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ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Major stretches of river have already gone dry, farmers are leaving their land fallow, and cities are clamping down on water use, but things in New Mexico just went from bad to worse Thursday.
The latest map from federal forecasters shows exceptional drought has spread from a quarter of New Mexico to nearly 40 percent in just one week. At this time last year, less than one-tenth of the state was affected by what is considered the worst category of drought.
New Mexico — the nation’s fifth largest state — is in the worst shape of any state, and conditions have only intensified over the past seven days.
This week’s U.S. Drought Monitor shows a swath of red and dark red across New Mexico, indicating extreme and exceptional drought conditions. The ominous colors stretch up through the Midwest, showing conditions have also worsened over the past year in parts of Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
“These kinds of conditions will certainly persist for a while,” said Tim Shy, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. “Even if we do get repeated rains over a long period of time, for them to crack the threshold and get us back out of the deep brown color is going to be pretty difficult indeed.”
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