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Published June 27, 2012
U.S. Drought Monitor(data through 6/19/12)
Data Source(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Abnormally dry conditions or a more severe drought category cover nearly 69 percent of the continental U.S. The West is the hardest hit region. Severe drought or a more severe category now covers approximately 37 percent of the western U.S., an increase of 10 percent from one month ago (Figure 3). The percentage of area designated with extreme drought also doubled from about 4 to almost 8 percent.
While much of the Northwest and northern Rockies remain drought free, conditions have continued to deteriorate across the Southwest during the past 30 days as a result of very low precipitation and hot summer temperatures. Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah have experienced the greatest intensification in drought in the last month. Severe and/or extreme drought conditions expanded in each state, with the northwest quarter of Colorado experiencing the greatest shift— extreme drought now covers nearly 27 percent of the state.
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 Dubois, 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