Severe to extreme drought covering more than 70 percent of state

Hot temperatures coupled with below average rainfall returned across much of the state during the week ending July 22, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Mountain Regional Field Office, New Mexico. The United States Drought Monitor released on July 19 categorized exceptional drought (D4) rooted across 15.7 percent of New Mexico, unchanged from last week. Severe to extreme drought (D2-D3) was now reportedly covering 70.6 percent of the state. Overall, conditions rated abnormally dry or worse remained entrenched across virtually the whole state, compared with last year when nearly 73 percent of the state was classified as drought-free. Topsoil moisture levels were reported as 27 percent adequate to surplus, compared with 23 percent last week, 38 percent last year, and a 5-year average of 33 percent. Comments from across the state indicated that despite the recent reports of rainfall, the moisture has been spotty at best, and with the extremely hot temperatures, any precipitation that does fall is quickly absorbed leaving crops and pasture grasses with insufficient supplies for much growth. Reports from San Miguel County noted that the Acequias Irrigation Supply was low, with several areas having already run out of water. Precipitation was recorded at 33 out of 46 reporting weather stations, with Los Alamos, at 1.84 inches, reporting the largest accumulation during the week. El Morro, Ocate, and Quemado also totaled over an inch of rainfall during the week.