July rains helping New Mexico significantly

National Weather Service

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — It’s been a rainy July in New Mexico.

Albuquerque even broke an 80-year standing record on Wednesday when nearly an inch of rain fell on the city.

Now, those watching the water are weighing in on just how much the rain is helping New Mexico.

The Bureau of Reclamation says one of the biggest benefits of the rainfall has been the Rio Grande where rain has reconnected miles of dry river bed.

Reservoir managers and firefighters say the weather is a relief, but not a total saving grace.

While the state’s torrent of July rain has no doubt caused some problems for some people with flooding homes and washing cars off of roads, for many others, they have no problems cheering it on.

“I feel pretty good right now,” said Brent Wachter, a forecaster for the National Weather Service.

Wachter says the state’s July rain is helping big time.

Showing a graphic from satellites that estimates how much rain has fallen over the state, Wachter says the last two weeks of rain have been a good sight to see.

“Anywhere from 200 to 400 percent of normal so definitely above normal across the Northern Central Mountains, the Western Highlands and the Rio Grande Valley,” said Wachter.

Much of that water is showing up in the Rio Grande too, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

“That’s probably the big thing, the river’s reconnected the Rio Grande is connected,” said Carolyn Donnelly, Water Operations Supervisor for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Albuquerque office.

Water operations supervisor Carolyn Donnelly says just a couple weeks ago, several miles of the Rio Grande was dry. Now, the Bureau of Reclamation is flowing end to end, meaning the BOR doesn’t have to buy water from other sources to support water users right now.

Reservoirs on the Pecos River are also staying steady, meaning less stress on the overall supply from farmers.

“I wouldn’t say they’re as full as they were back in September but they’re holding up okay,” said Donnelly.

The rain also has fire managers feeling relieved.

“We never let our guard completely down but things look pretty good right now,” said Dan Ware, a spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Forestry.

While there’s optimism, everyone is still cautious.

“We don’t want land owners to become complacent,” said Ware.

Forecasters say there’s still plenty of summer, for New Mexico to dry out again.

“It’s a good start but you know, the state has been burnt before,” said Wachter.

As far as fire danger, the state Department of Forestry says there is still a lot of fuel that can burn on the eastern half of New Mexico. Other than that, they aren’t fighting any major, out of control wildfires right now.

The National Weather Service says the state should prepare to dry out over the next week.

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