Lake levels up but ABQ still suffers from drought

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – While some parts of the state are flooding, others are still reeling from the drought. On a day when so many people head to local lakes, KRQE News 13 went to find out how local lakes are doing and how dry New Mexico really is.

“I wanted to see the water.”

Despite cooler temperatures, Albuquerque resident Evelyn Dominguez was determined to go swimming this Memorial Day.

“The sun came out and I’m like, I’m doing this. I’m jumping in,” laughed Dominguez. “It’s warm. It’s nice. I mean, it’s cold out here, but it’s warm in there.”

Dominguez was one of the only ones to test the water Monday morning, but one of many to spend her Memorial Day at Cochiti Lake.

Savannah Pierson is down from Santa Fe.

“The goal is to stay dry,” says Pierson.

After kayaking the Rio Grande, she and her parents have set their sights on Cochiti.

“Definitely get out and enjoy that glassy water and the nice cloud cover to stop from getting sunburned,” Pierson says.

Pierson says she’s noticed a change in the lake since she was last here.

“I feel like lake levels are a lot higher than when I came here a year ago,” says Pierson.

She’s right, but not by much. Lake levels are up two feet from this time last year and six feet from 2012. It’s minimal compared to other popular Memorial Day destinations in the state.

Elephant Butte is up more than 15 feet from last year. It was hit hard by monsoon season and saw more than a foot of rain last year.

Some parts of the state got an early taste of monsoon season this past weekend, while other areas are still reeling from drought.

On Saturday, Roswell saw more than four inches of rain, the most ever in a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. That’s a third of their average annual precipitation.

Albuquerque, too, saw its fair share of rain the last several days, putting the metro area ahead of the normal May average.

Yet, it wasn’t enough. The Duke City is still around an inch and a half below average for the year.

However, right now, the drought is the furthest thing from mind for Albuquerque residents like Dominguez.

“Spend the day with family, with friends, jump into the water. It’s not as cold as it seems like,” says Dominguez.

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