Winter storm sends New Mexico much needed moisture
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A huge portion of New Mexico is in a severe — if not extreme– drought. So what does this week’s snow pack mean?
This week’s major winter storm brought a lot of snow to the Land of Enchantment, along with it bitterly cold temps and dangerous driving conditions.
But with that snow also came some good. Like a fun day for children to go sledding and of course moisture in a state that desperately needs it.
“It’s really exciting. You know, we haven’t had any real accumulation of snow in the Albuquerque area,” said Anne Marken with Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District.
A drought monitor map shows a huge portion of New Mexico is under severe, extreme and even exceptional drought.
“The exact impact of the storm on drought status is yet to be seen. But we know it will move the needle in a positive direction, but probably not enough to move us out of that drought status,” said Marken.
Up in the mountains, things are looking up.
“This storm brought snowpack conditions in the Rio Grande headwaters and in the upper Rio Grande, so that’s in Colorado and New Mexico, to about average conditions,” Marken said.
Before the storm, the state was just over 80% of average conditions.
“Snowpack in the mountains is really important because it determines the magnitude or how much water we see in the river during spring runoff, and it also impacts the duration of it,” said Marken.
She said it’s going to take more storms over the next couple of months to keep the state on track.
“Last year, we had fairly average conditions. And in 2020, they were fairly low.”
It’s been quite the roller coaster, 2019 was a record high but in 2018 a record low.
“February, March can actually be great months for snow accumulation. In the middle valley in the Rio Grande,” said Marken.
And she said she’s optimistic that the state will be able to stay on track, if mother nature sends more storms our way.