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ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Weather forecasters and state and federal water managers on Monday painted a grim picture of the chances drought-stricken New Mexico has to make up any ground this winter.
It’s early, but officials said the state is already starting off with half of the average snowpack for this time of year.
“It’s not a promising start to the snow season and from most of what I’ve been seeing in terms of the models floating around, it’s not looking real optimistic as far as building snowpack through the winter either,” said Wayne Sleep, a hydrology technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Drought has a firm lock right now on much of the Midwest and Western U.S. In New Mexico, drought-related pressures are stacking up though after two consecutive years of little rain or snow. Ranchers continue selling off their livestock, dairy and other agricultural operations have been forced out of business and those farmers who have weathered the drought so far are bracing for another year of pumping groundwater to irrigate their crops.
With no meaningful winter moisture, Bureau of Reclamation hydrologist Raymond Abeyta said this will mark the lowest New Mexico reservoirs have ever been before an irrigation season.
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