2011 Water Year Precipitation
2011 Calendar Year Precipitation
 October 2010 - July 2011
January - July 2011
thumbnail graphic of water year precipitation through July
thumbnail graphic of calendar year precipitation through July

Calendar Year 2011 Precipitation 

July marks the start of the summer shower and thunderstorm (North American Monsoon) season for the western two thirds of New Mexico; a time when the south central and southwest portions of the state normally receive 35 to 50 percent of their yearly precipitation. Much of south central and southwest New Mexico saw significant rainfall during July 2011 from spotty showers and thunderstorms, the first significant precipitation since the start of 2011.

Precipitation during July 2011 was spotty in that most showers and thunderstorms covered relatively small areas and the result was wide variations in rainfall amounts over short distances. For example, in Albuquerque, the Airport (official observing location) rainfall for July totaled 0.43 inches (normal is 1.35 inches), while the Foothills coop observing site measured 2.70 inches (normal is 2.46 inches). In nearby Rio Rancho, July rainfall varied from 0.40 inches to 1.61 inches. Cloudcroft reported 7.34 inches of precipitation during July while Ruidoso measured 1.78 inches.

Through July, the Northwest Plateau climate division averaged a statewide-best 76 percent of normal precipitation, while the Southeastern Plains climate division was the driest region at 21 percent of normal precipitation.  The Northern Mountains climate divisions received 47 percent of normal precipitation during the first seven months of 2011, while the Southern Desert climate division averaged 45 percent of normal precipitation, and the Central Valley (mid Rio Grande Valley) climate division averaged just 29 percent of normal precipitation.

The NOAA National Climatic Data Center reports that the first seven months of 2011 represent the driest start to any year on record for New Mexico (see graphic below). Through July of 2011, statewide precipitation improved slightly but was still only 42 percent of normal (up from 30 percent of normal at the end of June). Statistics for Texas are similar in that the first seven months of 2011 were the driest on record. 

state precip rankings by NCDC through June 2011

Water Year Precipitation 2011

The first ten months of water year 2011 had been the driest start to any water year on record for New Mexico. The Northwest Plateau climate division received 84 percent of normal precipitation and the Northern Mountains climate division 59 percent of normal precipitation from October 2010 through July 2011.
The Southern Desert climate division averaged 39 percent of normal precipitation, while the Central Valley and Northeastern Plains climate divisions received about 35 percent of normal precipitation. The driest climate division was the Southeastern Plains at 24 percent of normal precipitation.
Statewide average precipitation through the end of July 2011 was only 49 percent of normal.

A tabular summary of the precipitation data is available in pdf format.

Precipitation ranks for a number of periods, are available from NCDC.

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