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Published April 25, 2012
U.S. Drought Monitor(data through 4/17/12)
Data Source(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Drought expanded and intensified in parts of Colorado, Utah, and northern New Mexico during the past 30 days. Most of Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada are experiencing moderate drought or a more severe drought category, and Arizona and New Mexico are home to the only extreme or exceptional drought conditions in the West. The only drought-free areas in the western U.S. are located across the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, where above-average precipitation has fallen in recent months as a result of the position of the westerly storm track. Wetter-than-average weather in these regions historically occurs during La Niña events. Most of the Southwest and central and southern Rockies have been dry this winter, particularly since January 1, which is also the norm in La Niña winters.
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 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 Dubious, 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