(data through July 16, 2013)
Data Source(s): New Mexico State Drought Monitoring Committee, U.S. Drought Monitor
Early monsoon precipitation brought some relief to parts of New Mexico, but drought conditions continue to be dire across much of the state. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that all of New Mexico is experiencing at least moderate drought, with 86 percent of the state experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions (Figures 5a–b). Areas that experienced drought improvements were largely in parts of west-central and southeast New Mexico, where precipitation in the last 30 days was as much as two to three times average. However, large precipitation deficits have accumulated over several years across much of the state. Consequently, it will take several seasons of average to above-average precipitation to recover. Widespread extreme and exceptional drought has persisted since about March 2011.
Drought impacts continue to be reported across the state, including emergency declarations in two towns due to lack of municipal water and many farmers having to drill new and deeper wells—at high cost—in order to secure irrigation water (The Digital Journal, July 18).
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.