SANTA FE, New Mexico — A drought across New Mexico will like persist despite a spate of recent snow and rain and more to possibly come this weekend.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report indicates a few inches of snow that fell in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains last weekend still aren't bringing the state's water levels close to where they need to be, the New Mexican reported (http://bit.ly/1lJ9lc0).
"It's bad," said Wayne Sleep, the state's snow surveyor with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "We're so far behind at this point that the recent storms are helping but not bringing us anywhere near where we need to be."
Sleep said the predicted water supply for the Rio Grande between March and July is going to keep dropping.
In the Upper Rio Grande, total flows through June are likely to be at 50 percent or 70 percent of average, Sleep said. But flows past the San Marcial gauge near Elephant Butte are likely to only reach 13 percent of normal levels.
For the water year dating to October, the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range Basin was at about 77 percent of total average precipitation. The snow-water equivalent was 59 percent of normal on March 6.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the drought forecast through May 31 indicates drought conditions will only worsen.
The state currently has no areas considered in "exceptional drought conditions." But the percentage of the state living in extreme drought, the next level down, jumped from 14.8 to 23 percent in one week.
The U.S. Drought Monitor compiles data from several agencies and assesses drought conditions weekly nationwide. The agency makes assessments based on factors including moisture, snowpack and reservoir levels.
States bordering New Mexico, such as Texas and California, have also seen drought conditions.
Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com