Weather Service Report


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AXUS75 KABQ 291840
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DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ALBUQUERQUE NM
1141 AM MDT FRI JUN 29 2018

...18 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT...
...40 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN EXTREME DROUGHT...   
...29 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN SEVERE DROUGHT...   
...9 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN MODERATE DROUGHT...
...3 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN ABNORMALLY DRY...
...1 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN NO DROUGHT/ABNORMALLY DRY...

SYNOPSIS...

Predominately dry conditions have continued over New Mexico for much 
of 2018. We have had our share of storm systems moving through, but 
most have produced little or no significant precipitation. A few of 
these systems did bring decent event total precipitation values to 
portions of the state, but when put into context the overall 
deficits since October 2017 remain quite large, 38 percent of normal 
since November 1, 2017. As a result, all drought categories 
continued to expand throughout New Mexico, although they leveled off 
in May. Extreme to exceptional drought, the two worst drought 
categories, now encompass 58 percent of the state, with 96 percent 
of New Mexico in some category of drought.

During May, most of New Mexico experienced below to well below 
normal precipitation. The eastern plains was near to a little above 
normal. Statewide, May averaged only 42 percent of normal. 

June has fared better with most of western and central New Mexico 
near to above normal. Eastern areas have been near to below normal.  

For the 2018 year to date, January through May, precipitation has 
averaged only 47 percent of normal statewide, with all areas below 
to well below normal. The western mountains have faired the best 
with nearly 75 percent of normal precipitation since the start of 
the year. The northern mountains unfortunately have the least amount 
of precipitation, in terms of normal, with only 42 percent. 
Corresponding to the low precipitation totals, snowpack was abysmal 
this past winter season, with all basins well below normal. Snowpack 
was gone as of late May. 

The US Drought Monitor is a multi-agency, national analysis of 
drought conditions that is produced weekly by the National Drought 
Mitigation Center. The Drought Monitor is coordinated with over 400 
local experts nationwide on local conditions to provide an accurate 
analysis of conditions on a local and state level. The Drought 
Monitor is released weekly on Thursday morning using data through 
early Tuesday morning.

Looking at the Drought Monitor map for New Mexico as of Thursday, 
June 26, 2018, most of New Mexico is in D2 (severe), D3 (Extreme) 
and D4 (exceptional) Drought, which covered 87 percent of the state.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

Currently, the primary impacts reported from the drought are in the 
agricultural sectors. Reports from the USDA National Agricultural 
Statistics Service (NASS) indicate that livestock issues are 
continuing as feed supplies from the 2017 production are dwindling 
while forage is very limited due to the dry conditions. NASS reports 
than many livestock producers continue to reduce herd size due to 
concerns on the availability of feed. 

Fire concerns continue to increase over the state due to the 
continuing drought conditions. There have been several significant 
wildfires in New Mexico including the Stateline Fire in Union 
County, the Blue Water and Diener Canyon Fires west of Grants, the 
Buzzard Fire in the Gila National Forest, and the Ute Park Fire 
between Ute Park and Cimarron.  

Fire bans and restrictions continue to expand across much of New 
Mexico. Please check with local, State, or Federal agencies for 
current burn restrictions. Below are some potential sources of 
information on current fire restrictions:

http://firerestrictions.us/nm

https://nmfireinfo.com/
http://wwwapps.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/ParksReportingPublicDisplay/
Restriction

https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-
aviation/ regional-info/new-mexico/fire-restrictions

At this time, there are no known water restrictions due to the 
recent dry conditions.

CLIMATE SUMMARY...

The current climate pattern is representative of Neutral Conditions. 
Most models are projecting El Nino developing this fall or winter.
 
The ONI (Oceanic Nino Index) is a three month running average of the 
SST anomalies in the Nino 3.4 region of the Pacific Ocean and is 
used to categorize if El Nino or La Nina conditions exist. The 
NWS/Climate Prediction Center uses an operational definition for El 
Nino or La Nina which looks at the ONI along with consistent 
atmospheric conditions. Additionally, these conditions must be 
expected to continue for at least the next three consecutive months. 

Further information on El Nino and La Nina can be found below:

https://www.climate.gov/enso

http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/enso.shtml
 
PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOKS...

The current seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks were 
issued by the NWS/Climate Prediction Center on June 21. The July 
2018 outlook for most of New Mexico indicates equal chances of 
above, near or below normal temperatures. Precipitation is expected 
to have equal chances of above, near or below normal across eastern 
New Mexico, while western areas odd favor above normal 
precipitation, and especially so in northwest New Mexico.

Looking out further for the Summer to early Fall (July through 
September) time period, the outlook continues to show NM with 
increased likelihood of well above normal temperatures and equal 
chances of above/normal/below normal precipitation, except a trend 
toward above normal precipitation in the northwest, especially near 
the Four Corners Region.

Finally, the seasonal drought outlook through September indicates 
that drought is expected to persist over the state, but may improve 
thanks to the summer thunderstorm season. 

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...

As of June 1, reservoir storage has dropped slightly from the past 
month, with reservoirs in New Mexico widely varied. The Pecos River 
Valley is fairing the best. The Pecos River reservoirs, which had a 
below normal 2017 runoff, are seeing above average storage numbers 
(133 percent) due to the heavy rains late in the monsoon season last 
year. Rio Grande reservoirs are showing below average numbers* with 
the Elephant Butte Reservoir level only at approximately 26% of 
average. Other reservoirs through the state show varying trends with 
Conchas Lake at 92% of average while Eagle Nest is about 68% of the 
longer term average.

Streamflow values are continuing to deteriorate due to the ongoing 
above normal temperatures and overall below normal precipitation. In 
addition, the prolonged dry period with above normal temperatures 
has continued to deplete the moisture from the upper levels of the 
soil column. 

*  Long term averages for reservoirs use data from the 1981-2010 
   period. During this time, reservoirs along the Rio Grande had 
   higher storage values due to a wetter period that impacted the 
   first half of the 30 year period. Therefore, the 30-year average 
   is statistically skewed to a higher value and may not be 
   reflective of reservoir storage trends for the previous 15 years.

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE... This statement will be updated in mid to 
late July 2018 unless conditions significantly change.

More frequent updates to the current drought situation can be found 
on the NWS Albuquerque YouTube channel at 
http://www.youtube.com/NWSAlbuquerque

RELATED WEB SITES...

Additional information on current or past drought conditions may
be found at the following web addresses: 

US Drought Monitor
http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

NWS Precipitation Analysis Page
http://water.weather.gov/precip/index.php

New Mexico Climate Center
https://weather.nmsu.edu/

Western Regional Climate Center
http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/index.html

NWS/Climate Prediction Center
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/

Additional hydrologic information:

NWS Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service
http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=abq

US Geological Survey- NM Water Science Center
https://nm.water.usgs.gov/infodata/waterwatch.html

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS...

The US Drought Monitor is a multi-agency effort involving 
NOAA/National Weather Service, the NOAA/National Center for 
Environmental Information, the US Department of Agriculture, 
State and Regional Climate Centers, and the National Drought 
Mitigation Center.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...

If you have any questions or comments about this drought 
information statement, please contact:

Royce Fontenot
Senior Service Hydrologist
National Weather Service
2341 Clark Carr Loop SE
Albuquerque NM 87106
505-244-9150 x228
royce.fontenot@noaa.gov

$$

Fontenot/Jones

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Western Regional Climate Center, wrcc@dri.edu