ALBUQUERQUE – Drought is tightening its grip across a wide swath of the American Southwest as farmers, ranchers and water managers throughout the region brace for what’s expected to be more warm and dry weather through the spring.
The federal drought map released Thursday shows dry conditions intensifying across northern New Mexico and into southwestern Arizona.
On the southern high plains, Oklahoma is ground zero right now for the worst drought conditions in the United States.
Federal agriculture officials say crop conditions in some areas are declining. In New Mexico, about three-quarters of the winter wheat crop is in poor to very poor condition as meaningful moisture has been scarce.
Along the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico, the irrigation allotment will be less than half of what farmers received last year.