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Published May 26, 2011
U.S. Drought Monitor(through 5/17/11)
Data Source(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
A wet weather pattern continued across much of the western U.S. over the past 30 days, helping to keep short-term drought conditions at bay (Figure 3). These spring storms, however, dodged most parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Much of the West Coast, interior West, and northern Rockies observed precipitation amounts in excess of 150 percent of average. The May 17 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor shows 76 percent of the western U.S. is drought free, which is the same percentage as last month. Drought conditions have continued to intensify across the Southwest. Exceptional drought conditions cover most of southeastern New Mexico, and a new area of severe drought crept into southeast Colorado. Texas is also mired in large areas classified with extreme and exceptional drought. Exceptional is the most intense drought category and is reserved for events that occur once in every 50 years.
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 David Miskus, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC.
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