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Drought Status

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Short-term Drought Status Summary for March 2017

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

March was a very dry month across the state, though the storms on the last day of February brought significant relief to northern and central Arizona. Currently, most of northern and central Arizona are drought free for the short-term.

South central and southwestern Arizona are still abnormally dry (D0) or experiencing moderate drought conditions (D1). If the dry pattern continues through April, as it typically does, statewide drought conditions will likely degrade with the worst conditions showing up in southwestern Arizona.

The grasses and vegetation that benefitted from the wet conditions of January and February are now drying out and will contribute to the wildfire hazard later in spring.

Long-term drought continues to exist as this winter only partially replenished Arizona’s reservoirs and aquifers. The Colorado River Basin, however, did enjoy a very wet winter that has improved water supply forecast for most reservoirs along the Colorado River.

Prepared by the State Drought Monitoring Technical Committee, April 7, 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, February 3, 2017. The next update in early May will reflect the conditions of January, February and March.

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


Long-term Drought Status Update: October - December 2016

The La Niña conditions of cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the Central Pacific Ocean did not develop this winter, and a return to the normal jet stream pattern was observed.

So far, this winter’s snowpack is above normal and the typical Arizona winter storms have returned. If that pattern continues through April, some of the long-term deficits of the past five years may be reduced, leading to improvements in drought conditions across Arizona.

However, early February will be dry and warm, similar to the dry and warm conditions of January last year. If this continues through the rest of the winter, most of the state may remain abnormally dry or in moderate drought conditions.



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







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