Drought conditions may improve - Tucson News Now

Drought conditions may improve

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Arizona has been in an extended drought for quite sometime. Since the height of the drought (mid 2000s) we have seen some improvement but not enough to say we are in the clear. While most of the state (92.5%) is in a drought today, there are some areas near Payson and along the Colorado River that are not classified to be in drought conditions.

Monsoon 2013 could actually help the conditions quite a bit according to NOAA (National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration). If you notice on the image to the right (click to expand), all of the state is shaded in green and brown lines, this is stating that the current forecast over the next few months calls for conditions to slightly improve. And some areas of the state are shaded in complete green, which is a great sign, this calls for the complete removal of drought conditions. Here is a statement posted by NOAA about the current forecast (Notice the confidence level towards the bottom).

"During the previous 30 days, seasonable dryness and hot temperatures persisted across the southwestern U.S. As of June 19, numerous large wildfires were burning across the Four Corners states. Monsoon moisture typically begins streaming into the Southwest during July. There are several indications that the onset of monsoon moisture will be both early and robust. A coherent Madden Julian Oscillation pattern has developed in the tropics, and the active convective phase of this feature is expected to propagate eastward, reaching the eastern Pacific basin towards the beginning of July. Several models depict the possibility of tropical cyclogenesis in the eastern Pacific, and northwestward moving tropical cyclones would promote a northward flow of Gulf of California moisture into the Southwest. Additionally, week two guidance suggests the formation of a surface heat low near the border between California and Arizona, with high pressure situated to the east across Colorado and New Mexico. These features would also promote the northward advection of moisture into Arizona. Enhanced probabilities of above median precipitation are projected on the CPC week 2 and July monthly outlooks, with the highest probabilities in Arizona. Based on these considerations, drought improvement or removal is indicated across Arizona, western New Mexico, southern Utah, and southern Nevada. Persistence is maintained across eastern New Mexico and southern California. 
Forecast confidence for the Southwest is low to moderate."

Definitely not a great sign that the confidence level is low to moderate. But we will take this over a worsening drought forecast. Plus the monsoon flow is so unpredictable and so tricky to pinpoint it makes it impossible to know exactly what will happen, which we all know by now!

A new drought monitor is issued every Thursday, but I do not expect it to change a whole lot this week from last week.

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