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Published April 24, 2013
Precipitation(data through 4/17/13)
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
The 2013 water year, which began on October 1, has been extremely dry in the Southwest, particularly across New Mexico, where precipitation has been less than 50 percent of average. Numerous other areas have received less than 25 percent of average (Figures 2a–b). Arizona has fared slightly better, with rain and snow largely amounting to less 70 percent of average. Also, there have been some wetter-than-average regions in Arizona, but they have been very localized in Gila County. Much of the rain and snowfall deficits occurred early in the water year when winter storms were few and far between. The storms that did waft over Arizona frequently bypassed New Mexico.
In the past 30 days, only one significant storm passed over the region, and it dropped most of its precipitation on the Mogollon Rim and the Colorado Plateau of Arizona and New Mexico (Figures 2c–d). Eastern New Mexico and western Arizona received less than 2 percent of average precipitation this past month. The path of storm systems continues to remain north of the two states. Even though the past 30 days have been drier than average in the Southwest, this period is historically dry, and scant precipitation translated into precipitation deficits of less than 1 inch in most of the Southwest. Also, recent storms blanketed parts of the Upper Colorado River Basin in snow, which will help boost spring streamflows slightly.Notes:
The water year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. As of October 1, 2012, we are in the 2013 water year. The water year is a more hydrologically sound measure of climate and hydrological activity than is the standard calendar year.
Average refers to the arithmetic mean of annual data from 1981–2010. Percent of average precipitation is calculated by taking the ratio of current to average precipitation and multiplying by 100.
The continuous color maps (Figures 2a, 2c) are derived by taking measurements at individual meteorological stations and mathematically interpolating (estimating) values between known data points. Interpolation procedures can cause aberrant values in data-sparse regions.
The dots in Figures 2b and 2d show data values for individual meteorological stations.
For these and other precipitation maps, visit:
For National Climatic Data Center monthly precipitation and drought reports for Arizona, New Mexico, and the Southwest region, visit:
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.
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