- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Despite the start of monsoon season, most of New Mexico is experiencing abnormally dry conditions thanks to high temperatures last month and below average rainfall.

Data released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor showed that 95 of New Mexico is experiencing at least abnormally dry conditions. Twenty-seven percent of the state is under moderate drought.

It’s a slight improvement from last week when 96 percent of the state was “abnormally dry” and 21 percent was under moderate drought.

The dry conditions come a year after the state received a good amount of rainfall.

For example, Albuquerque Sunport saw 3.28 inches in July 2015. This July, Albuquerque Sunport received only 1.14 inches and below the average amount for the month.

Record high temperatures also have played a role in bring severe drought back to New Mexico. Average temperature in Roswell last month was 86.5 degrees - the warmest July on record, according the National Weather Service.

The agency said there were 11 record highs that were tied or broken during July in New Mexico.

In addition, the first 18 days of July were 100 degrees or higher, smashing the previous 100 or higher consecutive days of 13, back in 2011.

At the start of winter, there was excitement across New Mexico as forecasters talked about the possibilities of a wet winter thanks to El Nino, a warming trend in the central tropical Pacific that alters weather patterns worldwide.

El Nino often brings more rain to parts of the West, but things seemed to switch off as moisture bypassed parts of California and nearly all of New Mexico.

The state also saw a record-setting stretch of warm, dry weather during the winter.

Monsoon rains picked up last week but so far have not brought the needed rainfall to help dry areas of the state.

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Corrects previous story to show updated numbers from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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