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Drought Status

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Short-term Drought Status Summary for December 2016

The map to the left updates every Thursday. The summary below reflects changes during the month of December.

The recent winter storms that moved through the state during December and the New Year brought soaking rains and much needed snow to the high country. These wet and snowy conditions improved soil moisture, filled water tanks, and have led to improvements in the short-term drought conditions across central and northern Arizona.

All of Mohave County and all but the southern border of Yavapai County are now drought free. Gila, La Paz, and the northern two-thirds of Maricopa County have improved from moderate drought (D1) to abnormally dry (D0). The northern and southern portions of Navajo and Apache counties have also improved from moderate drought to abnormally dry.

The southern third of the state received some rainfall, but not enough to warrant improvements at this time.

With a weak La Nina now deteriorating, there is little to no indication whether the remainder of the winter and upcoming spring will be wetter or drier than normal across the state. If the wet weather pattern continues, more improvements should follow.

Prepared by the State Drought Monitoring Technical Committee, January 5, 2017.


Arizona’s long-term drought status map is updated quarterly. The long-term drought status for each watershed is determined by comparing the precipitation and streamflow percentiles for the past 24, 36 and 48 months to a 40 year historical record 

This report was prepared by the Arizona Drought Monitoring Technical Committee, November 7, 2016. The next update in early February will reflect the conditions of October, November and December.

Click here if you would like to receive monthly drought status reports by email.


Long-term Drought Status Update: July - September 2016

While El Niño was very strong, as measured by sea surface temperatures, the atmospheric circulation, which typically brings these strong winter storms into Arizona, did not develop. From January through March, these storm systems stayed mostly north of Arizona.

Flagstaff received near average precipitation over the winter, but the White Mountains, central, and southern Arizona were drier than normal.

The monsoon brought much needed rainfall to southeastern Arizona, however the precipitation did not make up the long-term moisture deficit. Therefore, there is no change to the long-term drought status.



  • NASA launches soil moisture mapping satellite 1/31/2015.







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