...No Exceptional Drought Yet In New Mexico...
...But 96 Percent Of The State Is In Moderate To Extreme Drought...
The start of the 2014 calendar year was extremely dry. January statewide precipitation was well below normal to non-exsistent at only 4% of normal! This was the driest January on record going back to 1895, with a statewide average of only 0.03 inches.
March 2014. Much needed, widespread, significant precipitation fell upon New Mexico during the first two days of the month, especially over the western and central areas.
Actual Precipitation: March 2014
February 2014. With the month complete, precipitation has been mostly below normal, especially in the southwest and northeast.
January 2014. The first month of the year was void of precipitation over most of central and southern New Mexico. There was a little snow in the northeast on the 4th and high northern and western mountains on the 9th. A little snow fell again in the northeast on the 23rd. Some snow fell in the northwest mountains late on the 30th through the 31st. This was the driest January on record, with a statewide average of only 0.3 inches.
Actual Precipitation: January 2014
October 2013 - January 2014. Statewide average precipitation for the first four months of the 2014 Water Year was 58% of normal. The driest area was the Southern Desert Division with 34% of normal. The wettest area was the Northern Mountains Division with 77%.
The official NOAA Climate Prediction Center outlook for New Mexico precipitation for March 2014 is for better chances of below normal precipitation, compared to near or above normal precipitation. The outlook from March through May is for equal chances of below, near or above normal precipitation.
The seasonal outlook below indicates drought will develop in the far southeast and likely worsen elsewhere through much of the spring.
US Seasonal Drought Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center
(click map to enlarge)
The current U.S. Drought Monitor map depiction of drought for New Mexico can be found at:
Reservoir storage is well below capacity at all lakes across the state, although summer rains and epic September rain helped bring up storage levels some in most resevoirs. Water levels are lowest at Abiquiu, Cochiti, Caballo, Brantley, Elephant Butte, Conchas, Santa Rosa and Sumner Lakes. Average statewide reservoir storage is only 23 percent of capacity. You can use the link below to see the current percent of storage capacity at all the major New Mexico dams:
Areas affected by current and past large fires in 2011, 2012 and 2013 are closed. Please see the following link for a listing of the current closures and fire restrictions. Click on the small map of New Mexico, then Fire Alert link at the top right of the page.
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. For the 2013 Year, average statewide precipitation ranked as the 47th wettest (72nd driest) year on record. July and especially September helped erase major short term precipitation deficits. Meanwhile, average statewide temperatures ranked as the 44th warmest (75th coldest) on record.
Figures provided by the National Climatic Data Center
2. CPC forecasters continue to indicate neutral ENSO conditions into the Spring, then begin to trend toward weak El Nino conditions during the summer and fall. An El Nino watch has been issued, which means El nino conditions may develop within the next 6 months.
3. Below is an animation of the weekly U.S. Drought monitor for the past year (late Feb 2013 - late Feb 2014) across New Mexico. Note the worsening drought into early July, then improvement for most of July and August, and dramatic improvement in September, followed by a gradual worsening of the drought again.
External Links and Sites
This product will be updated in mid March, 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.
Thanks to Deirdre Kann, our Science and Operations Officer, for providing many of the links and automatically updating graphics, and the general design of much of this page.
If you have any questions or comments about this drought information statement, please contact:
National Weather Service
or by e-mail to: