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El Nino Teases as Southwestern US Remains in Drought

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

National climate experts have been watching and waiting but El Nino has only been teasing, leaving the American Southwest to hang on longer until the weather pattern develops and brings more moisture to the drought-stricken region.

Experts with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center and the National Weather Service on Thursday said the epicenter of the nation's drought has been center for months now over the region where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet.

The latest federal drought map shows some improvements along the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico but dryness has expanded in southern California and parts of Nevada.

Senior hydrologist Royce Fontenot says the exceptionally dry conditions have affected water supplies throughout the region. He says many reservoirs throughout the intermountain west are below where they should be for this time of year.

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