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Published December 19, 2011
New Mexico Drought Status(data through 12/13/11)
Data Source(s): New Mexico State Drought Monitoring Committee, U.S. Drought Monitor
Drought conditions have improved slightly from one month ago, particularly in southwest New Mexico. In this region, exceptional drought is no longer present, and extreme drought only covers a sliver on the Arizona-New Mexico boarder (Figure 5a). However, 91 percent of the state is still classified with abnormally dry conditions or a more severe drought category, according to the December 13 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor (Figure 5b).
Several early winter storms in late November and early December dropped several inches of precipitation on parts of Grant and Luna counties in far southwest New Mexico. These amounts are two to four times above average for this time of year and have helped improve drought conditions that had been classified as extreme since last winter. These storms, however, missed eastern parts of the state. In the last 30 days, less than a quarter-inch of precipitation, or less than 25 percent of average, has fallen in this region. With the expectation that a weak to moderate La Niña will continue into next year, drier-than-average conditions are still favored in most of New Mexico into the spring (see page 14).
The New Mexico section of the U.S. Drought Monitor is released weekly (every Thursday) and represents data collected through the previous Tuesday. The maps are based on expert assessment of variables including (but not limited to) the Palmer Drought Severity Index, soil moisture, streamflow, precipitation, and measures of vegetation stress, as well as reports of drought impacts. It is a joint effort of several agencies.
This summary contains substantial contributions from the New Mexico Drought Working Group.
For the most current drought status map, visit:
For the most current Drought Status Reports, visit :
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Dan Ferguson, CLIMAS Program Director
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Gigi Owen, CLIMAS Assistant Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Swetish, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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