Apr. 23—New Mexico's map of drought looks like an ugly, painful bruise.
The entire state of New Mexico is facing at least severe drought conditions, with more than half of the state — including Santa Fe County — in the exceptional drought category, according to the latest data provided by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The data released Thursday remains largely unchanged compared to maps released by the Drought Monitor three months ago, but conditions are a far cry from where the state was last April, when 56 percent of New Mexico was drought free, with just 13 percent reaching anywhere from severe to exceptional drought levels.
An unusually dry monsoon season in 2020 has been identified as a key factor in the state's prolonged drought conditions.
Precipitation dropped anywhere from 52 percent to 72 percent throughout monsoon season, June through September, compared to the previous 100-year average, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A weak monsoon season meant drier-than-normal soil.
A similar trend seems to be taking hold a few months prior to the start of the normally wet period.
The Drought Monitor reported a lack of precipitation and low stream flows over the past three months as only strengthening drought conditions in Western and Southwestern states, with almost 95 percent of those areas experiencing at least abnormal dryness.