...Two Small Areas of Exceptional Drought Develop In Far Eastern New Mexico...
...Over 97 Percent Of The State Is In Moderate To Extreme Drought...
...Nearly 80 Percent of the State is in Severe 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. February was an improvement, but still well below normal at only 27% normal precipitation. That makes the first two months of 2014 the driest on record, with only 16% of normal precipitation, and a statewide average of just 0.20 inches. March was better, but below normal, at 64% of the statewide average. For the first three months of 2014, statewide average precipitation was 34% of normal, at 0.67 inches. This was 1.32 inches below normal, the 3rd driest on record.
April 2014. The first half of April has been mostly devoid of precipitation across the southwest half of the state, while the northeast half faired better, although still mostly below normal. Only north central New Mexico has been above normal.
March 2014. As we reached the end of the month, we found northwest and southwest New Mexico with mostly above normal precipitation, near normal for central areas and below normal for the east. Much needed, widespread, significant precipitation fell upon New Mexico during the first two days of the month, especially over the western and central areas. Storms through the rest of the month packed more wind than precipitation.
% of Normal Precipitation: March 2014
February 2014. Precipitation was mostly below normal, especially in the southwest and a portion of the northeast.
October 2013 - March 2014. Average precipitation for the 1st six months of the 2014 Water Year was near 50% of normal. The driest area was the Southern Desert Division with 31% of normal. The wettest area was the Northern Mountains Division with 73%.of normal.
The official NOAA Climate Prediction Center outlook for New Mexico precipitation for May 2014 is for about equal chances of below normal, near normal or above normal precipitation. The outlook from May through July calls for better chances of above normal precipitation compared to near or below normal precipitation.
The seasonal outlook below indicates drought will improve over western and central portions of New Mexico and may even be removed in a small area centered around Albuquerque.
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 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. CPC forecasters continue to indicate neutral ENSO conditions into the Spring, then begin to trend toward El Nino conditions during the summer. An El Nino watch remaines in effect, with forecasters predicting a greater than 50% chance of El nino conditions developing this summer.
2. Below is an animation of the weekly U.S. Drought monitor for 2014 so far across the United States. Note how the drought worsens over New Mexico through the first three plus months of this year.
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.
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: