Winter storms have started dropping snow in northern New Mexico's parched San Juan County but significantly more snowfall is needed to relieve drought conditions.
The water level behind Navajo Dam was 57 percent of capacity as of Dec. 26.
Hydrologic engineer Susan Behery of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says the dam's outflow is two or three times the inflow rate.
Behery says lower than average levels of precipitation and dry soil conditions contribute to a lack of runoff as water is instead absorbed into the ground.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Frazier says storms that occur in the transition from winter to spring could play a major role in determining whether the Four Corners region remains in a drought.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.