Other Hydrologic Information | Special Hydrologic/Climate Features | Related Web Sites  


...Short Term Drought Nearly Gone Across New Mexico...

...Only ~ 3% of the State (Far West Central) is in Moderate Drought...

Current Drought Image for NM

The current and past U.S. Drought Monitor map depictions of drought can be found at:



2015 Calendar Year Review

January - October 2015. Precipitation has been near to above normal across all of New Mexico so far this year. The ten month period from January through October ranked as the 3rd wettest year on record, the wettest since 1941.

Spring 2015 snowmelt and subsequent runoff started early and was well below normal for the 5th year in a row. The well above normal temperatures through April were a major culprit for the receeding snowpack this spring. May arrived and a very active weather pattern ensued over central and eastern areas. Nearly daily rounds of showers and thunderstorms produced heavy rainfall, some of which produced flash flooding over the eastern plains. June remained active with scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms. Locally heavy rainfall impacted the northern high terrain where flash flooding was reported. Short-term drought conditions were cleared from the east while significant improvements were made to central and portions of western New Mexico. July saw the development of a robust monsoon pattern over the area with additional flash flooding. More heavy rainfall added to the already impressive yearly precipitation totals, especially the eastern plains where upwards of 15 to 25 inches of rain has fallen this year. The monsoon diminished in August and September as precipitation was mostly below normal, aside from portions of the eastern plains. October reversed the trend, providing New Mexico with mostly above to well above normal precipitation. Statewide average precipitation in October was 244 percent of normal! The graphic below is derived from the PRISM Drought Indicator Tool and shows the precipitation departure from normal (percent of average precipitation) for 2015 so far (through October). For more detailed information on the PRISM precipitation analysis click here. 


November 2015. Through the 24th of the month, the northwest two-thirds of the state reported plenty of rain and snow, while the southeast third had little or no precipitation so far. 

Previous Months/Years:

For previous months of the current year click here

For previous years (back to 2002)  click here. Make sure you click the circle by "Precipitation Summary".


2015 Water Year

October 2014 - September 2015.  The 2015 water year is now complete. Average precipitation through the 12 months was 118% of normal. This was the 23rd wettest water year on record. Many areas of the state did very well, particularly the eastern plains and portions of the northern, west central, southwest and south central mountains. The Lower Rio Grande Valley also had areas with 120 percent or more of average precipitation. 

graphic showing example of NOAA?NWS precipitation estimation

(click map to see current data)

Precipitation Estimates and departures from normal can be generated for a variety of time periods including the current day, archived days, the previous month and the calendar year to date.


October 2014 - September 2015 

(click map to enlarge)

Long Range Precipitation/Drought Outlook 

The official NOAA Climate Prediction Center outlook for New Mexico precipitation during December 2015 strongly favors above normal precipitation statewide, especially in the south. The outlook from December 2015 through February 2016 also very strongly favors above normal precipitation across New Mexico, especially across the far south.


graphic representing CPC 90 day precip                        outlook

  graphic representing CPC 30 day precip                        outlook

1 Month Precipitation CPC Outlooks

(click map to enlarge)

3 Month Precipitation CPC Outlooks

(click map to enlarge)

The seasonal outlook below indicates remaining moderate drought in western New Mexico will likely be removed this fall into the winter.


US Seasonal Drought Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center 

(click map to enlarge)

Other Hydrologic Information

Reservoir storage is below capacity at all lakes across the state. Average statewide reservoir storage was only 27 percent of capacity as of November 1, 2015. Despite above normal precipitation this year and a sharp reduction in short term drought conditions, it is readily apparent that long term, hydrological drought is very much still with us.

You can use the link below to see the current percent of storage capacity at all the major New Mexico dams (click on "Submit Query"):


All public lands, National Parks and Monuments, BLM lands, State Parks and tribal lands are open across New Mexico. There are some stage one fire restrictions, though. Click on the link below, then scroll down to New Mexico.


Below is a map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the current day of the year. Click on the image to take you to the USGS site.

usgs graphic representing streamflow

  New Mexico Water Watch from the USGS  

 (click map to enlarge image)


Special Hydrologic/Climate Features 

 1. CPC (Climate Prediction Center) forecasters (top graphic) and models (lower graphic) continue to strongly indicate El Nino conditions will continue through at least the upcoming winter. An El Nino advisory is now in effect.




You can get more detailed information on the ENSO forecast from the following links:

2. Below is an animation of the weekly U.S. Drought monitor for the past 6 weeks across the United States. There has been a significant reduction in short term drought conditions across New Mexico this year. Only a small portion of far west has been holding onto moderate drought conditions in recent weeks.

6-week Animation

 Related Web Sites

Drought Indices

Drought Indices Explained
Crop Moisture Index
Palmer Drought Severity Index
Percent of Normal Precipitation
SPI (Standardized Precipitation Index)

    External Links and Sites  

New Mexico State Engineer Drought Task Force
Water Supply Forecast

Additional Information

New Mexico Precipitation Summaries
NDMC Climatology 
NDMC Paloeclimatology 
Western Region Climate Center

This product will be updated in late November, or sooner if necessary in response to significant changes in weather, water supply or drought conditions.


The U.S. Drought Monitor is a multi-agency effort involving the NOAA National Weather Service and National Climatic Data Center, the USDA, State and Regional Climate Centers and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Information for this statement has been gathered from the NWS and FAA observation sites, state cooperative extension services, the U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies.

If you have any questions or comments about this drought information statement, please contact:

National Weather Service
2341 Clark Carr Loop SE
Albuquerque NM 87106

or by e-mail to:



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