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Published February 27, 2013
Precipitation(data through 2/20/13)
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
The Southwest generally has been dry since the water year began on October 1 (Figures 2a–b). In the early winter, few storm systems crossed the Southwest, and the region was much drier than average. When precipitation did fall, it tended to be in the higher elevations of the Mogollon Rim in central Arizona and along the lower Colorado River valley. Most of the early winter storms missed southern Arizona and New Mexico; since October 1, New Mexico has received less than 50 percent of average winter precipitation.
During the past 30 days, five winter storms moved through the Southwest, bringing much needed rain and snow to Arizona (Figures 2c–d). These storms, however, missed New Mexico, upholding a pattern that has persisted this winter. The first storm in late January brought moderate precipitation across most of Arizona that lasted more than 24 hours. It was followed by a warm storm that melted some of the snowpacks and actually raised the level of several central Arizona reservoirs. That storm was followed by a much colder event that brought snowfall to the mid and higher elevations. The two most recent storms, in mid-February, were very cold and snowfall was reported at low elevations in Arizona.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.
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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