PHOENIX — The latest drought update is in, and we are seeing even more improvement to our ongoing drought conditions thanks to our late-January rain and snow.
As of Thursday’s update from the U.S. Drought Monitor, 99% of Arizona is now experiencing some level of drought.
While it is not a huge improvement, that is down from 100% last week and it is the first time since September 2020 that Arizona’s drought coverage has dropped below 100%.
Areas in southwest Arizona, along the Mexico border, are now categorized as “Abnormally Dry” rather than in a drought. This includes spots like Yuma where they picked up more than an inch of rain in January. Most of that rain fell on January 20th, when they set a daily record for rainfall, picking up 1.12 inches.
While the rest of Arizona remains under some level of drought, we did see more improvement in areas along the Mogollon Rim. Specifically, in areas from Prescott to Flagstaff where we dropped from the Extreme Drought category to the Severe Drought category. It is not a huge improvement, but it is a step in the right direction.
The areas covered by an Exceptional Drought, which is the worst level, were also trimmed back a bit, from 58% down to 54% of the state.
Our active weather patterns in late January, which brought snow and rain producing storms to Arizona, are to thank for the improvements.
California has also benefited from all the rain and snow that fell in its state. It went from having 95% of the state experiencing some level of drought last week, down to approximately 86% of the state in a drought this week.
Unfortunately, just as we begin to see some improvements to our drought conditions we are headed into another dry stretch.
At this point, it looks like we will not see any Valley rain or much high country snow through at least mid-February.