Albuquerque, New Mexico — If this is spring, we haven’t seen it this moody in years. Over the past few days, Albuquerque has been pummeled by unseasonably cold temperatures and high winds, with gusts often in excess of 40 mph. Usual spring activities such as hiking, biking, and taking the kids for walks are impossible due to dust flurries, which have become so powerful as to drive a fine film of dirt over every piece of furniture in our house despite our best efforts to keep all doors and windows closed. Cleaning yields mediocre results at best – the dust is back within an hour, making for a frustrating but ultimately pointless battle against the elements.
Around the Big-I, where Interstates I-40 and I-25 meet, visibility is so bad at times, drivers have to slow down to far below the speed limit to avoid serious accidents. Meanwhile, the West Side, with its steady influx of traffic to and from Rio Rancho, is sometimes nearly invisible when viewed from within the city.
The dust flurries out there, says Jose Lujan of Albuquerque, get so dense, he’s avoided a trip to Cottonwood Mall for three days because he does not want to endanger anyone by putting one more car than necessary on the road.
Lujan, an avid hobby gardener, also fears for his newly budding trees and plants. “It’s always a concern,” he says, “but this year, I’m afraid I won’t get any fruit at all out of my garden. If this weather keeps up and it keeps getting so cold at night (Weather.com reports below 30 degrees at times), everything’s going to freeze.”
According to Weather.com, there’s no immediate relief in sight – more cold temperatures and windy conditions for the weekend, with zero chance for precipitation on Saturday and Sunday. On the bright side, Weather.com does predict a brief period of sunny weather from March 31st to April 2nd, with a chance of rain for April 3rd and 4th. Rain, at least, we can use!