West Drought Summary
utside of beneficial rain and high-elevation snow in the north, pronounced short- and long-term dryness led to drought intensification and expansion across the Southwest. In southern Idaho, Abnormal Dryness (D0) was removed from most locales north of the Snake River, as recent rain and snow have pushed Water Year (to date) precipitation at or above the 35th percentile. However, sub-par seasonal precipitation coupled with increasingly dry conditions over the past 30 days led to the expansion of D0 in northeastern Montana and Moderate Drought (D1) in southwestern Idaho. Abnormal Dryness was expanded westward across central and northern portions of California’s Coastal Range due to a sub-par water year coupled with increasingly dry conditions over the past 30 days (deficits of 2 inches or more, locally less than 10 percent of normal). Farther south, Severe, Extreme, and Exceptional Drought (D2-D4) were increased from southern California into much of New Mexico. Changes were most pronounced in eastern portions of the region, where Water Year precipitation was in the 2nd percentile or lower, particularly across the northern third of New Mexico. Satellite-derived vegetation health data indicated conditions have deteriorated rapidly across the region, with the worst vegetation indices with respect to normal noted from Arizona southeastward into southern New Mexico. Drought Monitor authors are in close contact with local and regional experts from the Southwest, and further detailed analysis will likely result in additional intensification and expansion of drought as the situation is assessed over the upcoming weeks.
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