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 6, 2015. The next update in early February will reflect the conditions of October, November and December.
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Long-term Drought Status Update: July - September 2015
Another wet monsoon has brought continued improvement to several watersheds in southeastern, central and northern Arizona. There are no watersheds in severe drought, and all watersheds except the Verde are either abnormally dry or have no drought.
This was the second wet monsoon in a row, and the winter, though generally drier than normal, was wetter than all of the previous four winters. Therefore, the long-term conditions for water resources are showing some improvement.
Although streamflows are doing well in many parts of the Arizona, recharge rates for the aquifers are highly variable around the state, with some responding very slowly to precipitation.
The current depiction of the watershed conditions are watershed averages based primarily on a few precipitation gauges with long records. Unfortunately the monsoon precipitation is often highly localized, so a gauge that records a large rain event may skew the data for that watershed. This has occurred in the Bill Williams and lower Colorado watersheds where we only have a few gauges. Local impacts have also been incorporated to account for these data voids.
- Coming soon - Arizona DroughtView - a tool for collecting and displaying local drought impacts.
- NASA launches soil moisture mapping satellite 1/31/2015.