Late July rains are providing encouragement for New Mexico farmers and ranchers suffering from a fourth consecutive year of severe drought.

Heavy rains belted parts of central and eastern New Mexico beginning last weekend causing flooding in parts of Albuquerque and record rainfall amounts in Raton and Mosquero, both in the northeastern quadrant of the state, where nearly 5 inches of rain fell in one day.

National Weather Service forecasters say while recent showers are part of the state's annual summer monsoon season, showers earlier this week were intensified by a front moving southwest across the state.

National Weather Service senior forecaster Clay Anderson in Albuquerque said isolated parts of the state may have received up to six inches of rain in recent days and predicts heavy rains will return by late Thursday and into Friday.

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Parts of New Mexico remained under a flash flood warning Tuesday, especially for areas recently hit by wildfires. Officials say the fire-scarred landscape in higher elevations will force heavy runoffs to lower elevations with the potential for serious flash floods.

With four years of severe drought and only minimal irrigation allotments, New Mexico farmers and ranchers have lost millions in crop production. The drought also forced ranchers to cull cattle herds because of water, forage and feed shortage, another devastating blow to the state's agricultural economy.