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Published February 22, 2012
U.S. Drought Monitor(data through 2/14/12)
Data Source(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
A very dry weather pattern settled over most of the western U.S. in January, leading to a continued expansion and intensification of drought conditions, particularly in northwest Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. Both warm temperatures and scant rain and snow played a role. Winter storms generally steered clear of the intermountain West and Southwest, paving the way for unusually dry and warm weather to dominate. Some storms pummeled the Pacific Northwest. Temperatures across much of the West were between 0 and 6 degrees F above average. As a result of the warm and dry weather, moderate or a more severe drought category expanded in the West from 29 percent in mid-January to about 41 percent in mid-February (Figure 3). Extreme and exceptional drought only occupies the southeast corner of New Mexico.
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