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Published December 19, 2011
Arizona Drought Status(data through 12/13/11)
Data Source(s): U.S. Drought Monitor
Wet and cool weather during the past 30 days has slightly improved drought conditions, according to the December 13 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor (Figure 4a). Exceptional drought, defined as a drought that occurs, on average, once in every 50 years, no longer grips southeast Arizona. Exceptional drought developed in this region in early June and covered up to 7 percent of Arizona.
Currently, 98 percent of Arizona is categorized with abnormally dry conditions or a more severe drought category, with about 49 percent classified as severe or extreme (Figure 4b). Several impressive early winter storms in late November and early December have helped improve short-term drought conditions, but longer-term precipitation deficits remain. Much of Arizona is still several inches behind average precipitation levels for the year. More winter rain and snow will be needed to make substantial drought improvements in many areas in Arizona. With the expectation that a weak to moderate La Niña will continue into next year, forecasts still suggest drier-than-average conditions (see page 14).Notes:
The Arizona section of the U.S. Drought Monitor is released weekly (every Thursday) and represents data collected through the previous Tuesday. The 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.
For the most current drought status map, visit :
For monthly short-term and quarterly long-term Arizona drought status maps, 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 Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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