NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – With recent snows around the state, New Mexico’s water outlook for the spring is improving. But the latest outlook report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture notes there’s still a fair bit of uncertainty in forecasting water into the spring.

Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a 2023 Water Supply Outlook Report for New Mexico. The report says this year’s snow will likely translate into an efficient runoff.

Although early winter snowfall was lacking in some mountains around New Mexico, recent snows in January and February may help the snowpack. And because New Mexico’s soils have retained a fair bit of moisture from the end of last fall, the report notes, the upcoming spring snowmelt has a chance at reaching streams, rather than simply soaking into the soil.

“If you are looking for more water, last month’s precipitation was encouraging, at least compared to conditions on January 1,” an unnamed hydrologist says in the report. But the report also notes that “forecasts of any kind, of course, are not perfect.”

As New Mexico’s wildfire season approaches, the memory of last year’s large fires still loom. This past week, there was a brush fire near Wagon Mound.

The forecasts and recent snow bode well, at least for parts of the state that saw moisture. However, in a recent KRQE News 13 story, Chief Meteorologist Grant Tosterud noted that the recent moisture is helpful, but there’s still a potential for fires: “We had a lot of rain in parts of the state during last year’s monsoon, which contributed to low growth like grasses. That then dries out over the winter and into this spring, and that could be a problem heading into fire season.”