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Published June 20, 2011
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Since the water year began on October 1, precipitation has ranged from 200 percent of average in the northwest corner of Arizona to less than 5 percent of average in parts of southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico (Figures 2a–b). Only the northwest quarter of Arizona has received near-average precipitation so far during the 2011 water year. Central Arizona and northwestern New Mexico have received 50–90 percent of average, the southern counties of Arizona had less than 50 percent of average, and the southern counties of New Mexico, along with Cochise and southern Graham and Greenlee counties in Arizona, have seen less than 25 percent of average precipitation. The dry conditions have followed the typical impacts of a La Niña event, with the heavy precipitation falling north and west of Arizona and New Mexico.
The last 30 days have brought no moisture to the southern counties of Arizona and most of the counties in New Mexico. Two storms in May brought some relief to northern Arizona across Coconino, southern Mohave, northern Navajo, and Apache counties, and San Juan County in northwest New Mexico (Figures 2c–d). Some precipitation also fell in southern Navajo County, but it was insufficient to reduce the fire potential or improve the soil moisture. The dry conditions have worsened the drought and wildfire situation in Arizona and New Mexico. The dryness extends south into Mexico, where signs of the monsoon are virtually non-existent at this time.Notes:
The water year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. As of October 1, 2010, we are in the 2011 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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