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Drought conditions improve in N.M. as rainy season begins

While some other parts of the Southwest continue to suffer an exceptional drought, Northern New Mexico residents are experiencing wetter conditions than they have seen in recent years as the annual summer monsoon gets into full swing this week.

As storms rolled through the area Monday afternoon, National Weather Service forecasters in Albuquerque said the central part of the state, including Santa Fe, likely will have recorded about 1.5 inches of rain by early Tuesday.

For the rest of the week, the central part of the state can expect more showers and thunderstorms. The weather pattern is expected to change by the weekend as temperatures rise to 85 in Santa Fe, according to the weather service.

The rainfall is expected to help further ease the state’s drought conditions, which have been improving since the beginning of the year.

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A year ago, almost all of New Mexico was suffering from a prolonged drought, maps prepared by government monitors show. The drought since has disappeared from most of the eastern half of the state, the latest map shows, and drought conditions are improving in the western half of the state. The recent map shows that the area of the state still rated in moderate to severe drought has fallen to 22 percent.

“This year, we are doing a lot better,” said Deirdre Kann, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

The National Weather Service said precipitation recorded at Seton Village, southeast of Santa Fe, has totaled 7.61 inches so far this year, which is ahead of the normal year-to-date total of 6.28 inches.

Some longtime Santa Fe residents who welcomed the arrival of the rainy season said this spring and early summer has been among the wettest in a while.

Rose Otero-Molina said she has enjoyed the rain even though it ruined her Monday evening plans to attend the Santa Fe Fuego baseball game, which was canceled due to the rain, with her brother. She said she “religiously” attends Fuego home games.

“I love the rain,” she said. “Just not on a game day.”

Otero-Molina has lived in Santa Fe since 1984, and this year, she said, “is the wettest it has been in a long time.”

The weather apparently has helped put a damper on water use in Santa Fe. The latest weekly data from the city Water Division, dated July 5, shows water demand totaled just over 11 million gallons a day, down from nearly 12.6 million gallons a year ago.

This article was written by URIEL J. GARCIA from The Santa Fe New Mexican and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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