Recent Rain Didn't Relieve Drought, Or Even Come Close

Jul 11, 2014

Credit 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.

David Simeral is with the Western Regional Climate Center. He says summer monsoon rains simply cannot make up for the past three years during which the state has experienced some of the driest winters on record.

"Obviously it's good for the forest and the plants,” said Simeral. “But when you have a really dry winter the soil column is so dry, even if you get a lot of rain, that moisture isn't really going to go anywhere. It just stays in the surface layers of the soil and a lot of it evaporates."

However, over the past 12 months the situation has improved in both Santa Fe and Torrance Counties. Both have been downgraded from exceptional to extreme drought conditions.