Arizona

New Mexico hit by 'flash drought' weather phenomenon

  • National Weather Service hydrologist Royce Fontenot poses for a photograph after discussing soil moisture levels, high temperatures and a lack of rain as reasons for flash drought during an interview in his office in Albuquerque, N.M., on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. A quick uptick in temperatures and no precipitation combined for a flash drought over part of New Mexico in March. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

    National Weather Service hydrologist Royce Fontenot poses for a photograph after discussing soil moisture levels, high temperatures and a lack of rain as reasons for flash drought during an interview in his office in Albuquerque, N.M., on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. A quick uptick in temperatures and no precipitation combined for a flash drought over part of New Mexico in March. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)  (The Associated Press)

  • National Weather Service hydrologist Royce Fontenot poses for a photograph after discussing soil moisture levels, high temperatures and a lack of rain as reasons for flash drought during an interview in his office in Albuquerque, N.M., on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. A quick uptick in temperatures and no precipitation combined for a flash drought over part of New Mexico in March. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

    National Weather Service hydrologist Royce Fontenot poses for a photograph after discussing soil moisture levels, high temperatures and a lack of rain as reasons for flash drought during an interview in his office in Albuquerque, N.M., on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. A quick uptick in temperatures and no precipitation combined for a flash drought over part of New Mexico in March. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)  (The Associated Press)

Across New Mexico, unusually warm March weather and virtually no rain for a month combined to create a weather phenomenon called a flash drought.

The conditions resulted in dust storms that closed highways, warnings for some to stay inside and rapid mountain snow melting that could compromise drinking water supplies and farmers' irrigation needs.

Flash droughts leave top layers of soil bone dry.

Other affected areas include pockets of Arizona and Utah plus northern California and parts of the Midwest.

National Weather Service hydrologist Royce Fontenot says New Mexico's flash drought is ending as quickly as it began thanks to rain this week.

It's too early to say whether more severe drought conditions could affect New Mexico as summer nears.

Forecasters hope for a wet monsoon season.