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Drought Status

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Short-term Drought Status Summary for May 2015

Note: The map to the left updates automatically on a weekly basis.

This summary below reflects changes from May 1 to May 31, 2015.

This May was relatively wet particularly in the southwest deserts. A series of low pressure systems moved across the state almost continuously through the month, bringing rainfall to some areas of the state almost every day. Most of the rainfall was light, though several storms brought over an inch of rainfall, and three of the storms brought snowfall to the higher elevations.

While the precipitation has increased the amount of grasses, and contributed to green-up, it has not significantly improved the drought conditions and may have increased the wildfire risk at the lower elevations. While there are currently no large wildfires, there have been numerous small fires in southern Arizona as is typical for this time of year. The rainfall in May was not enough to overcome the deficits that have accumulated since the beginning of the year in terms of water resources, but the high elevation forests have benefitted from the cooler and wetter conditions.

This report was produced by the Arizona Drought Monitoring Technical Committee, June 4, 2015.


Prepared by the Arizona Drought Monitoring Technical Committee, May 5, 2015

The next update in early August will reflect the conditions of April, May and June.


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





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Long-term Drought Status Update: January - March 2015

There is no change to the long-term drought conditions across the state. The only drought free area continues to be the in the Lower Gila and Lower Colorado River basins in the southwestern part of the state. Northern Arizona is abnormally dry as that is where the tail end of the few winter storms crossed into Arizona.

Unfortunately the majority of our winter storms were relatively dry or relatively warm, so snowpack was minimal this year across the higher elevations of northern Arizona and the Mogollon Rim. Roosevelt Reservoir is only slightly lower than this time last year due to water conservation efforts, but the Colorado River reservoirs are expected to drop much lower than this time last year due to dry conditions on the Upper Colorado watershed.



  • Coming soon  - Arizona DroughtView -   a tool for collecting and displaying local drought impacts.
  • NASA launches soil moisture mapping satellite 1/31/2015.