Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ALBUQUERQUE NM
254 PM MDT THU JAN 18 2018

   ...NO EXTREME OR EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT IN NEW MEXICO...
   ...11 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN SEVERE DROUGHT...
   ...87 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN MODERATE TO SEVERE DROUGHT...

SYNOPSIS...

Dry conditions have developed over all of New Mexico since the
middle of October 2017 as a dry pattern associated with La Nina has
settled over the region. Substantial rainfall over much of the state
during September and early October 2017 produced areas of
significantly above normal rainfall totals over many locations. This
provided needed recharge to ground water as well as many reservoirs
over much of eastern and central New Mexico. Not all areas of the
Land of Enchantment benefited from the late monsoon burst with most
of the Four Corners region as well as the NM/AZ border missing out
on much of the seasonal convection.

Since Mid-October, the northern two-thirds of New Mexico has
generally seen less than 25% of normal precipitation. Several
observing stations throughout the region have reported less than 5%
of normal for the period. Along the southern tier of the state and
into the lower Rio Grande Valley, precipitation totals are slightly
better over the last 90 days with a handful of locations reporting
precipitation totals near 50%. The exception to this is the
Southwestern Mountains, which is generally seeing 90-day totals well
below 25%.

Corresponding to the low precipitation totals, current snowpack
values across the region are exceptionally low. As of January 17,
all basins within New Mexico are below 35% of average. The Rio Chama
basin is currently the highest with 29% of the average, with the
lowest values in the Mimbres Basin at 2% of normal. In Colorado, the
headwaters of the Rio Grande, Animas, and San Juan rivers are
equally low with basin values of 32%, 34%, and 30% of normal
respectively.

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,
January 18 2018, most of New Mexico is in D1, or Moderate Drought.
D2, or Severe Drought, is present over portions of the Four Corners
and the NM/AZ border. D2 has also expanded eastward into the far
Eastern Plains along portions of the NM/OK/TX border. Finally,
portions of southeastern NM are designated as D0, or Abnormally Dry.

For more information on the US Drought Monitor or to see the current
version, please go to:

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?NM

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

Currently, the primary impacts reported from the drought are in the
agricultural and winter recreation sectors. Reports from the USDA
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) indicate that there
has been deterioration in the winter wheat conditions in the Eastern
Plains. Further data from the NASS indicate that supplemental feeding
 of livestock was increasing in some areas where natural feed was
becoming short.

Winter recreation is being severely impacted in northern New Mexico
due to the lack of snow. Several resorts are reporting less than 20%
of their total ski runs open as of January 17 with at least two
resorts closed due to the lack of snow.

Although widespread dry conditions have developed, only two fire
bans are known to be in effect in New Mexico. The Village of Angel
Fire and Colfax County have announced burn bans. As of this date, no
other restrictions are known. 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 La Nina, which is
present in the equatorial Pacific. Equatorial sea surface
temperatures (SSTs) are below normal with the most current Oceanic
Nino Index (ONI) value of -0.9C, which falls into the category of a
weak La Nina.

The ONI 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. ONI values have been trending below normal
since mid-Summer 2017 and the last two ONI values have been -0.9C
(Oct-Dec) and -0.7C (Sept-Nov). Current models indicated that
conditions are likely to continue through the remainder of the
winter.

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 January 18. The
February 2018 outlook for New Mexico and the Southern Rockies
indicates a trend to normal to above normal temperatures with most
of New Mexico expected to see normal to below normal precipitation
values. For the Four Corners region and parts of southern Colorado
are expected to see equal chances of below, normal, or above normal
precipitation.

Looking out further for the February through April time period, the
outlook is reasonably similar with NM and the Southern Rockies
expecting normal to above normal temperatures with normal to below
normal precipitation.

Finally, the seasonal drought outlook for the same time period
indicates that drought is expected to develop further over
southeastern NM and persist over the remainder of the region.


HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...

As of January 1, many reservoirs in New Mexico are at or above
average storage levels, especially on the Pecos and San Juan Rivers.
Navajo Reservoir on the San Juan River benefited from the above
normal runoff in 2017. The Pecos River reservoirs, which had a below
normal 2017 runoff, are seeing above average storage numbers due to
the heavy rains late in the monsoon season. Rio Grande reservoirs
are showing below average numbers* with upper basin reservoirs
running at approximately 75% of the 30-year average. Downstream, the
Elephant Butte Reservoir level is approximately 33% of average.
Other reservoirs through the state show varying trends with Conchas
Lake slightly above average while Eagle Nest is about 80% of the
longer term average.

28-Day average streamflow values show patterns consistent with the
2017 runoff and monsoon. In general, most natural flowing basins
east of the Central Mountain Chain are showing above normal
streamflow for the period as late monsoon season rainfall helped to
recharge soil moisture. The prolonged dry period with above normal
temperatures have begun to deplete the moisture from the upper
levels of the soil column, which is starting to become evident in
some natural flowing basins in the far Eastern Plains (such as
Revuelto Creek). West of the Central Mountain Chain, streamflow
values for natural basins are representative as well of the 2017
runoff and monsoon season with many locations reporting 28-day
streamflow values of less than 5% of normal.

Due to the low snow totals throughout Southern Rockies and New
Mexico, Current runoff outlooks for the 2018 runoff season are
correspondingly low. Below is a table of selected locations and the
current most probable (50th percentile) runoff forecast:

River            PercentPeriod
                 Runoff
Rio Grande River at Otowi Bridge20%Mar-Jul 2018
Pecos River at Santa Rosa Lake (Inflow)13% Mar-Jul 2018
Canadian River/Conchas Reservoir Inflow30%Mar-Jun 2018
San Juan River at Farmington42%Apr-Jul 2018
Gila River near Gila         28%Jan-May 2018
San Francisco River near Glenwood27%     Jan-May 2018


*  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 Friday, February 16, 2018 unless
conditions warrant.

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



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