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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU seminar examines rainy weather's impact on long-term drought

The 2006 summer was one for the record books, with its early and very active monsoon thunderstorms, according to Deborah Bathke, assistant state climatologist for New Mexico and an assistant professor in the Department of Plant & Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University.

Bathke will present: "It Finally Rained: Are We Out of the Drought Yet?" at 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, in Wooton Hall Room 105 on the NMSU campus. The presentation is part of the Water Lecture Series, sponsored by NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics' Water Task Force, the NMSU Department of Civil and Geological Engineering and the New Mexico Water Resource Research Institute.

"Despite all the rain, lingering drought conditions still exist in the northern part of the state. Not surprisingly the question on everyone's lips is, 'Was this heavy rainfall enough to end drought conditions in New Mexico?' The answer depends, in part, on how you define drought." Bathke said.

The current drought has affected all of New Mexico since 1999. The reservoirs have been low across the state and this affects both people and agriculture. "Drought is by no means an unusual or unnatural event. It is a normal and recurrent feature of our climate system," Bathke said. "In fact, severe to extreme drought has affected a portion of New Mexico 56 percent of the time over the time period of 1896-2005."

Bathke is also the state coordinator for the New Mexico Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (www.cocorahs.org) and chairs the Drought Monitoring Work Group of the Governor's Drought Task Force.

For additional information concerning the Water Lecture Series, please contact Leeann DeMouche, NMSU water resource specialist, at ldemouche@nmsu.edu or (505) 646-3973.