ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Forecasters were optimistic going into 2014. The monsoon season and early snowstorms had lessened the severity of a lengthy drought.
“Today will be day 28 with no measurable precipitation, actually not even a trace of precipitation,” Clay Anderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, told News 13. “This drought is coming back in full force.”
Timely snowstorms have largely bypassed most of the state at a time that’s critical for building up the water supply.
Anderson said snowpack is worse than last year, particularly in southern and central New Mexico.
“This time of year we would be looking to lock up a lot of snow in the mountains, what we call snowpack, which would help to decrease the length of our fire season,” Anderson said.
Instead he said, the fire weather warnings have started about a month earlier than normal.
On Sunday, there are red flag warnings for parts of the state thanks to dry conditions and gusty winds. There’s also plenty of grass and brush that grew because of the monsoon season, but is now drying out.
“Now we’ve got all this new what we call fuel sitting out there that’s very flammable,” Anderson said. “It’s going to cause some trouble for us.”
Forestry officials are warning everyone to use caution.
Earlier in the week parts of New Mexico and ten other drought-stricken states were declared federal disaster areas.