New Mexico’s drought of 2012, in context

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 2012 has been one of the driest years in New Mexico since record-keeping began more than a century ago. How does it compare to other droughts? When I was working on a “weather year in review” story, Deirdre Kann at the National Weather Service’s Albuquerque office showed me this:

It’s the Palmer Drought index, a measure that combines temperature and precipitation, for New Mexico’s eastern plains. It shows that, by this measure, the drought of the past two years has been deeper than anything the area saw during the drought of the 1950s. But it also shows how persistently grim the drought of the ’50s was – seven straight drought years. So by depth of short-term drought, current conditions are worse. By persistence of long term drought, the ’50s drought was worse. Click on the picture for more 2012 analysis from Kann and her colleagues.

I’ll have more on the weather year in review in Monday’s newspaper. (At least, that’s when it was scheduled to run last time I checked.)


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