PHOENIX — The U.S. Drought Monitor released their weekly outlook today and drought in Arizona is getting worse.
The entire state is still in drought, but we are now seeing a dramatic shift from the Moderate and Severe drought categories to the higher drought categories called Extreme and Exceptional.
At the start of 2020, no part of Arizona was in either of those higher categories, but in just the last week alone, we've seen a 39 percent increase in Exceptional Drought.
So what does this mean? It means the drought is so bad even native plants are dying and we still have the risk for wildfires heading into winter.
With La Nina in effect, the jet stream (the "steering wheel" for storms in the upper atmosphere) will likely stay too far north to bring significant rain or snow to Arizona this winter.
The long-term outlook heading into next spring calls for a good chance of warmer and drier than normal conditions across Arizona, so we could see our entire state in Exceptional Drought in the next month or two.