For the first time in the 17-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, the state of New Mexico showed up “D-nada,” meaning the map of drought conditions showed no color for the state. The last bit of D0, “abnormally dry,” which shows up as yellow, disappeared as of the Aug. 22 map.
“They were on the very first map and they’ve had color on the map ever since. That’s a heck of a run,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska and a U.S. Drought Monitor author.
But he added that New Mexico has been drought-free – no D1-D4 – several times since the drought monitor’s inception in 2000.
Fuchs estimated that Texas is the next-most-frequently represented state on the map. It was last “D-nada” for three weeks in early 2005, but has otherwise had patches of at least abnormally dry over the past 17 years.
The drought center collaborates with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture each week to create the map showing the location and intensity of drought across the country. “Abnormally dry” reflects areas that are dry but not in drought. Drought categories are D1-D4, “moderate,” “severe”, “extreme” and “exceptional,” represented by progressively darker shades on a tan-red-brown spectrum.
View the U.S. Drought Monitor and associated statistics, maps and graphs at droughtmonitor.unl.edu
-- National Drought Mitigation Center