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Published March 24, 2011
U.S. Drought Monitor(through 3/15/11)
Data Source(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Drought conditions across the western U.S. have changed little over the past 30 days due to an active weather pattern that has brought average to above-average precipitation to most areas except Arizona, New Mexico, and eastern Colorado (Figure 3). Much of the Southwest has missed out on winter storm activity and precipitation that has fallen over the past 30 days, causing drought conditions to expand and intensify. Severe drought has expanded to cover almost all of eastern Colorado while moderate drought conditions have expanded across portions of New Mexico and Arizona. Extreme drought has also crept into extreme southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico over the past 30 days. These areas have observed less than a quarter of their normal winter season precipitation with little chance of making up any ground over the upcoming normally hot and dry spring season.
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 author of this monitor is Laura Edwards, Western Regional Climate Center.
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