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Published August 23, 2011
U.S. Drought Monitor(data through 8/16/11)
Data Source(s): Data Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Most of the western U.S. remains drought-free after a banner wet winter and spring. The exceptions are Arizona and New Mexico, where drought conditions continued to occupy nearly all of both states. The monsoon started with a bang in a few parts of Arizona—although precipitation was not widespread or heavy enough to improve drought conditions—and a bust for most of New Mexico; precipitation during the last 30 days has also been slightly below average in most of the two states except for the southeastern and southwestern corners of Arizona and New Mexico, respectively. Across the West, the percent of area covered by abnormally dry conditions or a more severe drought category remained virtually unchanged from one month ago and currently sits at about 25 percent, according to the August 16 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor (Figure 3).
Drought conditions also remain unchanged in Texas, were exceptional drought conditions currently occupy 75 percent of the state.
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 Mathew Rosencrans, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC.
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
- Dan Ferguson, CLIMAS Program Director
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Gigi Owen, CLIMAS Assistant Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Swetish, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
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