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Published July 25, 2011
New Mexico Drought Status(data through 7/19/11)
Data Source(s): New Mexico State Drought Monitoring Committee, U.S. Drought Monitor
Drought conditions worsened across New Mexico during the past 30 days. According to the July 19 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor, all of the state is experiencing at least moderate drought conditions and almost half of the state is categorized at the worst level, exceptional drought (Figures 5a–b). Exceptional drought is defined as a drought that occurs, on average, once in every 50 years. Current drought conditions across New Mexico are almost unprecedented in the 100-year historical record, with much of the state observing record low precipitation during the past six months. The dry conditions primarily reflect the effect of this past winter’s moderate to strong La Niña event, which helped direct storms north of the state; La Niña events generally bring drier-than-average conditions to the southwest. However, monsoon rains also have been lackluster and slow to materialize. Since the beginning of July, most of New Mexico has experienced less than 75 percent of average rain, with some areas receiving less than 25 percent. The widespread and acute drought conditions have hit many sectors, from agricultural producers to water supply to wildlife. In recent weeks animals, including bears, have encroached into urban areas to find food (The Houston Chronicle, July 17).Notes:
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
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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