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Published September 25, 2013
U.S. Drought Monitor(data through September 17, 2013)
Data Source(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture; National Drought Mitigation Center; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Four Corners states of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado observed the biggest improvements in drought conditions during the past 30 days in the western U.S. Monsoon moisture interacting with several slow moving tropical and upper level low pressure systems brought record rainfall to much of the Southwest, delivering much needed relief to short-term drought conditions across the region. Large parts of Utah and Colorado were upgraded from severe to moderate drought classifications, while most of the extreme drought was erased from Arizona and New Mexico (Figure 3). Dry conditions north and west of the Four Corners states, however, kept drought conditions firmly in place across much of California, Nevada, and southern Oregon and Idaho. Overall, some level of drought covers about 81 percent of the western U.S., a slight improvement from the 87 percent noted in mid-August. The area under extreme or exceptional drought also fell from 20 percent in mid-August to 8 percent in mid-September.
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 weekly U.S. Drought Monitor:
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 Dubois, 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