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


...Moderate Drought Across ~37% of New Mexico...

Current Drought Image for NM

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



2016 Calendar Year Precipitation

May 2016. May started out with a bang across northern and central NM. Widespread rain and mountain snow impacted the area, especially from the Continental Divide westward from the 1st to the 3rd. A couple more fast moving systems crossed northern NM with scattered showers and thunderstorms on the 6th and 7th then again from the 9th through the 12th. The next round of precipitation began on the 17th and continued into the 19th. This has left much of western NM with above normal precipitation for May, while central, eastern and far southern portions of the state have been near to below normal.

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. An active weather pattern unsued through the rest of the month with several light to moderate rain and snow events. A majority of the state ended up with above normal precipitation. 

January - April 2016. The first five months of 2016 have averaged 67 percent of normal. Most areas have been below normal with the exception of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and northeast. 

. Previous Months/Years:

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".


2016 Water Year Precipitation

October 2015 - April 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) while January through March only averaged 44 percent of normal (11th driest on record)! April finally reversed the drying trend and ended up with 129 percent of normal. 

                                                                          October 2015 - April 2016



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.

(click map to enlarge) 

October 2015 - April 2016


Long Range Precipitation/Drought Outlook 

The official NOAA Climate Prediction Center outlook for New Mexico precipitation during June 2016 is pretty much equal chances of above, near or below normal, with a slight tilt toward above normal in the far northeast. The outlook from June through August 2016 is also equal chances of above, near or below normal precipitation. 




1 Month Precipitation CPC Outlooks

(click map to enlarge)

3 Month Precipitation CPC Outlooks

(click map to enlarge)

The seasonal outlook below indicates the recent return to moderate drought over western and southern New Mexico will likely be removed as we go through the summer, except right along the NM/AZ border and far southwest NM. 


US Seasonal Drought Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

Other Hydrologic Information

Reservoir storage is below capacity at all lakes across the state. Average statewide reservoir storage was only 31 percent of capacity as of May 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.

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 computer models (lower graphic) continue to indicate El Nino conditions will weaken this spring, with 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.

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. In New Mexico, abnormally dry conditions and moderate drought across the state, with about 40 percent of the state now in a moderate drought.

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 (updated)
Water Supply Forecast

Additional Information

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

This product will be updated in late May or early June, 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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