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Published January 23, 2013
U.S. Drought Monitor(data through 1/15/13)
Data Source(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
A cold and relatively dry weather pattern characterized the West during the past 30 days. This created few opportunities to improve drought conditions, where present. Overall, more than 75 percent of the western U.S. (the 11 continental states from the Rocky Mountains westward) remains in drought, with over 44 percent at the severe or a more severe drought category. This is almost identical to conditions in mid-December. There were, however, a few isolated areas that saw substantial changes in conditions, including northern Nevada where conditions improved slightly. The Pacific Northwest and parts of the northern Rockies continue to see the bulk of the winter storm activity and precipitation; these areas are currently free of drought.
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
- Dan Ferguson, CLIMAS Program Director
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Gigi Owen, CLIMAS Assistant Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Swetish, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
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