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Published October 24, 2012
New Mexico Drought Status(data through 10/16/12)
Data Source(s): New Mexico State Drought Monitoring Committee, U.S. Drought Monitor
Drought conditions remained virtually unchanged across New Mexico over the past thirty days. Some parts of eastern New Mexico received average to above-average precipitation over this period, but it wasn’t enough to substantially improve short- and longer-term drought conditions, which continue to persist. All of the state continues to experience some level of drought with almost 100 percent at the moderate level or worse, according to the October 16 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor (Figures 5a–b). More than 66 percent of the state is experiencing drought conditions at the severe level, with 12 percent at the extreme level or worse. Compared to one year ago, drought conditions have substantially improved, however. On October 18, 2011, the U.S. Drought Monitor classified 63 percent of the state with extreme or exceptional drought. Currently, this number is about 11.5 percent. However, whereas the northwest corner of the state was drought-free at the end of 2011, it is now experiencing severe or extreme drought.
In drought-related news, dire drought conditions in Texas and New Mexico have driven up the occurrence of grass thefts across the region (Associated Press, October 3). This includes stealing hay, cutting fences, and leaving gates open so cattle can move into other pastures. One incident in Colorado resulted in the theft of more than $5,000 in hay from a ranch.
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 Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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