Drought to linger in New Mexico

Posted at: 12/20/2012 6:22 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It looks like the drought is going to stick around even longer for New Mexico and the Southwest.

The latest long range forecast from the federal government says the drought will continue not only from December to March, but from March to May as well. The dismal outlook comes from the Climate Prediction Center.

"It's really bad news," said National Weather Service hydrologist Ed Polasko. "Essentially right now it would be a tragedy to get a third straight dry, warm desiccating Spring season."

Polasko said that would mean water shortages, crops drying up, another horrible year for farmers and ranchers and another springtime of catastrophic forest fires -  a lot like last spring.

"Certainly last December, you may recall, we had several good winter storms that moved through," said Weather Service meteorologist Kerry Jones.

"We benefited from that, but we didn't have anything from January on. In fact it was just dreadfully free of storms during that whole stretch."

The Weather Service says the last 24 months are the driest and warmest ever recorded in New Mexico, outdoing even the famous drought of the midddle 1950s.