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Published October 24, 2012
Arizona Drought Status(data through 10/16/12)
Data Source(s): U.S. Drought Monitor
Dry conditions over the past thirty days kept moderate to severe drought conditions firmly entrenched across most of Arizona (Figures 4a–b). Above-average temperatures during this period also did little to help alleviate short- and long-term drought impacts to vegetation and water resources that are present across the state. Currently, all of Arizona continues to experience some level of drought and 98 percent of the state is experiencing moderate or worse drought conditions, according to the October 16 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. A very slight improvement occurred along the Colorado River valley in Mohave County in the last month where conditions upgraded from moderate drought to abnormally dry conditions due to above average precipitation falling in late September. Otherwise, the pattern of drought is identical to one month ago.
Compared to one year ago, however, moderate or a more severe drought category covers about 30 percent more of Arizona. On the positive side, about 10 percent less area is now afflicted with extreme and exceptional drought compared to mid-October, 2011.
The Vegetation Drought Index (VegDRI) produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center also shows widespread drought conditions across the state. This index measures the ‘greenness’ of vegetation using satellites imagery. On October 15, VegDRI indicated that vegetation in much of southeast and northeast Arizona is experiencing moderate to severe drought stress.
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.
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