Spring rainfall was a pleasant surprise. The Monsoon has been respectable. Could a wet Fall wipe out the Arizona drought?
The drought update as of August 18th shows 71% of the state under moderate drought. The worst of the drought resides over portions of the Gila River Valley; roughly 6% of Arizona. What’s encouraging is the numbers are trending in the right direction: down. Both the moderate and severe drought dropped 5% from last week.
With a burgeoning El Niño in the eastern Pacific, the Climate Prediction Center is calling for a good chance of above average rainfall over Arizona this Fall. A lot of this hinges on tropical development off the western Mexico coastline. While El Niño helps fuel more tropical systems, it’s important to note that last September was an anomaly. Still, close proximity to tropical moisture should keep Monsoon 2015 going through at least the first half of September.
If above average rainfall comes to fruition, the drought could be significantly decreased or even eliminated by late November. The above map calls for likely drought removal from the Tohono O’dham Nation to the High Country, while drought reduction is possible along the banks of the Gila & Salt Rivers.
By no means is this a slam-dunk forecast. But it’s one of the most positive developments I’ve seen regarding the drought in a long time.