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Published March 24, 2011
Arizona Drought Status(through 3/15/11)
Data Source(s): U.S. Drought Monitor
Precipitation was hard to come by across southern Arizona over the past 30 days, causing short-term drought conditions to continue to worsen, according to the March 15 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor (Figures 4a–b). Moderate to severe drought conditions continue to cover much of southern and eastern Arizona, where less than 50 percent of average precipitation has fallen over the past three months. Extreme drought conditions have crept into far southeast Arizona, where observed winter season precipitation has been less than 25 percent of average. Drought impact reports submitted through AZ DroughtWatch (http://azdroughtwatch.org) describing poor range conditions, little or no water in seasonal streams, and poor condition or mortality in native plant species are consistent with the severe to extreme drought status across southern Arizona.
Northwestern Arizona, on the other hand, remains drought free due to above-average precipitation delivered to the region over the past several months. Reports of deep snowpacks, plentiful soil moisture, and the green-up of some low desert areas are all positive signs of a turn-around in short-term drought conditions that plagued this area just last summer.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
- 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.
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