Farmers hoping for good news from this winter's snow pack

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LAS CRUCES (AP) — Farmers in southern New Mexico are hoping for more snow this winter as they try to recover from what was a historically dismal irrigation season in 2013.
Snowpack levels in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico will be closely watched in the first part of the year. So far, they’re better than last year.
Phil King, the water engineer for the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, told the Las Cruces Sun-News that despite the early snow, there’s no indication this season will offer anything close to a full supply of water.
A federal report released Monday showed the Upper Rio Grande Basin was around 90 percent of normal for this time of year. That’s down from over 100 percent in early December.
Experts say the snowfall all but shut down in December.
“It seems like most of the storms that have come through are either skirting us to the north or they’re moisture starved,” said Wayne Sleep, a hydrologic technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Albuquerque. “It hasn’t been real favorable for snowpack development.”
The most important snowfall months are about to begin. January, February and March usually generate the bulk of the snowpack for a given season, experts say.

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