NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Winter snow translates to spring flow, and hydrologists are optimistic that recent snow in New Mexico’s mountains bodes well for New Mexico’s streams.

The latest Water Supply Outlook Report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that the spring growing season of 2023 could be “dramatically improved” compared to last year. And it’s thanks to late snow.

Several SNOTEL (snow monitoring) stations west of the Continental Divide have seen a record amount of snow this winter, the report notes. In fact, a Natural Resources Conservation Service Forecast Hydrologist described March snow as a “bonanza.”

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Map showing New Mexico drought conditions as of April 4, 2023. The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC.

When you add that snow to soil that has an increased amount of moisture, the forecast calls for better runoff than some of the state has seen in the last few years, the report says. And some streams, particularly near the New Mexico-Arizona state line could see above-normal flow.

All told, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the current water supply in New Mexico could help reduce the state’s ongoing drought conditions. Already nearly half of the state’s land is no longer in drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.