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Published January 24, 2012
Arizona Drought Status(data through 1/17/12)
Data Source(s): U.S. Drought Monitor
Dry weather settled over Arizona in the last month, with western areas receiving between 2 and 25 percent of average. The state also was warmer than average, with temperatures as much as 6 degrees F above-average on the Colorado Plateau in northwest Arizona. Despite these conditions, Arizona saw slight improvements in its drought status during the last 30 days, a delayed effect of a wet December (Figure 4a). Drought, however, is still the norm.
Currently, 93 percent of Arizona is categorized with abnormally dry conditions or a more severe drought category, with severe or extreme drought covering about 37 percent of the state (Figure 4b). Although several impressive early winter storms in late November and early December helped improve short-term drought conditions, longer-term precipitation deficits remain. Much of Arizona, particularly parts of central and southern Arizona, has accumulated precipitation deficits during the past six months of 2 to 4 inches below average. More winter rain and snow will be needed to make substantial improvements in many areas in Arizona. However, with the expectation that a weak to moderate La Niña will continue through the spring, forecasts still suggest drier-than-average conditions.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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