Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Tucson, AZ

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AXUS75 KTWC 242145


Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service Tucson Arizona
245 PM MST Thu May 24 2018

...Extreme drought conditions expand across southeast Arizona...

Synopsis...The very warm and dry 2018 has resulted in continued
deterioration of drought conditions across southeast Arizona. With
the area now in its driest part of the year before the annual
monsoon arrives, drought conditions are expected to worsen over the
next month.

Summary of Impacts...

Soil moisture conditions.
Soil moisture levels remain depleted and very little evidence of the
heavy February rains remains. The top 10 cm of soil is basically at
the point where there is no moisture available for plant growth and
deeper soil moisture very limited. The vast majority of southeast
Arizona has drier deep (0-200 cm) soil moisture levels than one year
ago, which was an already dry period that experienced active to
extreme fire behavior. This is especially true of the Sky Islands of
Arizona where they are significantly drier than one year ago.

Fire impacts.
Due to the long duration of the current drought and the generally
much warmer than average temperatures we have experienced through
the winter and spring, the fuel conditions are at critical levels
and by some measures at record dryness levels. Fuel moisture levels
(using the ERC as a proxy) are above the 95th percentile areawide
and in many locations above the 97th percentile dryness levels, well
above what is typically experienced at the peak of fire season.

The larger dead fuels (heavy brush to small logs) are also
critically dry and currently well above the 90th percentile level
and drier than normally experienced at the peak of the dry season.

Based on these fuel conditions and where there is sufficient fuel
available, fire behavior can be expected to be very active to
possibly extreme during the heat of the day and/or during high wind

Current water restrictions: None

Climate summary...

Station           Since Oct 1   %%%%   |  Since Jan 1   %%%%
                     2017      normal  |     2018      normal
Tucson airport       2.57"       47%   |     1.98"       64%
Picacho Peak         1.88"       30%   |     1.67"       43%
Nogales              3.14"       43%   |     2.22"       57%
Douglas airport      1.87"       38%   |     1.04"       43%
Sierra Vista         2.76"       52%   |     2.17"       74%
Tombstone            2.50"       43%   |     1.76"       56%
Willcox              3.18"       48%   |     2.95"       86%
Safford              2.01"       41%   |     1.69"       63%
Ajo                  1.31"       32%   |     0.91"       36%
Organ Pipe NM        0.91"       17%   |     0.38"       12%

The rainfall totals for Organ Pipe National Monument rank as the 2nd
driest water year to date and 5th driest year to date on record.

Both Douglas airport and Tucson airport are on extended no
measurable rainfall streaks that have exceeded 80 straight days.

Precipitation/Temperature Outlook...

The latest seasonal forecast for southeast Arizona, issued by the
Climate Prediction Center, calls enhanced probabilities of above
normal temperatures for the June, July and August time period. On
the rainfall side, as the area heads toward the annual monsoon,
there are hints that either July and/or August may see slightly
enhanced probabilities for above normal precipitation.

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook...

Spring runoff continues to be very low in the Gila River Basin during
May 2018. This is due to well below average mountain snowpack over
the past winter season and well below normal precipitation this

Next Issuance Data...

This product will be updated on June 27th or sooner is conditions
significantly change.


Related websites...

Additional information on current drought conditions may be found at
the following web addresses:

U.S. Drought Monitor...http://www.drought.unl.edu/DM
NOAA Drought Page...http://www.drought.noaa.gov
NWS Precipitation Analysis Page...http://water.weather.gov
Climate Prediction Center...http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
Western Region Climate Center...http://www.wrcc.dri.edu
Arizona Department of Water Resources...http://www.azwater.gov/AZDWR
Arizona State Climatologist...http://azclimate.asu.edu
NWS Tucson...https://www.weather.gov/tucson
Additional River information...


Data for this statement was compiled from a number of different
federal, state and local agencies. The drought monitor is a multi-
agency effort involving the NOAA National Weather Service and
National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the USDA,
state and regional climate center climatologists and the National
Drought Mitigation Center.

Questions or comments...

If you have any questions or comments about this drought information
statement, please contact

National Weather Service
540 North Park Avenue, Suite 304
Tucson, Arizona 85719
Phone: 520-670-6526
Email: w-twc.webmaster@noaa.gov


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