January was wet in southern New Mexico:
But the farmers of the southern part of the state are among those with the highest drought risk this year. How could that be? Diane Alba Soular does a nice job of explaining that it’s snow in the mountains, which creates Rio Grande runoff, that matters. Rain at the farm itself only helps at the margin:
King said precipitation in Las Cruces isn’t the solution to a large-scale drought.
“Any precipitation is good, but we’re talking a much more long-term and profound drought we’re in,” he said. “One little dusting is not going to cure it.”
Faubion said while recent localized storms in Doña Ana County help in a way because they add moisture to the soil. So, when river water is released from reservoirs later this year, less of it will soak into the ground. Also, the soil moisture can help dormant crops, such as alfalfa and pecans, and some crops that are grown during the winter, he said.
That’s why the mid-range forecasts for the rest of February aren’t super helpful: