0KCurry
 Brief Description: EVENT NARRATIVE: A tornado that developed in Roosevelt County continued north northwest into Curry County for about 3.5 miles then tracked north northeast an additional 4.6 miles into southern and east central sections of Clovis. Intensity of the tornado appeared to wane from EF2 120 mph in Roosevelt County to EF1 100 mph as it moved north into Curry County along Highway 70 where damage was limited to power lines and farm irrigation equipment. Intensity increased again to EF2 level 125 mph for a segment extending from about 4 miles south of Clovis northward into southeast Clovis which sustained the heaviest and most consistent damage as indicated by structural damage and downed power poles. The tornado appeared to wane again as it move north over Highway 60/84 just east of the intersection with Highway 70. The tornado track became intermittent north of Highway 60/84 with winds likely less than 85 mph before a final one half mile track of heavier damage and EF2 level winds of 120-125 mph. Average width was estimated at 200 yards. About 500 homes and other facilities sustained at least some damage ranging from complete destruction of mobile homes in southeast Clovis and wall collapse at several businesses along Highway 60/84 to the loss of roof shingles and roof top air conditioning units. Thirty five people suffered treatment injuries including five that required hospitalization. Two elderly citizens died later from injuries sustained during the event making these the first tornado fatalities in New Mexico since October of 1974. EPISODE NARRATIVE: An unusually early and intense outbreak of severe storms with large hail and tornadoes occurred across east central and southeast New Mexico during the afternoon and evening of the 23rd. The average date for isolated first reports of damaging hail over the past 20 years has been March 24th with the location typically confined to far southeast New Mexico. The March 23rd 2007 episode produced a number of large hail events from Roswell to Tucumcari and peaked with multiple tornadoes from near Tatum north to Clovis and northeast of Tucumcari. A tornado at Clovis resulted in the death of two elderly citizens, the first tornado fatalities in New Mexico since October of 1974. The episode was characterized by a slow moving upper level low that produced strong speed shear but nearly uniform southerly directional flow aloft across the eastern and southeastern sections of the state. Storms with large hail developed first during early and mid afternoon from near Roswell north to Tucumcari. Towards late afternoon and early evening as storms migrated north northeast they encountered an increasing but shallow easterly surface flow that enhanced low level shear resulting in brief but shallow tornadoes. Multiple small but elevated vortices were observed circulating around well defined wall clouds with occasional spin downs into brief tornadoes.
2010-05-23236°06'N / 103°10'W36°13'N / 103°07'W9.00 Miles440 Yards00325K0KUnion
 Brief Description: EVENT NARRATIVE: There was damage to agricultural equipment. A single wide mobile home that had tie down straps was completely destroyed and the undercarriage was carried approximately 40 yards. No injuries reported. EPISODE NARRATIVE: A sharp dry line moved west out of west Texas and became stationary over the far eastern plains on Sunday, May 23, 2010. Meanwhile, an unseasonably deep upper level low pressure system over the Great Basin was moving slowly east toward New Mexico. The combination of the upper level disturbance approaching New Mexico and extreme instability along the dry line set the stage for widespread severe weather from Quay County northeast into Union County.
2010-05-23236°21'N / 103°08'W36°33'N / 103°00'W16.00 Miles440 Yards00250K0KUnion
 Brief Description: EVENT NARRATIVE: Debris on Highway 56 was seen at mile post 93. Power lines were down, barbed wire fences and hay bales were all over. In addition, a steel building from a feed lot was destroyed, a cow with a broken leg was observed on the road, and a semi truck was turned over on private property. The tornado crossed the New Mexico-Oklahoma state line approximately 8.7 miles southeast of Seneca and continued into neighboring Cimarron County, Oklahoma. EPISODE NARRATIVE: A sharp dry line moved west out of west Texas and became stationary over the far eastern plains on Sunday, May 23, 2010. Meanwhile, an unseasonably deep upper level low pressure system over the Great Basin was moving slowly east toward New Mexico. The combination of the upper level disturbance approaching New Mexico and extreme instability along the dry line set the stage for widespread severe weather from Quay County northeast into Union County.


* The information on this page is based on the global volcano database, the U.S. earthquake database of 1638-1985, and the U.S. Tornado and Weather Extremes database of 1950-2010.


 
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