Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

Home | Current Version | Previous Version | Text Only | Print | Product List | Glossary On
Versions: 1 2 3
FGUS75 KABQ 080243

Hydrologic Outlook
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
743 PM MST Tue Mar 7 2017




As of March 6, 2017, the USGS measured 14 day streamflow for
most of the region remains near normal for this time of year.
The high precipitation totals over much of the last 60-90 days
have helped to keep streamflow along unregulated watersheds normal
to above normal. Lower than normal streamflows can be found at
some locations, either due to regulation changes or longer term
deficits in soil moisture, which can be seen in some streamflow
gages in east-central and west-central New Mexico.

Looking at data from the NASA SPoRT project, relative deep soil
moisture (DSM, 0-200 cm soil depth) as of March 3 is above 50% for
roughly the western one-third of the state. The central and eastern
two-thirds of the state have values falling below 50% due to above
normal temperatures and below normal precipitation over the last 14-21
days. Looking further at the soil moisture data from NASA SPoRT, a
long term deficit remains over the eastern plains of NM at the mid-soil
layer (40-100 cm), mainly due to the lack of recharge during the 2016
Monsoon Season. The topsoil layer (0-10cm) shows the greatest relative
dryness of all the layers with mainly areas seeing values of less
than 20%.


February 2017 trended downward statewide for precipitation, with most
precipitation occurring over the western third of the state and over
the Northern Mountains.

For the 2016-2017 Water Year, most of the state is running near to
above normal precipitation through March 7. A "boom-bust" pattern
over New Mexico has led to 30-45 day dry periods being followed by
14-21 day periods of a more active weather pattern. The eastern third
of the state (mainly east-central and southeast NM) continues to show
precipitation values slightly below normal for the water year.


Snowpack data from the USDA/National Resource Conservation Service
(NRCS) indicate that the snowpack (specifically snow water
equivalent, or SWE) for most basins in northern New Mexico are at
or well above normal as of March 7. These values have increased
significantly from early in the season where most basins were
less than 80% of normal. Recent warmer temperatures and windy conditions
have decreased SWE values somewhat over the northern basins, but all
remain normal or above normal with the exception of the Pecos Basin.
Basins in southern New Mexico are below normal with regards to SWE but
remain above normal for total liquid precipitation for the water year.
While SWE values in southern tier basins did reach above normal levels
in portions of late December and January, a series of warm rain events
followed by warmer and drier conditions have brought the SWE values
back below normal.

NRCS SNOTEL Basin Average Values as of March 7 2017

Basin                                      Snow Water Eqv %       Total
                                                              Precipitation %

Rio Chama River Basin                      159                126
Upper Rio Grande Basin                     142                104
Sangre De Cristo Mountain Range Basins     105                100
Jemez River Basin                          102                104
San Francisco River Basin                   68                125
Gile River Basin                            64                130
Mimbres River Basin                         15                131
Pecos River Basin                           85                 85
San Juan River Headwaters                  141                111
Animas River Basin                         146                116
Cimarron River Basin                       127                 95
Zuni/Bluewater River Basin                 111                153
Rio Hondo Basin                             20                 97


Most reservoirs in New Mexico have ample storage capacity at this time.
Below is the current reservoir storage in KAF and percent of capacity
for selected reservoirs in New Mexico as of March 1st, 2017. Data
provided by the USDA/NRCS.

Reservoir                Current            Current %
                        Storage KAF         Capacity

Abiquiu Reservoir        123.7               10%
Bluewater Lake           7.8                 20%
Brantley Lk nr Carlsbad  38.1                 4%
Caballo Reservoir        29.8                 9%
Cochiti Lake             46.0                 9%
Conchas Lake             73.6                29%
Costilla Reservoir       MSG                 MSG
Eagle Nest Lake          31.9                40%
El Vado Reservoir        53.9                28%
Elephant Butte Reservoir 295.1               13%
Heron Reservoir          67.1                17%
Lake Avalon              3.1                 78%
Lake Sumner              31.9                31%
Navajo Reservoir         1339.7              79%
Santa Rosa Reservoir     51.3                12%

Total                    2193.0              26%


NWS River Forecast Centers, in conjunction with our partners in the
NRCS, USACE, and the USBR, produce seasonal streamflow forecasts
for selected river locations and basins in New Mexico. These
forecasts are based on hydrologic conditions as of the 1st of the
month and may not reflect current trends and forecasts.

As of March 1, most basins impacting New Mexico are expected to
have above normal runoff volumes through the forecast period due
to the large snowpacks available for runoff. The Navajo and San
Francisco River are expected to have near to slightly below normal
runoff volumes.

Forecasts issued by NWS/West Gulf & Arkansas-Red RFCs

                                FORECAST RUNOFF                      AVERAGE
                                  MOST     REASONABLE   REASONABLE     30YR
                                PROBABLE    MAXIMUM      MINIMUM    1981-2010
    FORECAST           FORECAST        %            %            %
      POINT             PERIOD 1000  30YR   1000  30YR   1000  30YR    1000
                          (*)   AF   AVG.    AF   AVG.    AF   AVG.     AF

Canadian River
Eagle Nest RES
  Rsvr Inflow, NM         (2)   12.2  109   19.7   176   3.40    30    11.2

Cimarron River
  Cimarron Nr, NM         (2)   15.7   99   31.0   196   6.00    38    15.8

Conchas RES
  Rsvr Inflow, NM         (2)   40    133    102   340   10.3    34    30

Rio Grande River
 Otowi Bridge, NM         (2)   960   133   1382   192    612    85     720
 San Marcial, NM          (2)   695   136   1020   200    372    73     510

Rio Hondo
 Valdez nr, NM            (2)  19.8   108     30   163     12    63    18.4

Rio Pueblo de Taos
 Los Cordovas blo, NM     (2)    36   100     65   181     15    43      36

Embudo Creek
 Dixon                    (2)    53   110     92   192     24    50      48
 El Vado res Inflow, NM   (2)   380   169    549   244    241   107     225
 Chamita nr, NM           (2)   470   151    714   229    381   122     312

Rio Ojo Caliente
 La Madera, NM            (2)    85   189    116   258     44    98      45

Santa Cruz River
 Cundiyo, NM              (2)  14.2    78     22   120      8    45    18.3

Pecos River
 Dixon                    (2)    40    83     75   156     16    33      48
 El Vado res Inflow, NM   (2)   380   169    524   233    261   116     225
 Chamita nr, NM           (2)   515   165    736   236    278    89     312

Gallinas River
 Montezuma nr, NM         (2)   8.3    85     17   173      3    28     9.8

Forecasts issued by NWS/Colorado Basin RFC

                           Period     50%  %AVG    10%    30%    70%    90%    AVG
                           ------    ----  ----   ----   ----   ----   ----    ---
San Juan River
  Pagosa Springs           Apr-Jul    245   114    325    275    210    175    215
  Carracas, nr             Apr-Jul    440   116    595    495    375    310    380
  Navajo Res, Archuleta,   Apr-Jul    840   114   1190    915    690    550    735
  Farmington               Apr-Jul   1310   119   1780   1420   1120    880   1100
  Bluff, nr                Apr-Jul   1320   120   1840   1450   1130    875   1100

La Plata River
  Hesperus                 Apr-Jul     33   143     42     36     29     25     23

Navajo River
  Chromo, nr, Oso Div Dam  Apr-Jul     75   115     97     86     65     55     65

Animas River
  Durango                  Apr-Jul    515   124    685    605    465    355    415

Zuni River
  Black Rock Res, abv      Mar-May   0.51   222    3.9    0.9   0.30   0.17   0.23

Gila River
  Gila, nr                 Mar-May     55   162     84     67     48     40     34
  Virden, nr, Blue Ck, bl  Mar-May     65   151    101     78     56     47     43

San Francisco River
  Glenwood, nr             Mar-May   10.6    70     24     16    9.3    8.2   15.2

50% Most probable volume in 1000 acre-feet.
%AVG  Most probable volume in percent of the 1981-2010 average.
10% Volume that has a 10 percent chance of being exceeded.
30% Volume that has a 30 percent chance of being exceeded.
90% Volume that has a 90 percent chance of being exceeded.
70% Volume that has a 70 percent chance of being exceeded.
AVG   Average volume for the 1981-2010 period.


Areas of drought persist over the region, mainly over the east-central
plains of New Mexico. This area has recently expanded due to the continued dry
and warm conditions. Overall, this area of drought is predominately to a
combination of a long term moisture deficit (as seen in the soil moisture
data) and short term  meteorological trends. The impact of this longer-term
drought can been seen in some unregulated streamflow gages in eastern New Mexico
as baseflow is well below normal for this time of year. Drought status
for NM is re- evaluated weekly and can be found at the National Drought
Mitigation Center website at http//droughtmonitor.unl.edu.


The 8-14 day temperature and precipitation outlooks issued by the NWS/Climate
Prediction Center continue an increased probability of normal to above
normal temperatures and drier than conditions for most of New Mexico.
Please refer to the latest forecasts for more current weather

The NWS/Climate Prediction Center has ended the La Nina Advisory and ENSO neutral
conditions exist over the Pacific Ocean. Models guidance is expecting the neutral
ENSO conditions to continue for the spring and into Summer 2017. The current CPC
forecast for March through May 2017 continues the increased likelihood of warmer
and drier conditions for New Mexico. These outlooks are issued monthly with the
next outlook to be issued on March 16th. Outlooks can be found at the NWS/CPC
website at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

At this time, the risk of spring flooding remains average for basins
with near to above normal snowpack values and below normal for basins with
below normal values. The only basins of note are the San Juan and Animas River
Basins. Both of these basins have well above normal snowpack values. While
normally flooding does not occur solely due to spring runoff, minor flooding
could be possible if there is a heavy rainfall event that coincides with peak
runoff flow.

Many factors impact the likelihood of spring flooding, including snow pack and hydro-
meteorological conditions at the time of runoff. While spring snowmelt related flooding
is not usually expected on most mainstem rivers in New Mexico due to regulation,
conditions will have to be monitored as the season progresses for the potential of higher
than normal peak flows on unregulated rivers.

The NWS Albuquerque Hydrologic Service Area (HSA) is serviced three
river forecast centers: West Gulf RFC (Ft Worth, TX), Arkansas-
Red Basin RFC (Tulsa, OK), and the Colorado River Basin RFC (Salt
Lake City, UT). These RFC`s issue a variety of hydrologic forecast
products during the year. Further products and current
information can be found at the following locations:


You can also find additional weather and water products and forecasts
at the NWS Albuquerque website at:


For questions or comments about this outlook, you can contact Royce Fontenot,
Senior Service Hydrologist, at 505-244-9150 x 228 or via e-mail at




USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.