(data through July 16, 2013)
Data Source(s): U.S. Drought Monitor
Drought conditions across much of Arizona remain largely unchanged from one month ago. Although monsoon precipitation in some areas has been copious, storms have been spotty and infrequent. Short-term drought conditions, however, are expected to improve in coming months as total monsoon precipitation increases (see Seasonal Drought Outlook).
Currently, about 92 percent of Arizona is experiencing moderate drought or a more severe drought category, according to the July 16 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor (Figures 4a–b). About 26 percent of the state is also experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. The most substantial change occurred on the Navajo Nation and Hopi lands where the authors of this month’s U.S. Drought Monitor increased extreme and exceptional drought as a consequence of many drought impact reports, including wells drying, horses dying, and negative impacts to crops. The conditions prompted the Navajo Nation to declare a drought emergency, allowing it to appeal for federal aid.
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.