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Published May 23, 2012
U.S. Drought Monitor(data through 5/15/12)
Data Source(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Precipitation events were few and far between across the Southwest U.S. during the past 30 days. Most of the wet weather was confined to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies. Continued dry conditions across the Southwest, including California, Nevada, and Utah, led to a slight expansion and intensification of drought conditions. Severe drought expanded across most of Nevada and into northern Utah, while abnormally dry conditions slightly expanded north across most of Wyoming.
Slightly more than 50 percent of western U.S. states are observing moderate drought conditions or a more severe drought category (Figure 3). About 4 percent of western lands, all located in Arizona and New Mexico, are classified with extreme conditions, while about 23 percent of the West is classified with severe drought.
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 Dubious, 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