FARMINGTON — Rain may finally come to Farmington, but it's unlikely to wash away the drought.
Saturday and Sunday both have a 20 percent chance of rain during the day, rising to 30 percent at night, according to the National Weather Service. Chances increase to around 30 percent early next week.
"I believe chances will be increasing over the next few days as the high pressure system shifts east to western Kansas," said Chuck Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Albuquerque office. "This should allow some moisture intrusion from Mexico. Later next week, there could be a more significant storm system coming across from Texas."
The rain, if it comes, will not likely be enough to have a significant effect on the state's drought.
New Mexico's drought conditions are the worst in the nation with much of the state, including San Juan County, classified as extreme, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. An extreme drought is the second most intense classification on the scale.
In addition, much of central New Mexico is caught in an exceptional drought, the most intense classification on the scale.
The National Weather Service's gauge at Four Corners Regional Airport is registering 70 percent of normal precipitation since January, Jones said. The gauge at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center in Farmington is at 58 percent of normal.
But the rain, Jones said, is arriving roughly on time for northwest New Mexico, he said.
"Typically, the impact is later than in the rest of the state," he said.
For now, Farmington's immediate water source appears to be in good shape, said Jeff Smaka, the city's public works director.
"Right now, (Farmington Lake) is sitting at 98 percent of capacity," he said.
Farmington Lake is filled by water pumped from the Animas River. The lake has enough water to sustain 90 days at peak demand, Smaka said.
The drought, however, is expected to remain serious, said Randy Kirkpatrick, San Juan Water Commission executive director.
Flow rates on the Animas River are between 35 percent and 56 percent of normal, depending on the region, Kirkpatrick said.
"Those are very low, of course," he said. "The drought is very serious."
Small showers will have little to no effect on the situation, Kirkpatrick said.
"All those small rains don't really reach the rivers," he said. "It takes an inch-plus in 24 hours (across the region) to have a substantial impact," he said.