In the most recent analysis done by the United States Drought Monitor, New Mexico has been shown to have areas of extremely high drought risk. According to the guidelines outlined on the website, drastic changes begin to occur when the risk of drought is level D4 (Exceptional Risk). “Federal lands begin to close for fire precautions. Bears encroach on developed areas; migratory birds change patterns. No surface water is left for agriculture, farmers use private wells. Rio Grande and other large rivers are dry.”
The detailed map of New Mexico can be viewed here.
Northern New Mexico, such as Colfax & Union county, is currently experiencing the D4 drought described above and are at the highest risk. Eastern New Mexico is currently experiencing a D2 drought (severe drought). During a D2 drought the changes are less dramatic, but they occur nonetheless. Places like Roosevelt, Lea, and Curry County are experiences dust storms, brown dry-land crops, and a decrease in well water.
Dona Ana County is in a D0 drought (abnormally dry), and is comparably safer from drought than the Northern and Eastern parts of the State. Although this is the lowest level of drought risk given by the United States Drought Monitor, there are still some abnormalities in the climate, such as low soil moisture and high fire risk.
The New Mexico Department of Health has recently issued a public health warning regarding the extreme heat that we’ve been experiencing Statewide. “Outdoor recreation and activities should be avoided between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. during these high-temperature days. The Department of Health reminds New Mexicans to never leave children or pets in a parked car even for a few minutes.”
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