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Published February 22, 2012
Precipitation(data through 2/15/12)
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Precipitation since the water year began on October 1 generally has been below average in Arizona and southern New Mexico (Figures 2a–b). In Arizona, precipitation has been 50–90 percent of average across the state, with western Maricopa County and northern Apache County receiving less than 50 percent of average precipitation. Only a small sliver of the southwest corner of the state has received above-average rain. Precipitation in New Mexico has been more variable than in Arizona. While the southern third and eastern portion of the state have measured between 50 and 90 percent of average, the northwest quarter has received 110 to more than 300 percent of average. Most of the precipitation fell in November and December, although a few storms have moved across the northern third of both states during the past month. Some storms wafted north of Arizona before moving south into New Mexico, which explains why northern New Mexico is wetter-than-average while northern Arizona is not.
In the past 30 days, winter storms dipped into the northeast corner of Arizona and northwestern New Mexico before moving northeast through Colorado. These storms benefitted New Mexico the most, as rain and snow measured 150–800 percent of average. The more northerly position of this storm track has left the southwestern two thirds of Arizona and the eastern half of New Mexico with less than 25 percent of average precipitation.Notes:
The water year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. As of October 1, 2011, we are in the 2012 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 1971–2000. 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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