drought

U.S. Drought Mitigation Center

Drought conditions across much of New Mexico have been improving. According to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor report, 55 percent of the state is in moderate to severe drought. That’s down from 97 percent at this time last year.  

This May is already one of the wettest Mays on record in Albuquerque. Climatologist David Dubois says forecasts are showing above average rainfall will continue for most of New Mexico.

Karen Roe via Compfight

Watering restrictions are officially in effect for many New Mexicans.

Starting Wednesday, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority customers are prohibited from using sprinklers between 11a and 7p. 

Katherine Yuhas, Water Conservation Officer at the utility, said predictions for a moist spring and summer mean they could bank water in the aquifer by leaving it in the ground instead of pumping it.

Brian DePalo via flickr

New Mexico is on track for some much needed drought relief according to the National Weather Service spring forecast.

Andrew Church is an NWS meteorologist and said a combination of warm coastal waters and a shift in trade winds from last week’s tropical cyclones will deliver higher than average precipitation across the state.

“It’s a wet scenario for us, something we haven’t seen in at least four years so,” Church explained. “If you were thinking about investing in rain barrels, this would be a good year to do it!”

dharma communications via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The most abundant types of forest in New Mexico are made up of piñon and juniper trees.

A five-year inventory of the state's forested lands shows the popular trees cover more than 13.6 million acres.

The inventory also shows piñon woodlands that are old enough to produce harvest-worthy quantities of pine nuts occupy about 8 million acres in New Mexico.

National Drought Mitigation Center

    

We’ve gotten some rain recently in New Mexico, but that doesn’t mean the drought is letting up. Climatologists say it’s going to take more than just a sprinkle or two.

Extreme drought conditions are actually spreading in parts of New Mexico, despite the arrival of monsoon storms. A new map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows drought conditions worsening, especially in San Juan and Rio Arriba counties.

Rita Daniels

UPDATE 7/2 11:30a: The Associated Press reports a wildfire burning in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains continues to expand but officials say expected favorable weather may help.

Officials said Wednesday morning says the lightning-sparked Diego Fire has burned more than five square miles, an increase of about 400 acres since Tuesday.

However, the fire remained zero percent contained.

Still, some residents say they felt isolated and uninformed about the fire's dangers. And ranchers who have livestock roaming in the fire area are worried about their cattle.

How About That Storm Thursday Night?

Jul 26, 2013
Nathan Orona

I have always associated the word "monsoon" with India. Conversely, words like "arid" and "parched" I associate with the Southwestern United States, not just as descriptions, but as central facts about the regions.

These associations are incorrect.

Navajo Nation Declares Drought Emergency

Jul 2, 2013
Margaret Hiza-Redsteer, USGS Flagstaff, AZ / USGS

Navajo President Ben Shelley has declared a state of emergency for drought conditions on the Navajo Nation. Officials are concerned ongoing drought may be creating unsafe conditions for people who need drinkable water.

Fri. 7/5 8a:  Our water supply is shrinking, we are in the midst of a seemingly endless drought and our groundwater buffer is gone. In the shadow of global climate change and under constant pressure from population growth, agriculture and a struggling Rio Grande ecosystem, something has to change.Dr. Fred M. Phillips directs the hydrology program in the department of earth and environmental sciences at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Dr. Philips joins host Stephen Spitz to to explain how this happened, and explore our limited policy choices.

Drought Expected To Continue To August

Apr 3, 2013

A dry winter, strong winds, and above average temperatures have caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declared much of the state to be in a drought emergency.
Jeff Witte with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture says that farmers with the ability to pump groundwater will be able to plant some crops this year. However, Witte says he's optimistic that farmers and ranchers in New Mexico will be able to continue providing viable crops to the state

Courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Climate change is a threat to New Mexico’s natural environment and a new study argues that makes it a serious economic threat as well.

Tourism, the creative arts, agriculture, ranching, and the dairy industry all stand to lose millions of dollars, according to Demos, the public policy group that published “New Mexico’s Rising Economic Risks from Climate Change.” The report is authored by Robert Repetto, author of the 2011 book, "America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward." He is a senior fellow in the United Nations Foundation’s climate and energy program.

Craig D. Allen , USGS

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added a New Mexico county to its list of primary natural disaster areas due to drought and excessive heat.

Cibola County joins 39 counties in eight states in the latest designation Wednesday.

In all, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared nearly 1,300 counties in 29 states as disaster areas during the current crop year. Much of New Mexico and the Southwest is already on the list.

Laura Paskus/KUNM

The monsoon rains arrived this month, but it’s still hot and dry in New Mexico.

The ongoing drought is placing stress on the state’s rivers and streams, including the Rio Grande. And while cities and farmers still receive their shares of water, each summer, one user gets left out—the Rio Grande itself. Like it has every summer for the past decade, the Rio Grande downstream of Albuquerque is drying.