Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ALBUQUERQUE NM
1200 PM MDT SAT APR 21 2018

...7 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT...
...39 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN EXTREME DROUGHT...
...32 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN SEVERE DROUGHT...
...21 PERCENT OF THE STATE IN MODERATE DROUGHT...

SYNOPSIS...

Predominately dry conditions have continued over New Mexico since
the middle of February. Several weather systems moved through the
state, but most produced little or no significant precipitation over
the region. A few of these systems have brought decent event total
precipitation values to portions of the state, but when put into
context the overall deficits since about October 10 2017 remain
large. As a result, Extreme Drought has continued to expand
throughout New Mexico and Exceptional Drought has been introduced in
northwest and northeast New Mexico. Nearly 99 percent of the state
is in some level of drought, with nearly half of New Mexico in
Extreme to Exceptional Drought.

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

During March, most of the eastern half of the state, the Four
Corners region and far Southwest remained mostly dry with widespread
precipitation totals of 25 percent or less of normal. Much of the
remainder of the state was below normal, with the only near normal
precipitation in West Central New Mexico, between the Rio Grande
Valley and the Arizona border. April is not faring any better with
most of central and southern New Mexico completely dry through the
middle of the month.

Examining the first three months of 2018 reveals precipitation of
only 20 percent or less of normal in the northeast. The southeast,
northwest and north central areas were below to well below normal,
with only the southwest approaching or barely reaching normal.

Corresponding to the low precipitation totals, snowpack values
across the region were exceptionally low. As of Aptil 1, basin wide
snowpack was only 16 percent of normal, and has deteriorated even
more through the middle of April. Basins in New Mexico are past
their climatological peak for snowpack, and this snow season will
end with great disappointment.

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 continued deterioration in the winter wheat conditions in
the Eastern Plains. Further data from the NASS indicate that
livestock issues are continuing as feed supplies from the 2017
production are dwindling and forage is limited due to the dry
conditions. NASS reports than many livestock producers are beginning
to reduce herd size due to concerns on the availability of feed.

Fire concerns continue to increase over the state due to the
worsening drought conditions. Due to dry conditions and increased
fuel loading, the US Forest Service issued a Fuels and Fire Behavior
Advisory on March 7th that included eastern New Mexico. There have
been several wildfires in New Mexico including the Stateline Fire in
Union County, and Blue Water and Diener Canyon Fires west of Grants.

Fire bans and restrictions have expanded 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 La Nina, which is
present in the equatorial Pacific, but just barely. Equatorial sea
surface temperatures (SSTs) are below normal with the most current
Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) value of -0.8C for January-March. The
current La Nina episode has peaked and SST`s will be returning to
near normal as we continue through Spring.

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. Current models indicated that conditions
are likely to continue to wain with SSTs returning to a neutral
condition by the end of Spring 2018.

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 April 15. The May
2018 outlook for most of New Mexico indicates above normal
temperatures and mostly below normal precipitation values. Only
southwest New Mexico is shown as having an equal chance of
above/below/normal precipitation during May.

Looking out further for the May through July 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.

Finally, the seasonal drought outlook for the same time period
indicates that drought is expected to persist over the state, but
may improve over the east thanks to spingtime thunderstorms.

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...

As of Aril 1, little change has occurred in reservoir storage with
many reservoirs in New Mexico 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 the Elephant Butte Reservoir level at approximately
34% of average. Other reservoirs through the state show varying
trends with Conchas Lake slightly above average while Eagle Nest is
about 77% of the longer term average.

28-Day average streamflow values are continuing to deteriorate due
to the ongoing above normal temperatures and 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. The impacts of the precipitation
deficits are starting to be seen in the headwaters of the Pecos
River as well as portions of the Upper Canadian River basin as these
basins would normally begin to see runoff starting from melting
snowpack. West of the Central Mountain Chain, conditions continue to
deteriorate over the northwestern third of the state as the deficits
in precipitation are obvious from the streamflow values of lower
elevation snowmelt-driven basins such as the Jemez River.

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

Rio Grande River at Otowi Bridge        16%

Pecos River at Santa Rosa Lake (Inflow) 11%

Canadian River/Conchas Reservoir Inflow 19%

San Juan River at Farmington            29%

Gila River at Gila                      35%

San Francisco River near Glenwood       18%


*  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 May 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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