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Published April 27, 2011
U.S. Drought Monitor(through 4/19/11)
Data Source(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Due to an active and wet storm track this winter, much of the northern two-thirds of the western U.S. remain drought-free. In the past 30 days, precipitation in much of this region measured between 100 and 200 percent of average. Dry conditions, however, plagued much of the Southwest, and during the last 30 days drought conditions worsened in many parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Severe drought conditions expanded in this period across much of eastern Colorado and southern New Mexico, while extreme drought pushed north and west across southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico. Overall, only 23 percent of the western U.S. is classified with abnormally dry conditions or a more severe drought classification, with 13 percent at the severe to extreme level. A persistent, northerly displaced winter storm track associated with a strong La Niña this winter is largely responsible for the current pattern of drought across the western U.S.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is released weekly (every Thursday) and represents data collected through the previous Tuesday. The inset (lower left) shows the western United States from the previous month’s map.
The U.S. Drought Monitor maps are based on expert assessment of variables including (but not limited to) the Palmer Drought Severity Index, soil moisture, streamflow, precipitation, and measures of vegetation stress, as well as reports of drought impacts. It is a joint effort of several agencies; the author of this monitor is Laura Edwards, Western Regional Climate Center.
The best way to monitor drought trends is to pay a weekly visit to the U.S. Drought Monitor website:
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
The CLIMAS Web site contains official and non-official forecasts, as well as other information. While we make every effort to verify this information, please understand that we do not warrant the accuracy of any of these materials.... Read full disclaimer