drought map

Snow accumulations last week around Taos and in the Jemez Mountains west of Los Alamos did little to provide drought relief or raise expectations for the spring runoff in Northern New Mexico.

Bryan Guyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said Monday that after months of dry conditions the precipitation totals for the season are so low there is little hope that they will reach anywhere normal before warmer weather arrives.

“We finally got some precipitation, but that didn’t change the situation much,” he said of the areas that did get snow. “In some of those areas across the north it was at a record low since we started recording observations. It is still really bad.”

In areas around Chama and Tierra Amarilla, he said, in order to reach normal conditions, “We would need a system to come through, like, basically every three to four days and drop an inch (of water equivalent in the snow) with each one of them. So we would need something like 200 to 300 inches of snow.”

However, he said, forecasters expect the dry weather pattern to resume, so all the snow that did fall will melt. Although some light snow could come on Wednesday, Guyer said, the relatively dry and fast-moving system is expected to leave less than 2 inches on mountain peaks and only a dusting in places like Santa Fe.

“Unfortunately, it’s setting us up for a scary fire season,” he said.

The weather agency already has posted a red flag warning for northeastern New Mexico due to windy and dry conditions, and Guyer said that warning will be extended to almost all of eastern and southern New Mexico on Tuesday.

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