...Drought Lessening its Grip on New Mexico...
...19% of the State is in Moderate to Severe Drought...
...<1% of the State is Classified as in Severe Drought...
The current and past U.S. Drought Monitor map depictions of drought for New Mexico can be found at:
January - June 2015. Precipitation has been near to above normal across nearly all of New Mexico so far this year, with the exception being the southwest corner. Snowpack and spring snowmelt/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. The graphic below is derived from the PRISM Drought Indicator Tool. For more detailed information on the PRISM precipitation analysis click here.
January 2015. The start of the 2015 Calendar Year was wet and white, with above normal precipitation nearly statewide. As a whole, the state averaged 180 percent of normal! Unfortunately, the heaviest precipitation fell away from the northern mountains where we need it the most. But overall, it was still a good start to the new year.
February 2015. Precipitation was below to well below normal for much of New Mexico through the first three weeks of February. But the final week of the month was exceptionally active with widespread snow, some of it heavy. While the southwest remained below normal, the northeast was above to well above normal. By the end of the month snowpack hovered slightly above normal in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and just slightly below normal in the San Juan and Jemez Mountains
March 2015. Above normal precipitation was the rule for much of central and southern New Mexico. The Northeast Plains and the Northwest Plateau did not faired as well with the bulk of the wetting precipitation events missing these areas.
April 2015. Dry, windy and warm conditions dominated the first 10 days April. A couple of showers skirted across portions of southern New Mexico otherwise it was precipitation free across the Land of Enchantment. Then an impressive rain event unfolded across the southeast third of the state on the 12th and 13th. Numerous one to two inch rainfall amounts were reported across Lincoln, Chaves and Roosevelt counties. A minor to moderate snow event helped bring some precipitation to the north on the 18th. A welcome, widespread rain and high northern mountain snow event impacted the state from the 26th into the 28th.
May 2015. May delivered well above normal precipitation to most of New Mexico as almost daily rounds of showers and thunderstorms impacted the state. The exception was over southwestern areas where well below normal precipitation was reported. Several heavy precipitation events were noted across eastern areas where as much as 4 to 7 inches of rainfall were reported for the month. Some parts of De Baca, Curry, and Quay counties saw those numbers in just a single week between the 18th and the 23rd when flash flooding impacted the area. The May moisture mayhem was able to wipe out short-term drought conditions from all of eastern New Mexico, and significantly improve status within the Rio Grande Valley and nearby higher terrain.
June 2015. The first half of June carried over the active pattern from May. Widespread areas of Arizona into the Four Corners region picked up heavy precipitation during a normally dry and hot period. The remainder of New Mexico experienced daily rounds of shower and storm activity, particularly in an area stretching from Sierra and Socorro counties northeastward into the east central and northeast plains. By the second half of the month, convection began favoring the higher terrain and the high plains during the afternoon and evening hours. Locally heavy rainfall impacted areas within the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains. Otherwise, in comparison the end of the month ended on a slightly quieter note for most of the state.
July 2015. The first half of July has been very active for much of New Mexico as monsoon moisture is now firmly in place. Abundant moisture and instability has offered daily rounds of showers and thunderstorms, some of which have persisted into the overnight hours on several occasions. The western half of the state including the Rio Grande Valley is doing very well so far. The eastern plains benefited from a couple frontal boundaries that surged southwest through the area and enhanced precipitation activity. Some areas of central New Mexico have already picked up 1 to 3 inches of rain this month, with locally higher amounts over 5 inches in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. One particularly active period from July 7th to the 8th dumped a majority of these heavier amounts.
For previous months and years (back to 2002) click here. Make sure you click the circle by "Precipitation Summary".
October 2014 - June 2015. Average precipitation through the first nine months of the 2015 Water Year was 131% of normal. Many areas of the state have done very well for the Water Year, particularly the eastern plains and central valley. The northwest plateau is finally catching up to the pack due to well above normal precipitation for May and the first portion of June.
The official NOAA Climate Prediction Center outlook for New Mexico precipitation during July 2015 strongly favors above normal precipitation over most of the state. The outlook from July through September 2015 also favors above normal precipitation across all of New Mexico, and especially in the northeast half of the state.
The seasonal outlook below indicates remaining drought in New Mexico will improve or be removed over the west.
US Seasonal Drought Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center
(click map to enlarge)
Reservoir storage is below capacity at nearly all lakes across the state. Average statewide reservoir storage was only 29 percent of capacity as of May 1, 2015. 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 models (lower graphic) indicate El Nino conditions will continue through all of 2015 and potentially into early 2016. An El Nino advisory 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. There has been slow, but steady improvement over much of New Mexico, with only the west holding on to moderate to severe drought conditions.
External Links and Sites
This product will be updated in late May, 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: