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National Weather Service forecasters in Albuquerque say the latest drought monitor report is encouraging news and represents significant improvement over dry conditions of the last two year.
It has been more than two years since any part of New Mexico was not rated in one stage of drought or another, but the latest U.S. Drought Monitor released late last week indicates a large area of the southeastern part of the state is now considered drought free.
Thanks to recent rains, most of Chaves County is nearly drought free, including Roswell, a community that has suffered from exceptionally dry conditions over the last two years. While the large drought-free area represents only about 2 percent of the state, drought has loosened its hold on most of the state.
According to the latest report, only 34 percent of the state remains in severe drought and 7.3 percent is listed as under extreme drought, meaning about 41 percent of the state is now considered in a serious drought and about 37 percent listed as moderate.
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An additional 20 percent of the state is listed as abnormally dry, the weakest of drought conditions, and 2 percent of the state is drought-free. The latest drought monitor lists no areas within the state as in exceptional drought, the worst of drought levels.