Record-setting heat wave expected across New Mexico later this week

New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Brace yourselves for record-setting heat as temperatures are expected to reach the triple digits across New Mexico later this week. Temperatures may rise to the highest they have been in three years this weekend, prompting energy companies and airlines to prepare.

It is hot in New Mexico. “It is warm,” Meaghan Cavanaugh with PNM said. “We are definitely in the heat of summer right now. It is supposed to get even hotter later this week all the way into early next week with temperatures in Albuquerque possibly climbing to over 103 degrees. “The next few days are going to get a little toasty,” Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh said when that happens, the heat puts stress on PNM’s system. “Customers are going to be cranking up their air conditioners and swamp coolers,” Cavanaugh said. “They may be utilizing supplemental units just like fans around their house to keep them cool.”

While blackouts are possible due to the strain, Cavanaugh said they are not likely. “It is very rare,” Cavanaugh said. “PNM has more than enough capacity on our system right now. We are not worried about generation capabilities either.”

The heat can impact air travel too. Aviation meteorologist Roger Smith said smaller private planes, recreational air crafts and corporate jets will likely be grounded. He said that is because as temperatures go up, the air becomes less dense.

This makes it harder for some air crafts to take off, especially at higher altitudes. “The danger is they won’t get enough lift under the wings and won’t gain altitude,” Smith said. “They could hit any obstructions just after takeoff. They wouldn’t gain the altitude.”

Smith does not expect any impact on larger commercial planes carrying passengers. He said those planes can take off here at up to around 110 degrees. “The larger commercial carriers can handle it,” Smith said.

Cavanaugh said PNM upgrades their system during off months and has crews on standby to prepare for these kinds of events. “We are prepared to meet the demands of our customers during these hot weather events and keep everybody cool and happy,” Cavanaugh said.

To help reduce stress on the system, Cavanaugh encourages people to sign up for PNM’s Power Saver program. Officials said it is up to the pilots of smaller planes to determine whether to fly. For large commercial flights, it is up to the airlines.


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