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Drought conditions ‘night and day’ from last year

In July 2018, most of New Mexico was experiencing some level of extreme drought. This year, none of New Mexico is experiencing any extreme drought. The highlighted portions of the state are currently experiencing mild drought. (Source: National Weather Service)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Drought conditions in New Mexico are drastically different from July of last year, when most of the state was bone-dry.

That was the upshot as the National Weather Service hosted a monthly drought monitoring call this week with various New Mexico state agencies.

“Compared to last year’s drought, everything is night and day,” New Mexico State Climatologist Dave DuBois said. “We are still seeing some of that long-term drought from the last two years, but I’m not worried yet.”

DuBois and hydrologist Royce Fontenot of the National Weather Service in Albuquerque said this year’s good runoff season has been making up for limited monsoon rainfall.

Raymond Abeyta from the Bureau of Reclamation said the state’s reservoirs and streams are “enjoying a nice runoff for once after several years.”

Marshal Wilson of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture said this month’s hot and dry weather has caused minimal crop damage.

“We’re still ahead of where we were last year,” Wilson said.

Susan Rich, the state Forestry Division’s forest and watershed health coordinator, reported that wildfire season has extended slightly further into July than most years, but the total number of fires and acreage affected have gone down from last year.

DuBois and Fontenot both contribute New Mexico drought information to the weekly U.S. drought monitor database at droughtmonitor.unl.edu.

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