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Published October 24, 2011
U.S. Drought Monitor(data through 10/20/11)
Data Source(s): Data Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
There were very few changes in the extent and intensity of drought across the western United States during the past 30 days (Figure 3). The October 18 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor has drought confined to the Southwest U.S., with the remainder of the western U.S classified as drought-free. The minor changes that did occur were on the northern edge of the drought extending across the Southwest. An early winter storm interacting with subtropical moisture leftover from the monsoon produced widespread precipitation across Nevada, northern Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. This brought some limited short-term relief and reduced abnormally dry conditions that had crept in across much of Nevada. Moderate to exceptional drought continues to plague much of Arizona and New Mexico and a portion of Colorado. Little relief is expected during the winter, as this region braces for a second consecutive La Niña winter.
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 Mark Svoboda, Natoinal Drought Mitigatoin 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