The end of 2017 brought little relief from warm, dry weather in the Four Corners area. Local weather observer Jim Andrus tells KSJD Cortez received only two-hundredths of an inch of precipitation in December.
That’s exactly the same as in November, and two-hundredths of an inch less than October. The U.S. Drought Monitor Map shows most of the Four Corners area as now in moderate drought, with portions in severe drought. The Farmington Daily Times reports that since the start of October, the city of Farmington has received less than half an inch of precipitation. Through Christmas, A lbuquerque had gone without measurable moisture for 81 days. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service says the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basins currently hold just 24 percent of their normal snowpack. The drought conditions come on the heels of a wet winter last year that left most of the region’s reservoirs full going into autumn. However, a La Niña weather pattern developed, which typically means a dry winter in the Southwest. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service predicts continuing unusually dry and mild weather across eastern Utah and western Colorado through much of this week, with temperatures several degrees above normal.