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Published November 21, 2012
Arizona Drought Status(data through 11/13/12)
Data Source(s): U.S. Drought Monitor
Dry and warm fall conditions in the past month contributed to the continuation of moderate or more severe short-term drought conditions in most of Arizona, according to the November 13 update of the U.S Drought Monitor (Figures 4a–b). About 99 percent of the state is experiencing at least moderate drought, with the most severe conditions occupying a large area in the Four Corners region. Southeastern and central Arizona have less extreme drought conditions than they did one year ago, while the Four Corners region has seen worsening drought.
In the past month, less than 50 percent of average precipitation fell across most of Arizona; consequently, drought coverage and intensity did not improve. November often can be dry, but the winter months can contribute large fractions of the total annual precipitation. One storm that struck the Southwest between November 9 and 11 brought more than an inch of rain to the higher elevations of central and eastern Arizona, but it was too little to compensate for substantial deficits in longer-term precipitation that have accumulated over this area over the past two years.
In other drought indices, the Vegetation Drought Index (VegDRI), which is a measure of the stress on vegetation caused by drought, also shows moderate to severe drought across much of eastern Arizona. Some improvements are noted in eastern Mohave and western Coconino counties, where recent precipitation, as little as it was, may have relieved some short-term drought stress.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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