...Moderate Drought Across ~44% of New Mexico...
The current and past U.S. Drought Monitor map depictions of drought can be found at:
April 2016. The 1st day of the month was wet and white as a storm from late March departed. Most of the snow fell over the northern and central mountains, with rain in the lower elevations, especially across the southeast. Widespread rain and high mountain snow was welcomed on the 8th into the early morning of the 9th, favoring the southwest two-thirds of the state. Mostly dry weather occurred from the 10th through the 14th. Then a slow moving storrm brought much needed rain and mountain snow to the Land of Enchantment from the 15th through the 18th.
March 2016. The weather pattern remained very dry for the large majority of New Mexico for the entire month of March. The only notable weather system for the month impacted the far northeast plains on the 26th when several inches of snow fell from near Angel Fire to Raton and Clayton. The prolonged stretch of dry weather since early January has set the stage for the re-development of drought across much of New Mexico. Several areas had not received a wetting precipitation event (greater than 0.10 inches) in about 10 weeks.
For previous months of 2016 and 2015 as well as a recap of the 2015 year, click here.
For previous months and years (2014 back to 2002) click here. Make sure you click the circle by "Precipitation Summary".
October 2015 - March 2016. The start of the 2016 Water Year was off to an excellent start until much drier conditions developed in early January. Unfortunately, February was even worse and March was downright abbysmal. Statewide precipitation for the October 2015 to March 2016 period averaged 126 percent of normal. It's been a roller coast ride though. The first three months of the water year, October through December, averaged 188 percent of normal (7th wettest on record). The last three months, January through March, only averaged 44 percent of normal (11th driest on record)!
The official NOAA Climate Prediction Center outlook for New Mexico precipitation during May 2016 favors above normal precipitation statewide. The outlook from May through July 2016 also favors above normal precipitation across New Mexico, especially across the far north.
The seasonal outlook below indicates the recent return to moderate drought over western and southern New Mexico will persist, with drought over far northeastern and east central New Mexico will likely
US Seasonal Drought Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center
Reservoir storage is below capacity at all lakes across the state. Average statewide reservoir storage was only 30 percent of capacity as of April 1, 2016. Despite above normal precipitation in 2015 and a sharp reduction in short term drought conditions, it is readily apparent that long term, hydrological drought is still very much 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.
New Mexico Water Watch from the USGS
(click map to enlarge image)
1. CPC (Climate Prediction Center) forecasters (top graphic) and computer models (lower graphic) continue to indicate El Nino conditions will continue through the remainder of the spring, then neutral conditions during the 2016 summer, and La Nina conditions for the 2016 fall and winter. An El Nino advisory remains in effect. A La Nina watch is now in effect.
2. Below is an animation of the weekly U.S. Drought monitor for the past 6 weeks across the United States. In New Mexico, abnormally dry conditions have greatly expanded across the state, with about 44 percent of the state now in a moderate drought.
External Links and Sites
This product will be updated in late April, 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
or by e-mail to: