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Published September 26, 2012
New Mexico Drought Status(data through 9/18/12)
Data Source(s): New Mexico State Drought Monitoring Committee, U.S. Drought Monitor
Short-term drought conditions improved slightly across parts of New Mexico during the past 30 days in response to decent monsoon thunderstorm activity. All of New Mexico continues to experience some level of drought, although conditions are improving in western parts of the state, according to the September 18 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor (Figures 5a–b). The rest of the state continues to observe severe to extreme drought conditions. A small area of exceptional drought, the highest level, has crept into Curry and Roosevelt counties. Overall, recent precipitation has caused the areas with at least severe drought to fall from 85 percent in mid-August to about 62 percent in mid-September.
The ongoing drought has hurt tourism in southern New Mexico in recent months (KFOX14, Sept. 3). Recreational visits to the Elephant Butte Reservoir were down this past Labor Day weekend due to low water levels in the reservoir. The reservoir is at only at about 5 percent of capacity, dampening the draw for camping and watersports at the recreation area.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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